Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."

from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

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Like stepping stones in a river

On Canaan's Side

Title: On Canaan's Side
By: Sebastian Barry

This tender story is told through the reminiscences of Lilly, now in her eighties, who was forced to flee her native Ireland in her early twenties. Her family was caught up on the wrong side of the Irish independence struggle. The lasting and tragic impact on her did not destroy her compassion for others. We wander through her life, in and out of major U.S. cities, alighting on crucial memories like stepping stones in a river.

Both the story and the woman Lilly Bere come vibrantly alive through Wanda McCaddon’s voice. Barry’s prose is lyrical yet simple. Lilly muses about her grandson: "Age ten, he was full of a beautiful intimacy. Age fourteen, he began a long retreating walk into silence. As a child, he was like the library of Alexandria, full of stories and rare items. Then life seemed to burn most of that away, page by page."

This is such a beautiful, nuanced reading, I want to hear it again.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction, audiobook

Posted by April on July 30, 2014 at 8 a.m.


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