So much about this novel reminded me of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway: all of life in just one day, a picture postcard collage of past and present, even a party. But Alexis M. Smith's Glaciers is also uniquely her own. Isabel, her charming protagonist, loves collecting secondhand items and wearing vintage clothing. "She was four, not yet in school, when her father first took her junking ... There are treasures everywhere, her father told her... It doesn't matter how much it costs, or whether anyone else wants it. If you love it, you will treasure it..." She works in a library in preservation and conservation where Spoke, a former soldier who served in the Iraq War, also works. Though they barely speak, Isabel is drawn to him. "There is a physics to their relationship. She feels the attraction as a force, like the gravitational tug of celestial bodies in orbit; but it seems that to touch, one of them must crash into the other."
I was drawn to this book because of its cover, but quickly fell in love with the writing inside. The pieces of Isabel's past ripple through her present in perfect intervals...although the novel's brevity did at times leave me wanting more: more about Spoke, more about Isabel's sister, more about treasure-hunting in secondhand shops, and more about Isabel herself. That's my only complaint. This book is so delightful, I selfishly want more; 174 pages just isn't enough. But I guess it'll have to do.