Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Day at the Beach

The sun is blinding. You stare out at the waves and feel the sand between your toes, hear the surf crashing at your bare feet . . . Packed alongside your suntan lotion and sunglasses, you've stuffed in a couple of books . . . Best Friends Forever the latest novel by Jennifer Weiner? The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger? Or maybe you are more "literary" and you've toted along a collection of well-crafted short stories like Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri? Or do you lean more toward a page-turning classic like Rebecca?

What if the tenets of summer were turned inside-out and instead of simply settling down with a book at the beach, you were able to bring one of your favorite literary characters to life and take him/her with you to experience the sand and surf. Who would you choose--man, woman, child, dog, extraterrestrial--and why? Maurice Bendrix? Chauncey Gardiner?Arthur Clennam? Rhett Butler? Holden Caufield? Frank Bascombe? Fitzwilliam Darcy? Henry Beck? Newland Archer? Maybe even Lorelei from The Dogs of Babel? Susie Salmon? Annie Wilkes or Paul Sheldon? Bridget Jones? If you can't narrow down your list, maybe you ought to throw an imaginary beach party and invite a whole bunch!
The Washington Post polled a handful of well-established authors on this very question . . . Some interesting thoughts.
Photo - "Palm Beach Surf" by Kathleen Gerard