Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: The Diary of Emily Dickinson (1993)

From 1993. This was my first book review for The Seattle Times. (I freelanced for them my last years in Seattle.) Why now?

There is no expiration date on the written word.  (photo info below)


The Diary Of Emily Dickinson

By Sarah Sarai
"The Diary of Emily Dickinson" by Jamie Fuller Mercury House, $18 (also in paper)

Believe you have a flame burning inside you; it fuels your love of hiking, writing, helping. Now imagine a flame in someone even greater than yourself.

That act of imagining is what Jamie Fuller has done in this fictional 1867-68 diary of the brilliant American poet, Emily Dickinson. Fuller has fashioned entries that easily could have drifted from Emily's hand. From the sloping typeface to the line drawings of the daily events of Emily's life - house, flowers, pen and ink - the entire book is a lovely re-creation of a volume that never existed.

The entries are annotated with biographical information, and fiction and fact cooperate: The reader is offered a gentle opportunity to learn more about the life, times and thoughts of Emily.

But most of all it is a chance to witness an artist privately discussing her work, with Emily explaining, usually plausibly, some of the mysteries of her life. Why did she wear only white? Whom did she love? Why was she so reclusive? In this fine historical fiction, Emily Dickinson nestles into the reader's thoughts, stoking the imagination's fires for some time to come.
Sarah Sarai, first published in The Seattle Times
The Diary of Emily Dickinson is in hardback or paper on Amazon and elsewhere.

photo by Jonathan Morse. See more or contact Jonathan through The Art Part.

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