my writing notebook: florida

Christine Schutt
Florida
debut novel
Harcourt/A Harvest Book paperback
2004

On structure echoing content:

Nothing then, nothing held its shape but blew away.  (52)

Dear Alice, you don’t have to tell the whole story. (79)

On the structure:

4 parts with 52 short sections, like memories (each titled for the subject of the memory)

    • 17 in part I
    • 12 in part II
    • 9 in part III
    • 14 in part IV

I
Mother
Mother
Arthur
Mother
Tucson
Arthur
Mother
Mother
Mother
Arlette’s Stories
Mother
Tucson
Father
Father
Arthur
Arthur
Mother

II
The Big House
The Big House
Tucson
The Big House
Any House
Arlette’s Stories
The Big House
The Big House
Mr. Early
Father
Father
Arthur

III
The Big House
Nonna Speaks
Father
Mother
West Seventy-Six
West Seventy-Six
West Seventy-Six
Mr. Early
Mother

IV
Arthur
Mother
West Seventy-Six
Short Identifications
Mother
Father
The Dream
Mother
Any House
Tucson
Any House
The Dream
Mr. Early
Florida

Spoiler alert: The sections jump around so the order is not chronological, but each part seems to push us forward in time and give us a constellation of memories. In Part I Alice is younger than ten. In the first section of Part II, Alice is thirteen. In the first section of Part III, Nonna has just died. And in the first section of Part IV, Arthur dies.

“There is so much about your own life you never know,” Mother said…. (112)

3 thoughts on “my writing notebook: florida

  1. Pingback: the next writer in the series: june 1, 2013 | catching days

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