Have you ever wondered if just one chance experience or encounter in your life had turned out differently, how the rest of your life might have unfolded in a totally unexpected way? In storytelling, each action or decision affects the next one, like one domino falling on the next one and on and on.
In one of my favorite films, Citizen Kane, the old banker character is reminiscing about a beautiful girl he saw on the ferry many years ago, when he was a young man. How he never spoke to her, how he saw her for only a second—and she didn’t even see him— but he wonders about her to this day.
Evening is a book of astounding beauty. The main character, Ann Lord, is on her deathbed, reliving the most meaningful scenes in her life, filtered through one memory, of a love lost. I do not normally care for stream-of-consciousness novels, but this one had me hooked until the last page.
I always learn a thing or two in the novels I read that inform my own writing. In this case, it was how to write flashbacks that transition seamlessly back and forth between current scenes. I also found many examples of how to get inside a character’s head and convey their thoughts in evocative ways.
Evening is not a newly published book (1998), but holds its beauty and significance to this day. Because who of us has never deeply regretted something in our past?