Friday, August 19, 2011

The Seasons of a Heart by Constance O. Irvin

Publisher:                 iUniverse

Sometimes less is more. That has double meaning for this book. The Seasons of A Heart is a compact look at a specific period in two women's lives and an exploration about how they learn to value the basic things in life. 

Diana Forrester is the flight attendant on a commuter plane that crashes off-course in the wilderness of Wisconsin. Only two passengers have survived and one of those shortly wanders off convinced that he can find help. Diana finds herself in a blizzard trying to take care of herself and the other passenger Casey Morgan. Casey is a complete city girl from Chicago and can only focus on the fact that she is missing out on closing the biggest deal in her career. It quickly becomes clear to both women that, if they are to survive, they are going to have to find a way to live in the wilderness until help can arrive. The book alternates between showing the two women coping with their predicament and scenes of Diana's father who keeps trying to rally a rescue team long after everyone else gives up hope of the women being alive. Some of the truly interesting passages are about what can be used to survive in the wild. For instance, how many know that a very nourishing tea can be made from pine needles?

This book is a little gem; the type of book that might be overlooked because it is not being produced by one of the better known lesbian publishing companies. That is unfortunate because it is an excellent read. The book is almost more of a vignette than a novel. Very little is revealed about the lives of the women before this incident, but what is shown is just enough. The words are very spare, but each one is packed with meaning. Each scene is condensed down to the bare minimum that is necessary to move the story forward; yet, the reader feels like she knows both women completely. Normally, a book this short leaves gaps, unanswered questions, about the characters. That is not the case here. When you reach the end you get a very satisfied feeling that you have experienced something special. If you are looking for unnecessary scenes full of dialogue or description or long drawn out conversations about what motivates the characters, you will not appreciate this book. The love scenes are spare, but intense with their impact.

The Seasons of A Heart is Constance Irvin's first book. If it is any indication of future work from her, she is a writer you are going to want to get to know.

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