Friday, January 30, 2009
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
This novel is very special to me. A few years ago I was afraid I would never be able to write again. For my entire life, reading and writing were ways to work out what I felt, what I worried about, what I feared, what I hoped for. Then on April 18, 2002, my five year old daughter Grace died suddenly from a virulent form of strep. As an added insult, when I lost Grace I also lost my ability to use words. I couldn't read and I couldn't write. Letters didn't come together to make words; sentences did not make sense. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't focus. Almost two years later, the literary journal Tin House sent out a request to writers for submissions for their theme issue on Lying. That night-I was unable to sleep well and was often up walking around the house at all hours-an essay came to me fully developed on the lies about grief. I sat down and wrote it and Tin House published it.
When I wrote the words describing my thoughts and emotions about Ann Hood's book Comfort...I was also describing The Knitting Circle.
I am sure that this book was a very difficult one to write. Ann took the story of her family and her daughter Grace's death and she fictionalised it. It is almost the same story and well written.
More about this book though was centred on knitting as a form of therapy. a way of living through the grief ...even when you don't want to. The book also introduced a number of different characters who represented people from all walks of life who found knitting to be a solace for their troubles.