I've always been charmed by houses, and descriptions of them are prominent in my novels. So prominent, in fact, that my editor once pointed out to me that all of my early novels had houses on the covers.
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The things that don't happen to us that we'll never know didn't happen to us. The nonstories. The extra minute to find the briefcase that makes you late to the spot where a tractor trailer mauled another car instead of yours. The woman you didn't meet because she couldn't get a taxi to the party you had to leave early from. All of life is a series of nonstories if you look at it that way. We just don't know what they are.
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Later, when she sees the photographs for the first time, she will be surprised at how calm her face looks - how steady her gaze, how erect her posture. In the picture her eyes will be slightly closed, and there will be a shadow on her neck. The shawl will be draped around her shoulders, and her hands will rest in her lap. In this deceptive photograph, she will look a young woman who is not at all disturbed or embarrassed, but instead appears to be rather serious. And she wonders if, in its ability to deceive, photography is not unlike the sea, which may offer a benign surface to the observe even as it conceals depths and current below.
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Sydney discovers that she minds the loss of her mourning. When she grieved, she felt herself to be intimately connected to Daniel. But with each passing day, he floats away from her. When she thinks about him now, it is more as a lost possibility than as a man. She has forgotten his breath, his musculature.
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Odd, she thought, how intensely you knew a person, or thought you did, when you were in love - soaked, drenched in love - only to discover later that perhaps you didn't know that person quite as well as you had imagined. Or weren't quite as well known as you had hoped to be. In the beginning, a lover drank in every word and gesture and then tried to hold on to that intensity for as long as possible. But inevitable, if two people were together long enough, that intensity had to wane.
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A single action can cause a life to veer off in a direction it was never meant to go. Falling in love can do that, you think. And so can a wild party. You marvel at the way each has the power to forever alter an individual's compass. And it is the knowing that such a thing can so easily happen, as you did not know before, not really, that has fundamentally changed you and your son.
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The difficulty lay with the mind accommodating itself to the notion of the plane, with all its weight, defying gravity, staying aloft. She understood the aerodynamics of flight, could comprehend the laws of physics that made flight possible, but her heart, at the moment, would have none of it. Her heart knew the plane could fall out of the sky.
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Sometimes when I am writing, I feel as though I were not reliving the events I describe here, but rather living them. That there is no distance at all, and that I do not know how my story will end. It is an extraordinary sensation, since, of course, I know only too well how it will all end.
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