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Such a Full Sea

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Friday, 16 January 2015 in Uncategorized

I am in Hawaii, my birthplace. But I was born on Oahu, and this trip I am exclusively on Kauai, my favorite of the islands. I am writing this while sitting on the lanai of my rented condo, listening to the waves break on the beach nearby, and I am shaded by some palms, and birds are singing.

I am here with a friend and in our days here we have done a lot of driving, oohing and ahhing at scenery, walking on beaches, sipping wine, laughing, etc..all the things one does on avacation wiht a friend. And reading.  Here is a picture of my feet on a beach at the north end of Kauai...I was loafing there while my friend did a hike that was a little too rugged for me (I knew that, because I did it ... the famous Kalalau Trail along the NaPali Coast... 30 years ago with Martin. And it was too much for me even then!)

And in the picture is the book I was reading on that beach, Such a Full Sea.  I am a fan of Chang Rae Lee's work, though I am not (maybe surprisingly) a particular fan of post-apolcolyptic fiction, and this book is that. (my personal exception has been Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which I lked very much)

But I am liking this book a lot and also reading it with an odd feeling of familiarity. Many years ago, when I wrote a post-apolcolyptic book called Gathering Blue, I wrote a descritpion of a ceremony in which the people chant, each year, the history of their world (there is no longer any written record).  One part of their chant consists of the unitelligible words:

BOGO TABAL

TIMOR TORON

TOTOO NOW GONE

(I think I have that right. i don't have the book here with me)  Discerning readers can decipher that and realize that it says:

BOGOTA. BALTIMORE. TORONTO, TOO. NOW GONE.

Chang Rae Lee's book is set in the destroyed city once called Baltimore, now known as B-Mor. So in an odd coincidence it feels to me like an extension, an expansion, of my own reference. And his main character is a young girl who, at the outset of the book, works in the fish production sector, aagain coincidentally like my charater Claire in the book Son, who works in the fish hatchery of her futuristic community.

I doubt very much if Chang Rae Lee ever read either book. I think it is simply an interesting coincidence and it makes my reading of his book even more enjoyable because I can feel the existence of the world that I envisioned, conjoined with the facsinating world that he has created and expanded.

For some reason this photo is inserted sideways. My apologies. But anyway: you get the idea.

 

Aloha!

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Comments

Adriane Lohsl
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Adriane Lohsl Thursday, 22 January 2015

Aloha Lois!

As a child I read the Anastasia books. I'm glad to see via your blog you are bringing her back! You are the first author that I can remember reading and actually enjoying their books. You could say you assisted in me actually liking to read!

I stumbled upon you again while chatting with a new friend. He mentioned that his favorite book of all time was The Giver. Like any new relationship and learning about each other (and may be a bit stalkerish) I decided to check it out. Even though I am 30 years old and the age demographic is much younger... I truly enjoyed reading it. I also enjoyed seeing that you had expanded. I was thankful that I didn't have to wait for a resolve on what has happened to Jonas and Gabriel. Discussing with my friend after reading Giver (and not peeking) we both felt he had contracted hypothermia and died. I was looking to see when you would be doing a book signing again... I tried to look on your calendar and as far as I can see it's blank. Are you still doing book signings? I would love to get him a copy of Giver (he already has one) that is signed by you. How do I do this? I look forward to your blog...enjoy your trip!

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Friday, 06 February 2015

Unfortunately the calendar on the website is not working...I can't add information to it. You can email me by clicking on (guess what) EMAIL ME on the first page of my website, and let me know where you are located...then i can tell you if I will be in your area in the future.

Nicole Kemp
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Nicole Kemp Friday, 30 January 2015

Aloha Ms. Lowry!

I have a WONDERFUL group of 5th grade students, from Tampa, Florida who have just finished your book, Number the Stars. We have a couple questions for you.

1. Why do you mention the soldier's boots so much throughout the story and why so much time spent on the soldiers.

2. Why did you not use your friend Annelise and the other people you researched in your book instead of making up characters?

Thank you so much! We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Mrs. Kemp's fabulous fifth graders! :)

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Friday, 06 February 2015

If you go to SPEECHES on my website, you can read the Newbery acceptance speech for "Number the Stars" and it will describe the boots and why they are mentioned in the book.
I was writing a book of fiction, not non-fiction; the characters in "Number the Stars" are made-up characters. If I had been writing about the real people, it would have been a very different book. Maybe a good one, but not at all the same!

Katie
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Katie Monday, 16 February 2015

Hi Ms. Lowry, I am a big fan of your book, Number the Stars.
I am in fifth grade, and chose this book for my book report.
I am glad I chose this book because I was able to learn more about an important time in history through the eyes of Annemarie and Ellen.

How did you decide you wanted to be an author?

Thank you,
Katie

Ingrid
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Ingrid Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Hi Lois, I tried to email you from your website but it didn't seem to be working. I loved reading your Anastasia series as a child. My own son is 13 and would rather be playing sports than reading, so I was very excited to see that he is reading The Giver in school and he cannot put it down! He is actually reading ahead, which is something he has never done, and he is reading aloud to me the parts that he finds fascinating. I used to teach 8th grade and taught The Giver several times, so my son and I are enjoying all the interesting discussion that The Giver provokes, such as families, relationships, death, free will, control, and government. Thank you for your creativity and ability to capture the interest of young adults and get them to "see beyond".

RobO
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RobO Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dear Lois,
Wow! I'm so pleased to discover your writing.

I've read 3 out 4 of the "The Giver" series.

You are incredibly skilled and I look forward to reading more.

I'm an adult but enjoy the books immensely. I think they are not just for the young reader.

I do get melancholy at times reading because of the current state of the world and all the needless violence. I hope we never have an apocalypse therefore no need for post.

It charms me to learn you have some roots in Maine. I love it here and am raising two children how I know will love to read.
We read to them every night and they love it.

Thank you for your gift

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