The Lake of Dreams: In the Irish Times

April 1st was the birthday of one of my great-aunts, a very kind woman, very warm.  I only saw her a few times in my life but I felt a deep affection for her.  She was one of my grandfather’s three sisters; his birthday was on June 1st.  The last time I saw her she was well into her 90s, still living alone.  She made us a wonderful gooseberry pie.

It’s interesting how family birthdays sometimes cluster together.  These weeks of early spring have been busy, with family birthdays to celebrate or plan for.  Also, with trying to get the house in order after some rennovation projects we’ve taken on over the past year.  

The Lake of Dreams: On Japan

When I lived in Odawara, Japan, our house was very near the sea, with mountains rising up behind us, scattered with mandarin orange trees; when the fruit ripened, it stood out against the foliage like bright ornaments.  I loved my two years in Japan, where the streets were beautiful and safe, and life had an underlying order.  Every morning people hung their futons outside to air, and came out to sweep their steps and the streets in front of their houses.  We watched a new house being built by neighbors just a few feet away, and a house-blessing ceremony when it was finished.  Our landlord, a man named Yoshitaka Aioki, lived at the bottom of the street, and took us once to hike in the Japanese Alps, an extraordinary trip.  Another time we climbed Mt. Fuji all night, arriving at the summit at dawn.  In between there were shorter hikes, and trips to the hot springs, and stops at the shop which made fresh tofu of every kind, every day.

The Lake of Dreams: From New Zealand

Here’s the link to a really good feature article about The Lake of Dreams that was published recently in the New Zealand Herald.  It uses a terrific word I’d never heard before:  collywobbles.

Since I love words, I have an OED, and I looked this one up.  It has an interesting history, but essentially it means something like “butterflies in the stomach,” which I did not have, at least not extensively, while writing The Lake of Dreams.  Happily, I was already immersed in The Lake of Dreams by the time The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was published, so there wasn’t any question of where I’d go when the excitement over my first novel settled down–I was already there.

The Lake of Dreams: On Books and e-Books

Last fall we decided to redo the basement, ripping out the 1970s era paneling and getting rid of the funky, and paper-thin,  indoor/outdoor carpet.  We wanted a space for games and hanging out and the sewing I still occassionally do.  Now, the walls are a sunny yellow trimmed with white, and the space is completely transformed. 

The Lake of Dreams: in Ireland

Earlier this week I went to Dublin for the day. I’ve never been to Ireland before and I was excited to have a glimpse, however brief, of this beautiful country with such a stunningly rich literary heritage. Among contemporary authors alone, William Trevor and Seamus Heaney are two of those I most admire. The day was full of interviews and, as always on this tour, I was impressed by the depth and range of the conversations.

The Lake of Dreams: at Bexley Heath

Years ago, as a student in London, I’d often go to the public libraries to spend an hour or two. I couldn’t check books out, but that didn’t matter. The libraries were, and are, a community gathering place, where people from all walks of life come together for the joys of experiencing and sharing the written word, and I liked being there both to read, and to catch a glimpse into the life of the country. Once, I remember stumbling across a Who’s Who of authors in the reference section and paging through it, wondering if I’d ever realize my dream of being a writer.

The Lake of Dreams: at The Essex Book Festival in Chipping Ongar

London is such a wonderful city for walking, endlessly interesting, and endlessly changing. Years ago, as a student here, I used to wander for hours; it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend two or three hours walking to an event or a theater production, or just walking for the pleasure of it. On this trip, too, I set off on foot more than once, happy to be in this vibrant city again. Even the names of streets are fascinating. This time I discovered Man in the Moon Lane and Windmill Street.

The Lake of Dreams: at Bath, and Calcot Manor

This evening I’m writing from the beautiful Calcot Manor, where I will speak at lunch tomorrow.  I had a terrific walk this afternoon, on a trail that followed the perimeter of this extensive property.  It had rained earlier, and dark clouds were scuttling across the blue sky, but it was also sunny, the wind turning the fields into a sea of rippling grass.  I met no one on this walk–just me, and the wind, and a flock of sheep in the last field, grazing quietly and paying no attention to my passing.

The Lake of Dreams: On Reviews

Today I’ve been thinking about reviews, and how fascinating it  can be to read the different perspectives people bring to reading.  There are several new and very good reviews of The Lake of Dreams this weekend, but for now I want to talk about just two of them.  The first from is from The Irish Independent.  You can link here:

The other I first noted in a Waterloo, Ontario paper and is now on, by Joanne Guidoccio:–book-review-the-lake-of-dreams

The Lake of Dreams, and surprises

Yesterday I finally found the lost password for the email account I had set up with this website, and I logged in after a month on the road.  What a great moment!  I found dozens of emails from readers writing to tell me how much they had loved The Lake of Dreams.  So first, thanks to all of you for writing with your comments.