‘The Road To The Shore’ by Michael McLaverty

The Road To The Shore by Michael McLaverty, 1946

The magic trick:

Showing how a particular setting can jar a particular memory in a character

A group of nuns is going out for an annual day trip. Now if that doesn’t get you excited to read, I don’t know what will.

But seriously, this is quiet but excellent story. We get a couple of different points of views. Lots of talking; even more interior monologue. The nicest takeaway is Sister Paul and her love for the poplars. Just seeing the trees during the drive sets her to thinking about her father and his untimely death. It’s a sad, sweet reflection on memory amid the distractions of the story. And that’s quite a trick on McLaverty’s part.

The selection:

“And I remember,” said Paul, folding and unfolding her handkerchief on her lap, “how my poor father had no gum once to wrap up a newspaper that he was posting. It was in winter and he went out to the poplars and dabbed his finger here and there on the sticky buds and smeared it on the edge of the wrapping paper.”

“That was enough to kill the buds,” said Clare. “The gum, as you call it, is their only protective against frost.”

“It was himself he killed,” said Paul. “He had gone out from a warm fire in his slippers, out into the bleak air and got his death.”

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