Setting

The narrative of The View from Saturday moves rapidly among several different settings, each in its own way providing clues to the inner lives of the characters. Nadia's stay with her father in Florida, for example, involves a project to save endangered sea turtles that are most vulnerable to human interference and predators on the beaches where they originally hatched and where they return to lay their eggs. Nadia, a reluctant participant in the turtle project, nonetheless sees parallels between her experiences and the life cycle of the turtles, including absent parents, a long journey to adulthood, and the possibility of losing one's way without help. Her experiences in Florida are then tied to The Souls and Mrs. Olinski, with Mrs. Olinski eventually realizing that she and her students have all been on journeys, each to find meaning in his or her life.

The handling of physical settings as analogues to the lives of the characters is very sophisticated, done so seamlessly that even with characters such as Nadia pointing out the analogies, the reader must give some thought to each important location in order to fully grasp its meaning in the lives of the characters. Sillington House, for instance, is at the heart of the formation of The Souls group, yet its significance must be divined from how the characters of The View from Saturday use it. It is first being converted to a bed and breakfast inn, a place where travelers may stay and feel at home. The owners of the property have spent their lives traveling on cruise ships, and it is their son Julian's first stable home. Julian, new to America but here to stay, needs to find a place for himself in his new society. He does this in part by inviting a few classmates home for tea, each of whom has a journey to complete. Julian's father, near the end of the novel, points out how...

(The entire section is 755 words.)