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Day 1

Prologue & Preface to page 9 (through "She was outside his reach.")

July 23, 2020 by Elizabeth McCracken

Ordinarily I dislike prologues, especially ones that dispense geological & historic information. Just start the book! But the first sentence, in its simplicity & mystery, softens my heart & makes me listen. —Elizabeth

Verbs are descriptive language, too. Dillard’s are wonderful: boarded, flopped. —Elizabeth

“Twice a day behind their house the tide boarded the sand. Four times a year the seasons flopped over.”

Who is asking this question, & of whom? —Elizabeth

“Why not memorize everything, just in case?”

I always tell my students that a 3rd person narrator is (as I once heard God described) “a gaseous invertebrate.” Every gas has different properties; some can permeate any border & some only select; some 3rd person narrators can have opinions. —Elizabeth

Interestingly, my hardcover edition doesn’t include the word preface on page 7, but my paperback does. What subtle difference was Dillard going for? What, in fiction, is the difference between a preface & a prologue? —Elizabeth

The physical descriptions of characters verge on the surreal, the spiritual. —Elizabeth

“He felt himself blush and knew his freckles looked green. She was young and broad of mouth and eye and jaw, fresh, solid and airy, as if light rays worked her instead of muscles.”

An audacious double allusion to Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher.” —Elizabeth

“Lou Bigelow’s candid glance, however, contained neither answer nor question, only a spreading pleasure, like Blake’s infant joy, kicking the gong around.”

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