This is a blast from the past, a post I wrote in 2010 about a book that’s currently on sale for $1.99 from your friends at the Kindle company, here.
Folly is one of my standalone novels–the other Laurie King–and it’s interesting to see that it, like the upcoming Lockdown, is essentially a meditation on the strengths of community. Folly has gathered a community of its own over the years, composed of a whole lot of passionate admirers. Book clubs particularly love it, and use the discussion guide for ideas. There’s an excerpt here.
Sometimes, a book’s greatest review does not come in print. Folly garnered some fine reviews from important journals, but the one I was proudest of was the comment that, following the release of an in-house advanced reading copy, the Random House elevators were filled with wistful conversations that ran the line of, “You know, I was thinking of taking some time off and maybe building a place…”
Rae Newborne is not so named by an accident. Folly is the story of a woman who builds her house, and herself, under circumstances that straddle the line between drear and dire: her family lost, her blood chemistry ruled by antidepressants, a woman to whom extreme solitude is a positive alternative to the life she leads. Her decision is based on the feeling that, contrary to Dunne, a woman can be an island: bleak, solitary, silent.
But, surrounded by other islands.
What makes a community? Flying over the vast middle of this country, time and again one sees the lines of an east-west road bisected by a north-south road, and there springs up a cluster of houses. With all the miles in between to settle, people choose to live with neighbors.
And in an aquatic terrain, people come together in their solitude, and make a community. Realize, this was a novelist’s fancy when the book was written, but I was fascinated to discover, when I was asked to the San Juans for a community read of Folly, to discover that I had it more or less right, and that the islanders recognized themselves in the pages of the book. Up to and including, I was delighted to hear, a knowing recognition of someone very like the character of Ed, the tattooed philosopher-boatman who delivers many…er, necessities of life among the island’s residents.
Description, excerpt, pictures and sales links for Folly are here.