THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS
A Book Review
You took me inside a work of art on so many levels. I became your characters. I was Mary as I read. You broke my heart, made me desolate and strange. Then you put me back together and gave me confidence.
You showed me I don’t have to stay in a place of oppression and misplaced anger and stupid blame. You showed me collective stones and hurt inside townspeople clinging to something and someone to blame for their fate.
The characters will follow me, just as they did after reading Up From the Blue. The hounded me as I closed my Kindle and settled in for the night.
I live in Montana and I can see my breath when I send my dog out to hurry, even in April. I suspect the people of Petroleum will cross my mind each time I pass through our smallest townships.
This book will grab the reader and make them ‘feel’ and ‘become’ Mary. This grabbing is an art and craft I may never master in my own writing. I have so many questions about how Susan Henderson managed such a complicated subject. What inspired her and kept her going all the way to the end.
Thank you for writing. When I work on my watercolor this afternoon I’ll think of Doris.
To all of you involved in crafting this novel from writing to editing to cover art and formatting, you crafted a work of art.
Susan Henderson is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets award. She is the author of the novels Up from the Blue (HarperCollins, 2010) and The Flicker of Old Dreams (HarperCollins, 2018).
Shorter work has been published in The Future Dictionary of America (McSweeney’s Books, 2004), The Best American Non-Required Reading (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (HarperPerennial, 2008), Drinking Diaries (Seal Press, 2012), Create a Writer Platform (Writer’s Digest, 2012), as well as a number of magazines and newspapers.
In 2009, Susan attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers workshop on a full scholarship. She lives in New York and blogs at the writer support group, LitPark.com.