Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New in Paperback: The Natural Laws of Good Luck by Ellen Graf

Ellen Graf’s The Natural Laws of Good Luck (Trumpeter) is one of those memoirs that, if it were presented to you as fiction, you’d scoff and send it back. Incredible but true, then, that this is the story of the author’s own marriage.

Alone and lonely at 46, and emotionally exhausted firm trying to find someone through the conventional methods open to her, Ellen is ready for a new suggestion, even if it sounds outlandish. So when her friend hatches a plan for Ellen to travel to China to meet her brother, Ellen surprises herself by entertaining the idea and, before very long, she’s getting off the plane in Beijing, never having seen even a photo of the man who will, not much later, become her husband. Here she is -- very, very early in the book -- getting off the plane:
I saw one solid figure standing absolutely still. A multitude swayed around him. I had never seen a photograph of him, yet recognized this density, this shape -- its decisive statement, “I am here.” Condensed and contained, he appeared at the same time to have been waiting there for a thousand years and to have just parachuted down through a hole in the world above this one.
Of course the way for Ellen and Zhong-hua to make a life together is not easy. At the beginning, they don’t even share a language. But what they do share is intense and often reassuring.

Graf, a writer and sculptor, tells her story with rare vision and self-assurance. Her observations on life and love are sharp, to the point and often dead-on. The Natural Laws of Good Luck is a modern love story, beautifully told. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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