When when your novel has slipped onto the remaindered tables and then into obscurity, you still hope that it found a few readers who recognized what it was about and valued it. What a joy, therefore, for me to run across Cathy Salter's's post from last spring, Notes From Boomerang Creek: Where the light falls. Even though we are now at the beginning of autumn, I can't resist quoting her concluding paragraphs.
"Jeanette walked past flower vendors with pushcarts loaded with buckets of roses and bronze chrysanthemums, while across the street lavender shadows played against mellow stone. A few blocks away, the harsh white glare of the electric light … would soon come to bleach and harden everything in sight."
Rereading that passage, I recalled the harsh white glare of February. Winter's stark white glaze blurred the line between sky and earth that a month later has been softened by rain and increasingly warmer breezes. Spring has officially arrived on the calendar. Spirits are once again high. Hope is in the air. And where the light falls, the world is once again filled with the promise of spring
While I was writing, I thought of the book as being very much about how painters work (what my editor called it "the art stuff") and even more so about the importance of sight. An artist must see well to picture the world truly, and we must see each other truly to love well.
It has driven me a little crazy in the last few days to read reviews that treat Richard Powers' Bewilderment as if it were only a book about a father and his special-needs son instead of a novel that is also profoundly about the galactic universe and exo-planets, about neural science and Buddhist insights, about connectivity and living biomes, about the precarious cusp on which our world stands (and some shrewd obervations on American society).
The human stories that give us plot and character are, of course, central to fiction; but just as poetry builds on rhythm and sound and image patterns, novels can also contain so much more than the obvious action. How lovely to find that Cathy Salter noted and remembered something that mattered to me in Where the Light Falls and made it matter to her in looking at her world. Now that I've found her blog, I look forward to learning more about what she's noticing.