The boy looked back.
A simple pencil drawing, this depiction of a child watching from the reeds of a country pond frustrates and angers Geoffrey, unexpected reactions that stir Phrekka’s lifelong passion for understanding the elusive power artists infuse in their creations.
Their only clue a “Sara” signature, the unemployed graphic designer persuades the enchanting Korean-American curator to help him discover more images by this enigmatic artist. From her world of privilege and mystical spiritualism to his of heartland farms and fundamentalist values, they will cross the country in search of the meaning in Sara’s sketches, an odyssey to divine one extraordinary person’s singular secret for touching people’s souls.
Staggering revelations entangle them with issues of mortality and faith, sexuality and family violence, obligation and responsibility, deception and truth. Only by looking close at the dark and profane will they have any chance of coming together to create a legacy more beautiful than either ever imagined.
What Sara Saw paints exquisitely vivid portraits of two young people who must follow their hearts to recapture that innocent grace long lost to the whims of circumstance and fate.
This novel is by far my most literary. I did try to tread the fine line of telling a story that stands on its own without the frills, while still strutting with some literary prowess for those who notice, appreciate, and find additional meaning in layers of metaphor, simile, and symbolism. Sara is my only novel so far with near precise alternation of points of view–Geoffrey, Phrekka, Geoffrey, Phrekka, and so on.
A commonly asked question about all my novels is, Where did you get the ideas for that story? In truth, ideas are cheap and easy and overly abundant. Maybe what’s more interesting, at least to me, is why did certain ones persist until they earned so much attention as to lead to a novel? With Sara, that arc is more obvious to me than with most. I read an article about a surviving sister collecting the lost art of a teen girl who sketched children near transcendently until a tragic accident took the lives of this wonderful artist and their little brother. I kept finding myself playing “What if?” and changing that true story into one entirely different, and that kept bringing me back to two themes that had long intrigued me but not yet found the right story that brings them into the light: whether or not adults can ever fully recapture the innocence of childhood they cherished before tragedy and trauma shaped their subsequent lives; and how it is that art can be so meaningful to some people in so many ways, yet not at all to others.
Maybe Sara answers those mysteries, maybe not, but sometimes just deconstructing the questions is the best we can do.
* * * * * By BMW