Early in Alexis M. Smith‘s novel Glaciers, the protagonist Isabelle finds a postcard in a junk store. It reads:
Dear L —
Fell asleep in a park. Started to rain. Woke up with
my hat full of leaves. You are all I see when I open
or close a book.
I hope one day to send or receive such a perfect note. Finding value in old things, ruminating on the lives led by their former owners and never throwing them away forms one of the novel’s central themes. Smith fills the short chapters with hauntingly beautiful strings of words describing childhood memories in Alaska and adolescence in the Pacific Northwest, contrasted with a day in Isabelle’s present-day life as she navigates those delicious moments when a crush becomes a Real Possibility.
I discovered Glaciers at the one-year anniversary party of one my favorite literary organizations, Late Night Library, where the author read from the book. The Late Night Library podcast, produced by my friend Erin Hoover and her collaborator Paul Martone, features first books by emerging authors. I recommend subscribing if you love poetry, fiction, intelligent conversation and free content.