Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fiction: The Language of Sand by Ellen Block

After the tragic deaths of her husband and son, lexicographer Abigail Harker takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on the Carolina coast. On Chapel Isle she immerses herself in her grief, uncovers secrets and tries to come to terms with her life.

Bantam is marketing The Language of Sand as a choice for book clubs. I can see why. Not only is it a beautifully crafted book, despite some of the haunting themes, the message is upbeat and the story is ultimately a hopeful one. And the puzzles the lexicographer encounters at every step are oddly satisfying. Here are the first three sentences of The Language of Sand:
Never was a word she didn’t care for. Not because of the infiniteness it implied or because it sounded so stubbornly unforgiving, but because it was, by definition, improbable. Improbability bothered her.
It’s a bit early in the year to be thinking about beach reads, but The Language of Sand would seem to be a perfect one, especially considering the ultimately languorous nature of this novel and the seaside themes.


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