I just finished Thirteen Moons a novel by Charles Frazier, about William Cooper Howell the "White Chief." His life, was intriguing and so was the book but I was so frustrated by the ending. He and the love of his life Claire, the cautious yet passionate charge of Featherstone were the aspects of the story I liked best. He loved the way her kisses changed- sometimes she tasted like cinnamon, or pine - always trying out new plants and things to taste like. He loved that she smelled like ink always, and confessed to Will that sometimes she felt like an apostrophe - "A faint little mark to stand in for something more complete. a place keeper, a convention." He dreamed of her every night - the girl with the silver bracelets. Their sealing together at 17:
Sleepless and thinking of me.
Change right now.
Now I own your thoughts.
I own your breath.
I own your heart.
He confessed; I believe the words entered me and changed me and still work in me. Those words eat me and sustain me.
Years later after three days of passion, she has to leave- because of the indian removal laws. She tells him to get on the cart, to come with her. Then - this. This moment each of us may have at some point - our "Lancelot moment." "Hesitate to get in the cart, and you are lost. Maybe every life has one moment where everything could have been different if you had just climbed on the cart." But Will did not.
Claire says, "I would have burnt all of this down at a word from you." And drives away.
Will - "I thought then that if she would look up and say one more word, I would turn my back on the life and the place I had made, on the people who had taken me in... and I would follow her anywhere... I was a young man, but I believed my best life was over."
Years later, after her marriage ended, they meet with a twist of fate at the same summer lodging.He thought she looked just as beautiful at fifty then she did at sixteen. He asks her later, "How come I'm still in love with you?" He asks her to marry him. She replies, "I have to go away tomorrow." And as she leaves, Will tells her,"This will break us both."
AND THAT IS IT.
I wanted to throw the book across the room but there were still forty pages left and I had some slight hope that she would come back but no. It just ended. I was mad at Frazier and I was mad at myself for getting so attached to the fictional characters but mostly I was upset that an author can have that sway on people, and that they can let things end unhappily when you read to inevitably, come to a happy ending. After reading it I felt like Will too.
- This will break us both -