Lucy Ferriss


I've called this blog "Travelin' Thoughts" in the past, because I kept it mostly as a journal to record impressions of new places and cultures. But in a way, it's still a place for traveling thoughts--ideas that move through and past me, and out into the world. Some of these are literary, some just about life. It's a good place to open up the conversation, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Book Report

January 20, 2015

A Sister to Honor has been on the bookshelves for two weeks now. I'm taking a deep breath, stepping back to see what it is I've wrought. "Hello, book," I say.

"Hello, Lucy," it says back.

That seems a little silly, but it's true. Just now, in this fortnight, this story -- of a pair of Pakistani siblings, of Enright University's A.D. and her stumbling attempt to help them through a morass she cannot comprehend, of the others who love and long for them and wish them dead -- has taken on new life. A life of its own, since I can't change it any more. I've given two readings from the book now, at the West Hartford Library (SRO! and we sold out ALL the copies at Barnes & Noble!) and at Madison, CT's inestimable RJ Julia Bookseller. I read different sections, still experimenting with what works to render the different voices in the book, the different angles from which the story takes its shape. What I found both times was that I could remember the choices I was making with almost every sentence, every paragraph, every turn of phrase or choice to leave in or take out a detail or an action. But those choices were gone, and what confronted me were the creatures of my own imagination, coming back to me in my voice, coming off the page and into the air of the room.

A Frankenstein moment, indeed. I'm happy to say that I still love my characters, with all their warts and vanities, all their bursting hopes. I'm not sure it's guaranteed that I would, just because I made them up. But I do love them, and I ache for them. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them over the next couple of months with a few appearances here and there, the book and I doing a sister act with not much for an encore. I'm even happier to think they're going to find friends out there, in the world, readers who are already embracing them, holding Afia and Shahid and Lissy, Farishta--and yes, even Khalid--close to their hearts, wishing things would turn out well. And I'm anxious for them too. All they have is this small, weak craft, this little book. I feel like Tinkerbell, telling all the children to clap, to keep my characters alive. Clap, out there, would you? Clap!

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