Reading Boleto for Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

This afternoon, once the final big meal is cooked for our small but happy family of three, this will be me on the couch, the sun floating in, Alyson Hagy's Boleto on my quilted lap.  I started reading this gorgeous novel the day it arrived.  Irrefutable deadlines and pressures took the pleasure from me.  But just this morning—one boy upstairs still asleep (we passed in the night at 4 AM; he was just finishing a scene he had been writing and I was getting up to finish a client project), one outside in his workshop, making art—I began to read again. 

I have not yet been able to put words to just how much I love this book of Alyson's.  I cannot describe her talent, the deep and never show-boating knowing that fills her every page.  I cannot say what an honor it is to have an early copy of this novel in my home, or how lucky I am to have Alyson as an ever-enduring friend.  But I began to tell you something of Boleto here, when I quoted from the very first page, and in a moment I will quote to you from a page deeper in.

Somewhere in Wyoming, Alyson's preparing a dinner for six.  She's been out snowshoe-ing this morning with her son.  She's been looking for, in her email words, "deer trails, moose tracks, pine cones recently flaked by squirrels, chickadees, ravens." 

But before all that, she wrote this:

... He could always recall the peculiar stink of his mother's lilac blossoms when they thawed out in the spring.  He could practically write lyrics to the music the field mice made in his bedroom walls, or the midnight bawling of cows and calves.  These were the truths that were fixed inside him.  They hung like well-used tools on a workshop wall.  People were not fixed.  People slipped away like weather over a horizon.  You could love a person all you wanted, all that you were capable of, but a person would not settle once you left them behind.
If there is justice in this literary world, Alyson Hagy will become a household name in the year about to dawn.


Amy said...

You are such a good friend, Beth, but that passage is stunning. I will be getting the book the moment it comes out.

Serena said...

I love that passage!

Wendy said...

Wow, gorgeous writing - I will need to get a copy of this book to read. Onto my wish list it goes!!

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