Sunday, May 24, 2020

"Things You Would Know If You Grew Up Around Here"

Nancy Wayson Dinan is a native Texan who currently lives in San Jose, Costa Rica and teaches at Texas Tech University. Her work has appeared in Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, the Cincinnati Review, and others. She earned her MFA from the Ohio State University in 2013 and is a PhD student in fiction at Texas Tech.

Dinan applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here, and reported the following:
On page 69 of Things You Would Know If You Grew Up Around Here, a long-awaited storm finally arrives. The book begins with the Texas Hill Country in the grip of an historic drought, and from the beginning, the reader knows that the storms are coming, and those who lived through those times– the Memorial Day floods of 2015 – know that those storms were particularly devastating. Every river in Texas broke, whole houses floated away, and people went missing who, even now, have never been found. On page 69, the drought breaks, and the storms arrive.

But the characters in Things You Would Know don’t yet have an idea of the scope of the damage. They have just attended a wedding which, though briefly affected by the weather, went off without a hitch. On page 69, the reader learns about the scope of the damage, but this information is not yet for the characters, and they have no idea of the world in which they’re about to find themselves.

I think this page is indeed largely representative of the overall book. Thematically, it shows how the people who inhabit this region think of themselves as individuals, but how really they are part of a larger ecosystem. On this page, too, we see people struggling with nature, and this is a theme throughout the book – some of the characters are more successful in this battle than are others. This page hints, too, at the scale of the destruction – on this page there is the line: “For some people, this storm was pretty much the end of the world.” Some of the characters present at the wedding will share this fate, but they don’t yet know that. In this scene, the new reality has arrived, but nobody is yet aware.
Visit Nancy Wayson Dinan's website.

My Book, The Movie: Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here.

Q&A with Nancy Wayson Dinan.

--Marshal Zeringue