Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stiltsville

Stiltsville, by Susanna Daniel

Margo drives up for a long weekend every couple of months. She talks about moving to be closer to me, but though I am lonely for her, I don't encourage it - she needs to become steadier in her own life. I hope that one day she will have a baby. If this happens, though, I'll have to consider moving back, which is right now is unfathomable to me. When I think about Miami, it is as if all I loved about the place no longer exists. It is as if every regret I've ever had lives there. But I miss my daughter, and I would like our family to continue.

The mountains and changing seasons here remind me of my childhood. I miss the ocean, of course, but I do not care to live near it again.


This novel was one of the best I've read in a really long time, and it's actually the author's first book (the author, incidentally, is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop). There actually is a place called Stiltsville in Florida, but after a hurricane in 1993 most of the houses were washed away, and the author's family had a house there.

The novel follows Francis through her life and marriage, and spans from the late 1960's to the 1990s. The ending is bittersweet but, interestingly enough, fits the book completely. We follow Francis from when she is a young woman of 26, to when she meets and marries her husband, Dennis; when she raises her only child, Margo; and when she has to struggle to deal with Dennis's illness later in life.

(First time ever, I think) 5 stars out of 5.

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