Monday, April 24, 2006

Serials and Scenarios – Susan Meissner Waxes Poetic on Prose

I purchased Peace Like a River a few weeks ago. This novel seems to crop up on the “favorites” list of most of the authors I admire or love to read. So, I used my tightly guarded Barnes and Noble gift card and splurged. If nothing else, it would look great on my shelf next to all my “writerly" books, I told myself.

But on Friday night, while I waited for my husband to come home from work, and while attempting to avoid cleaning the house, I opened the novel.

Oh, I want to write like Mr. Enger. Or at least I want to read everything he writes and weep at the beauty, or gnash with envy at his masterful talent.

Halfway through the book, I am enthralled with the story. The characters squeeze my heart and prime my tear ducts, and the word weaving is similar to a freshly spun spider web baptized with dew aglow in the light of the early morning sun.

I put a lot of stock in endings, and I’m not there yet. So, I will bite my fingernails and hope for hope, and resolution, and a hint of peace.

Minnesota produces fine writers. Thoughts from Minnesotan, Susan Meissner will be posted today. I recommend The Remedy for Regret and In All Deep Places, both poignant and rich. Her first two novels Why the Sky is Blue and A Window to the World are on my must read list. I reviewed In All Deep Places – click here to read it.

Susan Meissner is the author of four contemporary fiction titles, including "A Window to the World," named to Booklist's Top Teen Fiction for 2005. Her fifth novel, "A Seahorse in the Thames," will release in July 2006, followed by "Widows and Orphans," the first of three mystery novels, in October. Her current release is "In All Deep Places," now on bookstore shelves. She lives with her family in rural Minnesota and enjoys good coffee, real cheese and the occasional malt ball.

I posed the following question:
Character, plot or prose? Which grabs you by the heart? Why?

And here is Susan’s answer.
Prose, hands-down. I honestly don’t know why. It’s like trying to explain why I love the color red. I just do. Prose moves me — awakens me — more than anything else. I loved Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, even though God kind of gets a bad rap in the plot and the characters don’t become the people I long for them to become. But the way Kingsolver weaves words is stellar. That’s why I’m especially glad for writers like Leif Enger. His Peace Like a River is a tale exquisitely told, his characters are people I can easily identify with and God doesn’t take a beating.