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Monday, March 11, 2002

For The Blogger's Bookshelf Yesterday the LA Times reviewed a new book, Atonement, that captures a common writer/diarist's dilemma at any age: "Trapped between the urge to write a simple diary account of her day's experiences and the ambition to make something greater of them that would be polished, self-contained and obscure, she sat for many minutes frowning at her sheet of paper and its infantile quotation and did not write another word. Actions she thought she could describe well enough, and she had the hang of dialogue. She could do the woods in winter, and the grimness of a castle wall. But how to do feelings? All very well to write she felt sad, or describe what a sad person might do, but what of sadness itself, how was that put across so it could be felt in all its lowering immediacy? Even harder was the threat, or the confusion of feeling contradictory things. Pen in hand, she stared across the room toward her hard-faced dolls, the estranged companions of a childhood she considered closed. It was a chilly sensation, growing up." The reviewer (Daphne Merkin) called the book "the Great British Novel," and summed up: "In the seriousness of its intentions and the dazzle of its language, it made me starry-eyed all over again on behalf of literature's humanizing possibilities." Sounds like a worthy supplement to business as usual. As for things conveyed in all their lowering immediacy, this is why Allied and Kalilily are mandatory reading. In their unique ways, these ladies make literature's humanizing possibilities a reality every day.

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