I have loved many libraries in my life: a children’s section in a Texas library that had a reading nook inside a plastic alligator, a beachside library in California no bigger than an RV presided over by a brilliant red-headed librarian who knew every book a girl would stay up all night reading, the honey and cat-pee scented New School library where I read Plato and Iris Murdoch novels and tried to make a bagel last all day. Now in DC, I frequent our rather run down local library where my son likes to play with the puzzles and where I like to spy on the Mormon missionaries who use the free computers. There is literally no place like a library– a single physical place that houses a multitude of worlds. And you are the guardian of those worlds.
For me, the very idea of a library is intoxicating, like participating in some kind of ancient dream: a storehouse of texts, hoarded, safe-guarded against the sands of time or the ravages of war. And you, as librarian, are the dragon on the pile of glittering gold. That is how I think of you.
The Girls from Corona del Mar is from my own inner world. In it there are chunks of my childhood, pieces of California, little fragments of India and Istanbul. I have tried to include the painful itching grind of growing up and the dark flowing blood of friendship. I hope it finds a place on your shelves, in your hoard of glittering gold. I hope it is a book you reach for when you find a woman who wants to lose herself for a day.
Thank you for reading it, and thank you for indulging my son and finding him that book about cats, and thank you for protecting human knowledge from Alexandria to the present, and thank you too for knowing how to foster a young fiction writer when she was nothing but a sweaty child, tugging on your cardigan and asking if there were any other books like The Wizard of Oz please. I wouldn’t have become a writer without you.
Please check out Rufi Thorpe’s first novel, The Girls from Corona del Mar. Booklist says, “This literary novel will leave readers questioning the myths and realities of complicated friendships.”
Click to read an excerpt.