Sr. Ann Astell
J. Aaron Simmons
The Hurricane Notebook, found on a Wilmington beach after a storm, contains the thoughts, artistic experiments, vignettes, and recorded dialogues of an unknown author calling herself “Elizabeth M.” Its entries record the inner life of a soul in crisis, perpetually returning to the moment she learned of her sister’s suicide and making an unrelenting attempt to understand herself and the human condition. Whether engaged in introspective soul-searching, or reconstructing her discussions with friends, mentors, and acquaintances, she challenges herself to accept “No lies” that would mask or hide her own responsibility for evil in the world.
The notebook ends abruptly; having traversed subjects as diverse as God, childhood, chess, philosophy, ballet, self-hood, conscience, guilt, and friendship, Elizabeth’s questions are left uncertain and hanging in the air, just like her hope that she might find “one person on earth who understands me,” and unanswered, like her plea “Having understood me, would you grieve on my behalf, my friend?”