Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Way of the Wind  -  1911
Zoe Anderson Norris
134 pages
genre  -  Literary Fiction
my rating  -  5 out of 5 stars

I have been contemplating how to approach writing a review that would come close to giving the praise and consideration that this work deserves. I am VERY surprised that I have not heard of this book before, if not in a high school English class, then I should have read it in one of my college literature classes! It is that good.

From the beautiful hills of Kentucky, a scared young bride travels to barren unpopulated Kansas to join her husband, who has been preparing their future home. To her dismay, there is only a dugout for a house and the constant repressive winds.

"The wind seemed to make sport of her, to laugh at her.  It treated her as it would a tenderfoot.  It tried to frighten her...It shrieked maniacally as if rejoicing in her discomfort.  At times it seemed to hoot at her."

Although there was little conversation, it is relatively easy to read. The imagery of the wind, the tall tales of the 'cyclones' in Kansas, the mystery of the wise men from the East, and waiting to see if the young husband would prevail more than kept my attention.

This book inspired quite a conversation between my husband, teenage daughter and me. Is it man vs. himself or man vs. nature? Is there a greater significance to the wind? Who are the wise men from the East who would come a build a magic city there where the rivers meet? I would encourage any teacher to include this marvelous work in their curriculum.

As far as I can tell, Ms. Norris only wrote two other books. She was also a newspaper reporter. I would strongly suggest that you look up her "Interview with Mark Twain's Cat". Very cute!

About the author  - 

Here is a newspaper article reporting her death:

Kentucky Woman Predicted Death in the Last Issue of Her Magazine

Harrodsburg, KY.  -  In the last issue of the little New York magazine, "East Side", Zoe Anderson Norris wrote: "I am going to take the journey to the undiscovered country very, very soon." Word had just been received that she is dead; that she died as she dreamed and predicted, "very, very soon".  Mrs. Norris was Miss Zoe Anderson. She was born 47 years ago in this city. She was married to S. W. Norris, by whom she had one daughter, Mrs. Fletcher Chelf, who lives in Harrodsburg. Mr. Norris died several years ago. On the East Side, where she lived in a little five-room flat, Zoe Anderson Norris was beloved by many whose names are known in the social and literary registers of New York, and by hundreds whose condition in life led them by the narrow little ghetto world.
Mrs. Norris had been a contributor to magazines, she had done active newspaper work, and five years ago she began the publication of the little magazine. She was best known of recent years by writers and newspaper people generally as the founder and spirit of the Ragged Edge club.

Zoe Anderson Norris died 

Feb. 13, 1914.

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