The OTHER Laurie King: Folly

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…”

Ah, the hazards of letting a novelist loose in the House!

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.

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  1. Marilyn Singer on April 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    For those of us who are lucky enough not to be clinically depressed, but live with and love those who are, I think Rae Newborne is a character who helps us understand how much depression is not a choice. I love this book and it will stay on my shelves to re-read for a very long time.

  2. Amy Fuller on April 23, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I loved Folly and later, Keeping Watch. What have the characters Rae and Allen been up to since their respective books came out?

    • Laurie King on April 23, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Ah, it would be good to know…

  3. Jane S on April 24, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Rae is one of my all time favorite characters! I love the way she views her craft, thanks to you Laurie, for bringing her to life! I listen with the ear of an artist, and am inspired by Rae to create something every time I listen. When I have a creative block, I look to your fantastic book for inspiration, for how better to create than to walk with someone on their journey to overcome their greatest obstacle and come out triumphant! Thanks so much writing this, Laurie, you do inspire me! I’ve listened to this going on a dozen times, and more happy listens to come!

  4. Janis Harrison on May 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I recently, finally, read Folly. Actually I bought it on a bargain offer through BookBub. A penny for you, Ms King! Anyway, I fully enjoyed it. Being a native-born Pacific Northwesterner, and having visited one or two of the San Juan archipelago, it did sing to me of “our islands.” I had read Keeping Watch a long time previously, and did wonder about Rae. So glad I finally got to read Folly! (And so glad my clinical depression is not as severe as Rae’s, although the self-prescribed regimen of fresh air, daylight, and physical exertion is twice as valuable as any chemical cocktail.)

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