Wednesday, May 29, 2013
You know that part in the magnificent Gail Caldwell memoir Let's Take the Long Way Home, in which Gail is reflecting on an early juncture in her friendship with the writer Caroline Knapp? Gail, the older, more established writer, has been engaged with Caroline's work. Caroline has asked for Gail to read; Caroline has asked for Gail's opinion; Gail has reliably responded.
Caroline, however, has never said a word about the work Gail has done, and the vulnerability of not knowing, the inequality of the playing field, has begun to rub away at Gail. Finally Gail asks, "I have to ask you something difficult—I need to know what you think about my work." Caroline, fortunately, is right there with a reassuring, loving answer.
Melissa Sarno, a young woman I met at a BEA exhibit years ago, a young woman whose writing impresses not just me, but her many blog fans and her brand new agent (wait until you someday read Melissa's Coney Island novel), is one of those people who has never left me wondering. She has, indeed, been a most generous, and perceptive, reader of my work, and I will be forever grateful.
Last evening, late, Melissa wrote to tell me that she had read a book she knows means the world to me, a book with a quiet release, a book I still have high hopes for—Dr. Radway's Sarsaparilla Resolvent. Melissa read and took the time to post these words about the book on her fabulous blog, and to share her favorite paragraph. A few lines from Melissa's blog here, below. I am moved, as a friend and a writer, by the whole.
Thank you so much, Melissa Sarno.
That is what I love, love, love about this book. The fullness and richness of this writhing adventure. Each sentence swells with the endurance of characters that are, in many ways, running on empty, past empty, but with their hearts bursting full at their worn seams.