December 6, 2012

Author's Notes: A Book for Traveling

In Big Stone Heart, our heroine Carrie Smith, travels by train to meet her groom-to-be, a man she has never met.  To while away the hours, she opens a book, Gulliver's Travels:

        "She soon tired of watching the other passengers and opened her book, Gulliver’s Travels. Carrie became absorbed in the story.  With a start, she felt the train lurch forward, then stop.  It lurched again and she heard the porter yell “All aboard”.  Slowly the train moved down the tracks, clanking and puffing.  She watched the platforms and columns slide by the window as the train slowly left the depot.
        Carrie felt a thrill of pride and expectation – pride for making it to the station and onto the train on her own.  Expectation for the adventure to come.  The train let out a high shrill whistle, which matched her exhilaration at being on her own and on her way to her new future."

Gulliver's Travels, written by Jonathan Swift, was first published in 1726 and amended in 1735. It has proven so popular that it has never been out of print. The book was readily available at the time our story takes place (1886). It is listed for sale in the Bloomingdale's Catalog of 1886, The Montgomery Ward Catalog of 1895 and the 1897 Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Over time it has been made into several movies, TV and radio shows. The most recent movie in 2011 starred Jack Black (not very good in my opinion ,the movie, that is).

In the story, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck to find himself a prisoner of tiny six inch people, the inhabitants of the island of Lilliput. The introduction to the book notes that Gulliver's love of travel proves to be his downfall. And what of Carrie - does her journey prove to be her undoing?

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