aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

This is a story about…what?

Some people use this writing formula to help shape their book: "This is a story about (main character) who wants (story goal) more than anything in the world, but is prevented by (obstacle) until she (does something to overcome obstacle)."

Obviously, Kathryn Davis, author of The Thin Place, has never heard of this formula. And good for her. There’s no clear main character, and while the characters all have goals, they might feel a bit ambivalent about them, or they might be transitory. And not all obstacles are overcome.

It begins with three girls finding a dead man on the beach. One of them stays behind to watch the body – and ends up bringing it back to life. But the book isn’t really her story. It’s more the story of a small town. POV shifts and skips from one character to another – including Margaret, a dog, and Gigi, the cat. There are miracles and evil and a terrible accident when a woman tries to retrieve one last Pepperidge Farm goldfish from the floor of her car. The story skips back and forth in time, including a future where all the characters are dead (even the idea was kind of jarring, although it made me realize how much I deny that will happen in real life), to the past when the very world itself was created.

It’s a magical book, like nothing I’ve ever read, like nothing I’ve ever written. Judging from Amazon, people either love it or hate it. Count me in the first camp.

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