I'm participating in Teresa's 100 Ideas Swap on Swap-bot. The swap asks each participant to select five items from Keri Smith's list of 100 ideas and share the results of doing them with a partner. The rest of my five will be photographed and shared via Flickr. Number 25 (read a book in one day), though, is more easily shared here.
Last Saturday, on the train home from NYC, I read Joyce Carol Oates's I Lock My Door Upon Myself. I'm in process of re-reading a number of novellas I reference in the critical section of my dissertation, and this was the first I selected.
Under 100 pp., Oates's novella centers on a young woman, Calla, with a will that was determined to follow its true path. She is married off at a young age since no one knows what else to do with her. She bears three children, and is as indifferent to them as she has been to most other people in her life. The plot heats up when she meets and immediately falls for the water dowser. Bad enough she's looking outside the marriage for love, but the real scandal was in the fact that Tyrell is black.
The story is told by her granddaughter. The point of view choice is interesting because the story is pieced together. The narrator can't quite be sure about certain facts, so she conjectures. As I read, I wondered about the narrator; does she see parts of her grandmother in herself?
As always, Oates's prose is pure delight to read. She has such utter control, even when her story is out of control.
About reading this in one day. It is short enough to be an easy task, but as I study novellas, and having just finished crafting one, I think the benefit of reading it all at once is that the design--the construct--of the novella can be held in my head in its entirety. I'm fairly certain that matters for this book.
I've got four more novellas to read in the next two weeks. Would you like me to tell you about them? What are you reading right now?