Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fog Magic, by Julia Sauer

Even though the main character in the book does not take a sea voyage, I'm labeling it anyway.  Fog Magic takes place in the small village of Little Valley, on the coast of Maritime Canada.  The village, and larger community, is supported by the sea voyages of the men.  Life is difficult but predictable, but what makes Little Valley unique is its frequent, long-lasting, thick fog.  Burdensome to the sailors and housewives alike (how can you dry clothes without mildew if the air is always wet?), it's generally considered a nuisance.  But not to young Greta Addington.  Greta has always loved the fog, being in it, wandering in the woods, and exploring the stone foundations of the long-gone homes of the original settlers along the old Post Road.

Although her mother can't begin to understand Greta's fascination, she is resigned to it.  After chores are completed, Greta is packed a lunch and permitted to disappear into the fog for the afternoon, provided she agrees to return at a reasonable hour.  She enjoys this time alone in the fog, although she wonders if it causes her to hallucinate- she once saw a house standing where she was certain that only a foundation had existed when she had passed before.  But one day in the fog, she is certainly not hallucinating when a woman dressed in fine silks drives by in a carriage and offers Greta a ride to Blue Cove, just over the mountain.

The mysterious woman drops Greta off at a cottage, where she meets Retha, a girl her own age.  She spends the afternoon getting a tour of Blue Cove and meeting Retha's family.  Some things she sees and hears seem vaguely familiar, as if from an old memory.  She is told that she is always welcome to visit and that they'll look forward to seeing her again, and send her on her way with a slice of fresh pie.  But when Greta arrives home, the pie has disappeared!  Retha's parents seem to have a sense of where Greta is from, but say nothing about it.  Greta doesn't quite understand how the fog is transporting her between two worlds, or what her role is, but she knows that she must never talk about one side while on the other.  But Greta knows that she can't wait to disappear into the fog again and learn more about Blue Cove.

Fog Magic is exactly what I expected from reading the back cover, both in tone and content, and I think that's fantastic.  I like to read a book with proper expectations!  It's a short novel, at barely 107 pages, but feels like a much longer book- the author does a great job bringing you completely into Greta's world .  Unfortunately, the book doesn't have broad appeal.  The reprinted copy I borrowed has been cataloged for  two years, but I'm clearly the first to borrow it.

No comments:

Post a Comment