The Small Backs of Children
In this novel The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch, a woman writer has fallen into a serious depression in the hospital. Her husband and group of friends, all identified by their medium-of-choice (the poet, the filmmaker, the artist, the screenwriter, etc) work together to bring her back. They locate a young girl who was made into an icon from a photo in which she escaped an explosion that killed her family. The friends of the depressed writer venture to a war-torn land to find the girl and bring her back to America.
While following the plot, I felt a little unnerved by the idea of “saving one innocent in a war” which eclipses all of the other innocent civilians that also suffered in the country and needed to find ways to survive. That motivation felt odd to me. Nonetheless, I was absorbed in the narrative, and I was surprised at the clear imagery surrounding this fictional Eastern European country. The setting felt so tense and real.
Again, for me, this book is about loving sentences. Yuknavitch’s prose style sucks me in and depicts the world in a clearer way than I had ever considered. The actions of some of the characters leave a mark in my memory. I always read her works enraptured by what imagery will linger.