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In Dark Water

The Ballantine
Publishing Group

August 1998; May 1999

Interview With the Ballantine Reader’s Circle

Page 3



world shines for her. It is animated, not inert or lifeless. And it is not separated from her interior life. This way of perceiving would be hard to find in an adult in our predominantly monotheistic, middle-class, white culture with its concept of what is “normal.” (Cultures that are closer to the land, to animals, to poverty, or marginalized cultures that have managed to keep their traditions, rituals, and even foods intact, seem to be more in tune with this instinctual way of perceiving.) The predominant culture is part of Dorrie’s problem. She blossoms at the Tappens’, where her soul is given latitude. But when she is in an environment that has deadened and rationalized the world, she withdraws into herself. In a sense, both Florence and Dorrie suffer from an allergic reaction to our culture, which has little place for grief or the darker shadings of life. Grief gets in the way of its obsessive productivity. In that way Florence and Dorrie, both fully engaged with their troubled, tenacious souls, are very connected.



Despite the misplaced rage in Eudora and Florence’s relationship, they seem to be equals at some level—soul mates even. As a parent, what are your feelings about their relationship?


I’m glad you said that. Florence definitely wasn’t a great mother. A parent is supposed to take care of her children, feed and clothe them, give them a home, and she was unable, after David died, to do that. But she was something else to Dorrie, and finally, she was needed. They both shared an invisible realm. They both felt David descend. No one else could reach in Dorrie’s soul like that. So despite the biology, Beulah was Dorrie’s mother, and Florence was, as you say, a soul mate. And in the end,

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