The first epigraph of Diane Glancy’s novel, FLUTIE, reads: “There’s the sky and the ground with/ nothing between but a landscape/ of stories you can hear if you hold/ your ear to the air to the land—.” That statement, along with the enticing iconic portrait on the book’s cover of a saint-like Indian woman, draw readers into the world of young Flutie Moses, the novel’s confused and lonely protagonist. She dwells in a landscape of not only vast plains of inescapable dust and desolation, but also ancient, eternal geological and cosmological forces, which are available to those able to perceive them. The novel is an engaging—and often depressing—account of Flutie Moses’s gradual awakening to this landscape of stories that have the potential to save her.
FLUTIE is a tale of silence and words, of staying and going, of the immediate place and moment, and eternal space and time. In eighty-seven short chapters, some only a few paragraphs long, as well as in the typographical and imaginative spaces between the chapters the author provides, Glancy presents the moments and events that transform Flutie from a pathologically silent girl to a young woman who finds her voice and in the process recognizes her role as a storyteller.
Flutie’s journey to find the voice to articulate the stories held by the landscape, her people, and she herself is not the stuff of high drama. It consists of the subtleties of everyday life—some steps so modest that they are hardly remarkable but that lead cumulatively to real progress and to a life that matters. FLUTIE may not be a major novel, but it is an important one, providing a reader with a literary experience worth having.
Sources for Further Study
Booklist. XCIV, March 15, 1998, p. 1201.
Kirkus Reviews. LXVI, February 15, 1998, p. 212.
Library Journal. CXXIII, March 1, 1998, p. 127.
The New York Times Book Review. CIII, May 17, 1998, p. 40.
Publishers Weekly. CCXLV, March 16, 1998, p. 55.