Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Year of Fog: The Final Missing Chapter

“The Great Highway at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, 1980”
Copyright by Kevin Scanlon, used by permission

Some books stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page. Michelle Richmond’s novel The Year of Fog, which I wrote about as one of my earliest blog posts here, is one of those books for me. I read it in 2009, two years after it was first published in 2007. Today the book is still going strong and was chosen as the 2011 selection for Silicon Valley Reads.

The working title for Richmond’s novel was “Ocean Beach” and it is often the imagery of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, The Great Highway, and the Sutro Bath ruins that I connect with the characters of Abby and Emma. These were settings for important scenes in the book. They were also favorite spots of mine to explore when I lived in San Francisco, and they are places that tend to show up in my own fiction writing.

"Great Highway Parking at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, 1981"
Copyright by Kevin Scanlon, used by permission

Recently Richmond made the original ending, which she’d cut in the final manuscript edits, available as a download for e-readers as “Day 49: The Missing Final Chapter of The Year of Fog.” I want to be careful not to unintentionally reveal too much for those who have not yet read the book, so I’ll just say this: For readers, this is a unique opportunity to find out additional information about what happened to the characters; for writers, it’s an object lesson in editing.

Luckily for those of us who live far beyond the Bay Area, Michelle Richmond’s appearance earlier this month at the Morgan Hill Public Library was videotaped. Click on the video below for Richmond’s talk about the writing process, about research and editing, and about memory as a narrative device.

For a list of Richmond’s appearances at upcoming Silicon Valley Reads events for The Year of Fog, click here.

Around the Blogosphere:
  • Check out Kevin Scanlon’s photography and short essay “Mountain State Stories – Satori” in the most recent edition of The Photographers’ Railroad Page. This is the first feature in an occasional new series titled “Mountain State Stories.” In a recent message to RPP subscribers, Scanlon wrote, “I am pleased to announce that The Photographers’ Railroad Page will be under the direction of a new editor, Kevin N. Tomasic. Kevin will be soliciting and choosing new features for the site as well as making decisions on its general direction. The site will still be hosted by Lightsource Photo Imaging.”
  • At Photography in Place earlier this month, Edd Fuller ran several interesting posts on Edwards, Mississippi and photographer Walker Evans.

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Edd Fuller said...

Dory, thanks for mentioning Photography In Place.

I enjoyed reading your earlier review of Richmond's book and I look forward to reading it. You hooked me with the photography angle.

Edd Fuller said...

I bought The Year of Fog on Saturday based on your recommendation. Sunday, it poured rain here all day and I had the unusual opportunity to read the book straight through. It was a great book and your remarks about it were right on. Thanks.

Dory Adams said...

Edd, what a great way to spend a rainy day (it snowed here in Pittsburgh)! Glad you liked the book. Have you ever experimented with a Holga camera? I hadn't been aware of Holgas until I read Richmond's book (and they aren't meant for the type of photography I do), but it was the perfect camera choice for the story.

Edd Fuller said...

No, I have not tried the Holga. Last year, we did shoot a roll of black and white film using an inexpensive plastic camera that belonged to my wife when she was a child. We still have pictures she took of her grandparents with the old camera in the 1950s.

We shot some pictures of her and her mom, and they came out looking very much like what you see in old family albums. Photographs and memories.