Monday, April 11, 2011

Skylight Confessions

This one has seeped into my brain like memories that aren't mine. Without a definite beginning or ending, I get a sense that I have always known pieces of this story, and I find myself pondering parts of this story without having a clear sense of where they came from--

It seems that Alice Hoffman's books do this to me. In The Ice Queen, I identified so fully with the protagonist that, occasionally on some mornings, half asleep in bed, I still find myself half dreaming that I have been hit by lightning and forever changed. It feel utterly natural in the moment, of course, although so often dreamlike morning thoughts sound like lunacy in daylight.

In this book, young Arlyn, raw from her father's death, decides that she will marry the next man who walks down the street, not simply out of necessity or loneliness, but because she declares that he "will be my one love and I will be true to him as long as he's true to me." So when Yale architecture student John Moody pulls up in his car asking for directions, her path becomes clear and her resolve unshakable.

Years later, it's clear that Arlyn and John have a terrible but complex relationship, a son named Sam with disturbing emotional issues, and a daughter named Blanca upon whose shoulders so much responsibility for family cohesiveness rests. They all live in John's family's house named the Glass Slipper, a giant architectural wonder made all of glass.

What I have told you here is merely a stepping stone for the rest of the story.

p. 30: "Watching John in the half-light of spring, with his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up, Arlyn remembered how she had felt the first time she saw him, back when he was lost and she was so dead set on finding him."

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