Monday, April 30, 2018

"The Window"

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master’s in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.

Brunskill applied the Page 69 Test to The Window, her debut novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Today it happened in English class. A simple thing triggered it: the girl in front of me playing with her hair. She’d been twirling it around her hand and letting it fall back down to bounce over her shoulders. Finally, she’d picked up a pencil and twisted her hair with it, fixing it tidily into place with a final decisive thrust. Anna used to try to do that, biting her lip in concentration as she worked the pencil into her hair, only to have it all come tumbling back down. For one moment, the girl in front of me was Anna: Anna who’d gotten the best of that stupid pencil. In the next moment, she wasn’t anything like her.

Blood rushed in my ears and the space around me contracted. The wave was coming, so close I could touch it, hear its roar.
In some ways, page 69 of The Window is definitely representative of the rest of the book. In this page, we see Jess, who is grieving the loss of her twin sister, Anna, reacting to a classmate in whom, very briefly, she sees her sister again. Much of The Window is about how Jess, and several other characters in the novel, react to intense loss and trauma, and how they struggle with finding a linear path to feeling whole again, so in that way it is certainly a representative page from the book. Additionally, it highlights Jess’s strong sense of Anna’s habits and gestures, from all of the time they spent together, and the intense bond that they shared.

In other ways though, it’s not so representative. For most of the book, Jess is trying to focus on finding answers to the questions she has about what happened on the night of her sister’s death, and she is actively fighting against letting herself be consumed by her loss, which really besieges her here. Also, the book really explores how much Jess missed when it came to her sister, in the weeks and months before her death, so in some ways this is a counterpoint to that—she knew her sister’s habits and gestures, and yet she did not pick up on any of the signs that her sister’s world was spiraling out from under her.
Visit Amelia Brunskill's website.

--Marshal Zeringue