Hi Beach Readers! How are you enjoying A Hundred Summers? So much has happened in these last eight chapters, and we’re beginning to learn more and more about the events leading up to what ultimately tore Nick and Lily’s relationship apart.
Chapter 10 starts with Budgie (as usual, up to no good) taking Graham and Lily out for the night to a whiskey and smoke-filled roadhouse. Graham and Lily kiss for the first time, and he reveals his desire to court Lily for the summer. We really get to know Graham’s character more in these few chapters–he seems like the stereotypical jock, and we find out, after he repeatedly reveals his desire to marry Lily and then is caught in the act of cheating, that’s exactly who he is. Did you ever have your doubts about Graham’s insincerity before this point in the novel? I never trusted his character.
A conversation between Nick and Lily reveals Nick’s history with Paris, alcohol and women shortly after things fizzled between them, though we still don’t know exactly why he left for Paris and what happened. The flashbacks end in chapter 17 with Lily and Nick sneaking off to elope on New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile in 1938, Lily tearfully reveals to her father that she is still in love with Nick. Kiki’s identity is finally addressed by Graham in this part of the novel, and I have to say I’m a little surprised that Lily was so shocked. What do you think–could Kiki still be Lily’s, or are you convinced now that she is Lily’s mother’s child? (and if so, who is the father?)
I’m also curious, what do you think of the way the book is told, alternating between flashbacks from 1931 and 1938, now that we have learned more? I occasionally find these types of constructions confusing, but I think Williams has truly made this one work. The pieces are put together with care and attention to detail, leaving no questions unanswered–and keeping the reader intrigued, as we struggle to understand why Nick left Lily for Paris, why they did not stay in touch, and how in the world he ended up marrying Budgie.
We’d love to hear your comments on the novel so far! Remember to also get your questions for Beatriz ready for our Twitter chat Tuesday, August 27, at 8 PM EST! Happy Reading!