stopping to remark on the slender novels I've loved

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Of course I teach, write, and write about memoir. Of course I write, and write about, young adult literature. Of course I take my stab at poems.

But don't think I'm not also in love with, perhaps most deeply admiring of, novels written for adults. Because I have not found a way to do this work myself. Because I don't know how.

Yesterday I raved about Swimming Home. This past weekend, in the Chicago Tribune, Reply to a Letter from Helga. A few weeks ago, The Colour of Milk, and before that You Remind Me of Me, The Orchardist, Boleto, Book of Clouds, Out Stealing Horses, The Disappeared, American Music, The Sense of an Ending, the Alice McDermott novels, the books featured in this yellowing snapshot above (and others). These slender books that devastate with their shimmering, dangerous sentence, structure, form. These books that have left me staggered on the couch.

I don't know what I would do without them, truly. I don't know that I'd have the same faith in humankind if these books were not now in my blood, if they were not (fractionally) mine.

There is still room to do what no one has ever done before. There are still stories untold. I may be getting older, but: there are more stories to be found. Genius abounds.

3 comments:

Sarah Laurence said...

Of your list I've only read one: Out Stealing Horses. It was a near perfect novel. I shall have to check out the rest. Perhaps not writing adult literary fiction allows us to enjoy it the more. I can sink into the story without analyzing it to pieces.

Melissa Sarno said...

And now I have my entire reading list for the month of February ;) Why thank you, lovely Beth.

Lilian Nattel said...

That's wonderful, Beth. I'm saving these to my list.

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