Literary First Love – Dawn Tripp

Today’s post by Dawn Tripp | Dawn on Facebook

Dawn Tripp

Update: congrats to Linda A. who was randomly chosen as our winner! Linda has been notified via email.

As a child I lived for stories—we would go to the library or the bookstore and I would walk along the shelves and feel the spines, knowing that under every cover was a world I could fall into. I loved Wuthering Heights for its dark and wild strangeness; I loved the restless heart of Hemingway’s old fisherman and his dream of lions playing on the beach in The Old Man and the Sea. I loved Barrie’s Peter Pan—Tiger Lily, flying children, pirates—the defiant magic of Neverland—that elsewhere place which to me still represents the transcendent dream-like shimmer laid over everyday life that I feel when I am immersed in a story.

But the book that haunted me most as a child was The Little Prince—that deft, lovely blade of a novel by Antoine Saint-Exupéry. I’ve read it in French. I’ve read it to my sons in English. And it still haunts me. The story of an aviator whose plane goes down in the Sahara where he encounters an extraordinary little boy, who says: “Please, draw me a sheep. ” A boy who is in love with a rose from another planet and who falls from a kind of innocence and sets out on a journey through various adult worlds, deserts, and dangers, in a lonely despair because his love is not returned. A boy who hears the laughter of the stars like tiny bells, who measures time in sunsets and contends, “If somebody wants a sheep, it is a proof that one exists. ”

There are other lines that still rise up in me: “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well ” and “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is most essential is invisible to the eye. ” Even young, those bits of wisdom rattled around like hard little gems inside me.

The Little Prince is a kind of fable—simple and eloquent, strung through with moments of blinding clarity; a faith in love, artistic imagination, the transient beauty of flower. And it is, by turns, a lyric and scathing reminder of the rightness of how a child sees.

To write well, I find that I have to be able to drop my adult mind and meet the world as I once did as a child—with that openness of living in the moment, excised from time—observing, listening, feeling without thinking, seeing as the Little Prince sees—

In The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry renders a world that is not entirely of this world: art is not peripheral or indulgent, but deeply essential to life; there is use in beauty; and what is eternal exists within a moment—even if that moment is a fragment of artistic imagination, a story, or a dream.

We’re giving away a copy of Dawn’s latest novel, GAME OF SECRETS, to one lucky reader. Leave a comment on this post to be entered and we’ll draw a winner at the end of the day.

In 1957, Jane Weld was eleven years old when her father Luce, a petty thief, disappeared. His skiff was found drifting near the marsh, empty except for his hunting coat and a box of shot-gun shells. No one in his small New England town knew for sure what happened until, three years later, his skull rolled out of a gravel bank by the river, a bullet hole in the temple. There were rumors he had been murdered by the jealous husband of his mistress, Ada Varick. Now, half a century later, Jane is still searching for the truth of her father’s death, a mystery made more urgent by the unexpected romance that her willful daughter, Marne, has struck up with one of Ada’s sons. As their love affair intensifies, Jane and Ada meet for a casual Friday boardgame, that soon transforms into a cat-and-mouse game of words long left unspoken, dark secrets best left untold.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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18 Responses to Literary First Love – Dawn Tripp

  1. joyce June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Game of Secrets, wow this will be a page turner for sure. It captured me immediately. Will be looking for this to read.

  2. marge michulsky June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have been enjoying reading some of the books this site has been recommending. This sounds like another GOOD one. :)

  3. Wanda June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I working through a list of books recommended by this site and they have all been so good! Will look forward to reading Game of Secrets as well!!

  4. Linda F. June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, my I have gotten some good book suggestions from She Read Game of Secrets sounds like another one I’d enjoy. Thanks for the post & for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  5. Karen Gervais June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This book sounds very interesting. Will be putting it on my wish list. Can’t wait to read it.

  6. Kati W June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This book sounds like a page turner!

  7. Lauren June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  8. Robin June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Looking forward to reading this!

  9. Heather June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like such a great story!

  10. Linda A. June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m looking forward to reading this new book. sounds very interesting!

  11. Kevlin June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to read this book, sounds interesting. Thank you.

  12. Crystal Nichols June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    You have me do captivated by your love for words! Cannot wait to read your book! Thankful for She Reads highlighting such talent and having it in my inbox!
    Thanks!

  13. Carla Torrijos June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I will have to put The Little Prince on my list. So many of the books/movies lately seem to mention it. Looks like Game of Secrets will also be on my list.

  14. Ute Carbone June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    The book sounds wonderful. I like what you said, Dawn, about approaching the world as a child. My grandmother used to say “always look at the world as though it is the first or last time you’ll see it. True in life as well as writing.

  15. Ariel June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I loved this post, Dawn! Thanks so much for sharing your literary first love with us, and for letting us tell everyone about Game of Secrets.

    Ariel

  16. Miranda June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a book to keep you wanting to hurry to the end. I know it has to be good

  17. Karen June 20, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds intriguing…I love a good mystery! :)

  18. Jessica Keener June 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    It’s an exquisite novel.

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