James and I are reading Harry Potter to each other, which means we only get to do a chapter or two a night. But I’ like dragging it out, and I can knit when he’s reading. Last night, I picked up The City of Your Final Destination when I couldn’t sleep, and I read to page 34, where the young girl in the story is talking to an older woman (not her mother) who lives in her house.
“Oh, before I forget. I’ve got to bring some yarn to school tomorrow. Sister Domina is teaching us knitting.”
“Yes. It’s either knitting or decoupage. But Sister Julian’s doing the decoupage, so everyone chose knitting. So then we had to count off because there weren’t enough needles and I was an even and evens are knitting. Ana Luz and Paloma are knitting too. Marta is decoupage, but she’s going to pretend the varnish makes her sick and get switched. Ana Luz showed her how to be sick.”
“You must teach me to knit,” said Caroline. “I would like to knit a nice, warm gray sweater to wear when it rains.” She drew her arms around herself as if she were chilly. “I used to have the loveliest gray sweater. It was my sister’s. I wore it when I painted, which was stupid of course, but I felt good in it. It must have been full of turpentine because one day I dropped my cigarette on it and it went up in flames. Luckily I got it off before it burned me. that’s when I stopped smoking. Although it’s really drinking I should have stopped. I only dropped the cigarette because I was drunk, you see. But there is only so much we can give up.”
“We’re knitting, scarves, I think,” said Portia. “Not Sweaters”
The dialogue in this book, by Peter Cameron, is just as amazing the whole way through (as far as I’ve gotten anyway, I’m resisting the urge to read while I should be working). The characters are sympathetic and it’s so witty–it reminds me of Oscar Wilde. Peter Cameron was a student of my dad’s when he was an undergraduate at Hamilton College, so I got to know him a little back then. My dad says he had the gift for dialogue even when he was a student.
The City of Your Final Destination will be a movie next year–made by Merchant Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins and Laura Linney. Peter has another novel coming out in September called Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You.