March 19, 2008

Learning To Breathe Under Water

*"When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, but with weight, exactly like water."


Magdalena even has a name which is lyrically beautiful. Her world is unusual, quirky, magical -- all because of her mother. Magdalena was content to sit quietly and simply absorb all that the world had to offer, but now that her mother has died, she's cast adrift, in more ways than one. Her dull Aunt Hannah comes and fixes mushy, tasteless dinners for she and her father. He goes to work, she goes to school, and all the magic has left the world.

Windows attract Magda -- why should she use a door? The spaces in silence call to her, and at times it's like she loses her voice. Flame is mesmerizing, and so beautiful.

Magdalena knows she's sliding toward the edge. The family of imaginary fish that she sees everywhere, the fact that the faces around her morph into animals, and she herself occasionally turns into a giraffe -- these things let her know that she is, in fact, a little out of her mind. And then there are the fires... But there's too much in her mind to stay there. Her father is trying to Move On, meeting with the horribly plastic and optimistically cheerful Dorothy, and her son Andrew. All Dad can remember of her mother is that she was depressed; Dorothy says Magda's mom and dad were outright unhappy before the 'accident.' Of course, cheerful and optimism are Dorothy's middle name. Not truth.

Never truth.

There wasn't any accident, was there? Not for anyone.

Why is everyone -- including Magda -- lying?

A dark, quiet descent into one girl's private watery grave, The Shape of Water takes a collage of losses and everyday aggravation and turns them into a surprising poignant hope that eventually, even the darkest water clears, and those who drown in the sea of grief can also remember how to swim and find their way back to solid land.


*This quote was taken from an uncorrected proof which is subject to change before final publication. Available April 2008.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Just by the cover of this book, I want to read it. The story sounds
AMAZING.