12.27.2006

HH Com 485

When Marissa returns from vacation, she finds that her brother, Dan, has left home to avoid the draft and Viet Nam. He gave her no hint of his plans though they've always been close, claiming to be twins, and even to know each other's thoughts.

Canopy of Dreams is an 88,000-word novel, a love story, but not built on romance. Instead, it's built on a deeper love -- devotion.

Despite being an energetic, talented woman, Marissa's life unravels after Dan leaves. She runs through too many jobs, too many drugs, and too many men. Then she meets Ken in a cafe across town where she goes to avoid the oppressiveness of knowing everyone in her neighborhood. They marry too quickly.

Ken can't hide his violent nature for long. Marissa takes refuge with her grandmother and in her stories of their ancestors. As she listens, these stories become so real, Marissa starts to believe in their magic. They protect her and foretell events in her life. They help her cope with tragedy, to turn her life around. She fights back, succeeding in business, overcoming drug dependence, but Ken continues to haunt her.

Dan learns of his sister's predicament and returns. Facing an ambivalent justice system, and after months of arguing with and cajoling Marissa to get her to leave Ken, Dan takes what he feels is the only course. He kills Ken in an elaborately staged confrontation, hoping to claim self-defense, but knowing that Marissa's freedom is all that matters.

this is a run down of the events in the book. The way it's written sounds like a dirge. And there's a plot problem if she's fighting back, succeeding in business, getting off drugs, why would Dan come back then? She's not in trouble anymore. And ambivilent justice system? WTF is that?

1 comment:

writtenwyrdd said...

The thing that puts me off this plot is that the story is set so far back, into the 60s/70s. It doesn't feel relevant the way you have described it. I took it as a memoir,and it almost felt like sour grapes about the brother's continual abandonment.

Calling this Fairweather Family might be the best title, based on what you've shown.

I think if you lighten the mood up and show what is really the juicy heart of the story--the redemption? forgiving brother his abandonment? etc.--you will have a good hook.