Three years ago, when his mother announced that she was flying to Moscow to adopt a seven-year-old girl, Stewart did his best not to react. His mother had always been the kind of person who made threats, who cajoled and coerced, until she got her way. For years, she’d been threatening to adopt one of the children she sponsored in Mexico and Guatemala and Romania, to bring a child home to live with her in Ventana Beach, so she would have someone in her life who loved her, who appreciated her.
“Deciding which medium I use to explore an idea comes down to immediacy. If there’s something urgent that I want to think through — the pool essay, for example — I like addressing it through nonfiction. The Internet makes it easy to join a ongoing conversation. Fiction, at least for me, moves much more slowly. The ideas I take on in fiction are usually ideas that I’ve been thinking about for years.”
The dentist held out his hands, which trembled in the sharp autumn air. He was tall, silver haired, with a neck curved from years of bending over his patients. He looked like one of his instruments — the curved mirror, or the explorer, with its gently hooked tip.
The friendship is both tender and antagonistic, deeply intimate and full of spite, and Elena reflects on the difficulty of telling her own story without Lila in it. There is Lila’s story and there is Elena’s story, but Elena realizes the two are inextricable.
The plan was to torch the rose patch. We could, at this point, see no other way. Flickerdot, our beloved hybrid, was a complete bust. But one couldn’t blame us for being fooled: the first and second generations were so thick with blooms that Jamie could put a book — an Oxford dictionary, no less — on the plant and the dense flowers would hold it up.
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