Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Julianna Baggott writes about her latest novel, Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders, out now from Little, Brown.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were an antidote, I would know what was wrong with you. I would know it because it is the same thing that’s wrong with me, that’s been whittled down and broken and glued back together and saved in an egg carton inside of a heating duct for years and years and years.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were a dream, it would be the kind that you talk about in the morning and your child looks up at you, startled, and says, “I dream that dream before,” and she tells you how it ends.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were a grocery list, it would begin with essentials but then shift to the abstract—love, sex, longing, fear—and then back to things but oddly so—scared ducks, traumatizing gym classes, For Sale signs stuck in a frozen yard, skinny-dipping in a night lake.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were a bear, you would slowly fall in love with him, brushing his fur and cleaning his massive teeth.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were a patron saint, she would be able to cure bleeders and storytellers—and, especially, storytellers who bleed and bleeders who tell stories.
If Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders were an if, you would be the would because it doesn’t exist—even as a whisper—without your ear pressed to the door.
Julianna Baggott is the author of over twenty books published under her own name as well as pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode. Her latest novel, Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and the first book in the Pure Trilogy was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Baggott’s work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Best American Poetry series, and on NPR. She teaches in the film school at Florida State University and holds the Jenks Chair of Contemporary American Letters at Holy Cross.