Saturday, October 12, 2019

"Tinfoil Butterfly"

Rachel Eve Moulton earned her BA at Antioch College and her MFA in fiction from Emerson College. Her work has appeared in The Beacon Street Review, Bellowing Ark, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Bryant Literary Review, among others.

Moulton applied the Page 69 Test to Tinfoil Butterfly, her first novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 – A conversation between Emma Powers and the mysterious Earl:
“Can I get this straight for a second?”

He shrugs his Sure why not?

“Your father killed your mother. Her body is in the cellar, but you think her soul has entered a crow and will stay in that crow until she can find a way back into her body?”

“Yes,” he says. Succinct and pleased with himself.

“That all sounds highly unlikely.”

“It does,” he says, sounding even more pleased with himself. As if unique circumstances shape an opportunity for pride no matter what the nature of those circumstances are.
I let the silence rest between us for a while. What would be the harm in driving him out of here? I could leave him at a campground or a National Park office. Either would be better than here.

18-year-old Emma Powers and 8-year-old Earl are an unlikely pair. Emma is on the run from a miserable life she’s abandoned by in the Midwest. Many of her more recent horrors are, in part, self-generated. She has arrived in the Black Hills of South Dakota at the end of a journey cross country that has only made her more certain she is done with life. Earl, stranded in those same Black Hills, remains full of hope and mischief even as his life darkens with each passing day. His connection to the land and to the idea that love is still possible stands in stark contrast to the coming snowstorm and the violent man named George, Earl’s father, who may or may not have already killed Earl’s mother.

The dialogue between these two characters is central to the book as a whole. The way they work to understand each other in the midst of terrifying circumstances represents the hope that we search for even in the most dire circumstances. Page 69 is also a great example of how the world Emma has discovered blurs reality and fiction. Earl’s reliability is always in question, and this will, eventually, help Emma see that her own reality might be viewed through a brighter lens.
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My Book, The Movie: Tinfoil Butterfly.

--Marshal Zeringue