Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Portable Childhoods: "The Green Glass Sea"

Somehow I expected the short story which was later expanded into a novel to be just a little bit longer. There is more story here than what is on the page, more things occurring than what Ellen Klages tells her readers about.

Set in the summer of 1945 "The Green Glass Sea" is told through the eyes of Dewey Kerrigan, a ten year old girl who's father is a scientist working in Los Alamos. The date and the location tell us everything that we need to know about what is going on and what Klages is not saying directly.

More than anything else in the story, what comes across is the aloneness Dewey feels. With her mother out of the picture since her infanthood and her father constantly at work, Dewey lives with the Gordon family and while she is included in all family functions and is friends with Suze, there is a air of aloneness permeating the story. I can't tell if this is something Klages did on purpose or I'm reading into "The Green Glass Sea" what isn't there based on one or two short lines.

"The Green Glass Sea" looks at the testing of the atomic bomb through the eyes of a child who doesn't know what is going on, although she can connect the flash of light with a sea of glass. In 9 pages Ellen Klages hooks the reader and suddenly I want to expand 9 pages of story into 352 pages of novel.

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