Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"The Memory Trees"

Kali Wallace, for most of her life, was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics researching earthquakes in India and the Himalayas. Only after she had her shiny new doctorate in hand did she admit that she loved inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one.

Wallace applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Memory Trees, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Memory Trees starts with the main character, Sorrow, waking up after the first night she's spent in her childhood bedroom in eight years--and right away she finds that something is missing:
If she had been given a choice, she wouldn't have left them behind. But nobody had asked her. She didn't remember who had packed her things. Grandma, probably. Maybe Dad. Verity had already been hospitalized by then.

Sorrow pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes to chase away the sudden sting of tears. They were only things. Trinkets and toys. She hadn't even remembered them until just now.
It's a quiet moment, a girl alone in a bedroom that was once familiar to her, a beautiful summer day dawning outside, but even in this moment hints of tension creep in. What's missing from her bedroom is a collection of childhood treasures: found objects that were once incredibly important to her. A few paragraphs down the page she asks her grandmother where the objects have gone. Nobody knows, it turns out, and Sorrow is left wondering why something that had once been so cherished could have vanished not only from her otherwise untouched bedroom, but from her own memories.

Both the objects and the memories play a much bigger role as the story goes on, but page 69 is the first time they are linked together. In that respect it is absolutely representative of the book as a whole. It's a scene which builds the conflict between past and present, between what's remembered and what's forgotten, a conflict that is at the very heart of the The Memory Trees.
Visit Kali Wallace's website.

Writers Read: Kali Wallace.

--Marshal Zeringue