Yesterday, in honor of the first day of September, I drove up to Acadia National Park. It is still summer here in Maine. The leaves haven’t switched to their fall wardrobe yet. Temperatures are still balmy and warm weather is expected for Labor Day weekend.
As I came home last night, dizzy with wind, sun, and natural beauty, I thought of the last books I read in August. Is it only an accident that two of my favorites are from Maine’s authors?
Circus Galacticus by Deva Fagan
When you were a kid did you love the circus and the excitement it brought to town?
Were you filled with awe when you looked up at the sky?
In this middle grade science fiction novel the author blends these two irresistible ingredients to create a delightful and heartfelt novel of wonder.
Beatrix Ling or Trix, the main character, is an orphan who has never fit in her posh boarding school. A talented gymnast, she is offered the possibility to join an unusual circus and to make a new home…away from Earth.
Centered around the universal feelings of lost, friendship, and home, smartly plotted with good, bad people, and in between people, this is a highly original story.
Kids will root for Trix, surrounded by a diverse set of secondary and tertiary characters, aliens or from earth. They will also love the galactic setting that Deva Fagan describes with a mix of techie and funny details. An achievement for science fiction writers. As a writer I pay extra attention to dialogues, since they capture the essence of a character. Fagan excells at this aspect of the craft. Through the dialogues, filled with humor and corkiness, she depicts vivid characters and also unreels the story in a smart way.
It would be too bad to reveal more details. They would spoil this book that I recommend to the kid you know who doesn’t fit perfectly well, who dreams under a starry sky, who wonders what’s up there, and who loves the circus, too. It’s also a book for the kid in you.
A Place Called Maine 24 Authors on the Maine Experience
Edited by Wesley McNair
Some people like a stocked pantry. It makes them feel safe. I feel safe when I have unread books near me. A few nights ago I realized with fear that I was finished reading the pile of books I had borrowed at the library. I started to look around, frantically searching our shelves until I finally found a book I bought several years ago. Exactly for this kind of situation.
A Place Called Maine is a collection of twenty-four stories, written by authors who have tight bonds with Maine. Most are full time residents but some are also part time residents, like me. Some were born and raised in Maine and have stayed there. Others have moved to Maine as adults.
Each story showcases Maine in a very distinct way, either through a relationship with a specific person, often a neighbor, or a specific place in Maine. But the ocean, the rivers and the lakes, the mountains, the trying weather, the seasons are the true characters of each story, tied to each other by a strong sense of place.
Because I’ve left France many years ago and lived on both coasts of the USA, in different locations, I have now a hard time, when asked, to tell where I am from. Only Maine, for some reasons that I also have a hard time to explain, gives me some kind of anchor.
When I read the twenty-four stories I noticed that the writers experienced this feeling, too.
From my little Maine corner I wish you all a Happy Labor Day Weekend!