Monday, November 5, 2012

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I regret my critique group no longer meets for Write Night because A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Viking, 2012) begs to have a writing exercise modeled after it. 

A Diamond in the Desert has pithy, emotion-packed chapters that get to the heart without extra verbiage. One way Fitzmaurice achieves this is by having characters move instead of experiencing physical reactions.

The Japanese-American family in this novel is interned at Gila River Camp in Arizona after Pearl Harbor is bombed. Living conditions are harsh. The father has been sent to North Dakota for questioning, and the family had to give their dog because dogs aren’t allowed in the camp. When the family learns that the dog ran away from its new home, Fitzmaurice writes: 

“Mama bent her head down and glared at the dust on our floor that’d found its way back into our barrack since yesterday’s sweeping. Then she stood up and swept harder than I’d ever seen her sweep a floor.” 

That angry sweeping speaks volumes about the mother’s reaction to the changes in her life.

1 comment:

Kim Van Sickler said...

I agree. Expressive and symbolic to boot. Double the punch!