Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thank You for the Light (Fitzgerald, 1936)




I've always enjoyed vignettes because they give the reader the sense of having found the fragment of a novel to be filled in.

Thank You for the Light by F. Scott Fitzgerald is just such a vignette.  It's only a few pages, belatedly discovered by Fitzgerald's grandchildren among his effects and published by the New Yorker in 2012 although the same magazine rejected it many decades ago.

It's about Mrs. Hanson, a 1930s traveling saleswoman addicted to nicotine who goes to a Catholic church hoping to light her cigarette from a votive candle and has an encounter with the Blessed Mother.

One realizes that the end of the vignette is just the beginning of a very long journey for Mrs. Hanson.  In fact, although superficially very different, the piece reminds me of the transforming experience for Sarah Miles in the Deborah Kerr movie version of Graham Greene's novel The End of the Affair.

It can be purchased on Kindle from Amazon for ninety-nine cents.

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