The descriptive power of Haven Kimmel
Editor’s note: This is the first story in a three-part series that analyzes the Fall 2003 Valley Read choice, “The Solace of Leaving Early” by Festival of Words author Haven Kimmel.
Haven Kimmel has a writing style that empowers the reader.
In the prologue of “The Solace of Leaving Early” she is able to describe in vivid detail a small Midwestern town, Langston Braverman’s intellectual personality, the dresses and names of the two sisters, Immaculata and Epiphany, and just a hint of Amos Townsend. She does this in such a seductive way you wonder why she is telling you all this. Where’s the story? What’s the point?
She needs to tell you in order to build her story. Kimmel has the rare ability to say just enough. She leaves the reading to the reader, who will find pieces to the linear stories strewn throughout the book.
In the beginning, by starting with several pieces of the story that don’t seem to fit together, she leads the way to putting the story puzzle together.
When the pieces start to fit together, it becomes a must-read. There’s something innately satisfying about doing your own work instead of having it all spelled out. The book begins to make clear sense, and the once-vaguely irritating characters become friends you want to root for. You don’t want to stop – you are on your own.
Read the prologue carefully. It sets the stage for the entire book and gives important clues. The beauty of Kimmel’s writing is that she does not give anything away without the reader working to find out more about it. She has a knack for mentioning something and the reader understanding it as pure information. Then later, it’s obvious the information is pertinent.
There are several keywords and sentences in the prologue that should not be missed:
n Little girls is all they were.
n It is the nature of the world that we miss the moment our fate changes, but we recall it later with perfect clarity.
The Vail Daily will be used as a public forum for participants in the Valley Read. Readers are invited to submit their ideas and opinions to email@example.com or phone 949-0555 ext. 618. In order to promote public dialogue about the book – both positive and negative – names will be withheld in the paper unless otherwise specified.
Kimmel is one of the five Festival of Words authors for 2004. The Festival will be held April 16-18, 2004 at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. The Festival of Words is a joint collaboration between the Vail Symposium, Verbatim Booksellers and the Bookworm of Edwards.
“The Solace of Leaving Early” is being sold at a 15 percent discount at local independent bookstores. It’s a paperback.