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.
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.
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:
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.”
angry sweeping speaks volumes about the mother’s reaction to the changes in her
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