Is This Tomorrow/Caroline Leavitt: Reflections

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We in the Land of Facebook have a strong affection for Caroline Leavitt, that New York Times bestselling author, that Sundance worthy scriptwriter, that well-regarded critic, that teacher, that bloggess. Her generosity sweeps in all directions. When she interviews writers for her meaty CarolineLeavittville, you can tell that she's read the book, engaged with the book, wanted the book to succeed. When she's up in the late night or the early AM working or angsting or thinking about chocolate, she messages out, lassos us in, makes us part of her story.

You cannot possibly be a lonesome writer if your world has ever swept up against the world of Caroline Leavitt. She builds community. She knits us together.

To her books—novels that care as much about the characters as they care about the plot—Caroline transports her giant soul. I was a big fan of Pictures of You (read my thoughts here on Caroline's talent for creating intimacy with the third person voice) and so was the rest of the world.

Is This Tomorrow, Caroline's newest, instantly compelling tale, is trademark Caroline all over again—characters that walk straight out of real life and edge-of-your-seat plot. This time the story begins in the 1950s. It features a divorced Jewish mom, her son, Lewis, and his two across-the-street best friends. One of those friends will go mysteriously missing early on. The accommodations the characters make to keep moving forward in the wake of the tragedy will never be enough. The truth, when it is found out, will eventually snap the characters straight out of time and back toward the dark.

Ava, the divorcee with the fine legs and the almost (almost) unwitting seductive style, will, in time, come to take pleasure from baking—and selling—pies. Her hands are the right temperature (chilly) for the crust. Her enthusiasm for diverting from known recipes into uncharted flavors serves her well. The happiness she derives from doing that which she chooses to do—and begins to do definingly well—is the happiness, I suspect, that Caroline hopes for us all.

A few words from one of my favorite scenes:
He took a bite and then looked up at her, as if he were taking her measure. She saw the surprise in his face, the pleasure. "Cloves," she whispered into his ear. "Nutmeg." He took another bite and another and soon finished off the whole piece. "Is there more?" he said and she laughed.

And she laughed. As might we all.

On another note: just one more day in the Handling the Truth giveaway.... Memoir makers, this is for you.


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