Lace maker, Burano Italy, March 2010
Although I am not a person who especially likes or wears lace, I admire it. I was fascinated by the women in Italy who make handmade lace, toiling for a year to create a table cloth, or maybe a bedspread. Cat people like me don't have lace bedspreads. Anyway, our local library has started a contemporary fiction book discussion group, and the first title I read for it was The Lace Reader, by Bruonia Barry. Set in contemporary Salem, the novel features a circle of women who make lace, and who learn to "read" it - much as one might read tea leaves, or palms. There's more to it of course, an unreliable narrator who returns to Salem after the death of her aunt, and discovers there are many questions to be answered about her own life. Each chapter is introduced with a selection from the fictional "Lace Reader's Guide." This one at the beginning of Part Two appealed to me:
There is lace in every living thing: the bare branches of winter, the patterns of clouds, the surface of water as it ripples in the breeze . . . . Even the wild dog's matted fur shows a lace pattern if you look at it closely enough.
That little idea sent me out to my spring garden to look for lace.