Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawai'iby Susanna Moore
Susanna Moore is best known for her critically acclaimed novelscomplex and compelling works like In the Cut and My Old Sweetheart. Now, Moore’s Light Years is a shimmering look at the early life of this cherished novelist. Taking the form of a Commonplace Book, it mixes reminiscences with passages from famous works of literature/i>/i>/i>
Susanna Moore is best known for her critically acclaimed novelscomplex and compelling works like In the Cut and My Old Sweetheart. Now, Moore’s Light Years is a shimmering look at the early life of this cherished novelist. Taking the form of a Commonplace Book, it mixes reminiscences with passages from famous works of literature that were formative in her younger years. Born in Hawai’i at a time when the islands were separated from the U.S. mainland by five days’ ship travel, Moore was raised in a secluded paradise of water, light, and color. As a child she spent endless days holed up with a bundle of books while the sound of the ocean and the calls of her brothers and sister drifted toward her through the palm grove. All around her, Moore saw flashes of the ocean described in those pages: a force of kaleidoscopic beauty and romantic possibility, but with an undercurrent of unfathomable darkness. In Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawai’i, she weaves reminiscences of her childhood with some of her favorite pieces of literatureexcerpts from Robinson Crusoe, Moby-Dick, Treasure Island, Kon-Tiki, To the Lighthouse, and many others.
The Washington Post
Moore (In the Cut; One Last Look), born in Hawai'i to a mother plagued by mental illness, recalls the two salvations of her childhood-the sea and books. Lying in the shade of a coconut grove that was said to have been planted by the king in the 19th century, she read Robinson Crusoe, Moby-Dick, Treasure Island, To the Lighthouse. She relished passages about the sea, copying her favorites into her journal and eventually excerpting them here. In her own life as well as her voyages through literature, she knew the sea as a playmate, a menace, a protector and an undertaker. In her youth in the 1950s and '60s, just before jet air travel brought mass tourism to the state, the mysteries of islands dotting the waters awed her, as did the alluring mishmash of cultures and classes (Moore's family were members of the haole elite). Now an island dweller of another sort-a New Yorker-she mourns losing her beloved southern seas, once-constant companions for which the Atlantic is no substitute. Moore's premise is intriguing, and her prose elegant, with quick, vivid sketches of her island girlhood; however, with the inclusion of well over 30 passages of seafarers' musings from canon literature, Moore's memoir makes for an excerpt-heavy read that's regrettably light on her personal vision. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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