The Volvo Story aka Courting Eliza

Apparently I haven’t mentioned this in a long time and most people don’t know what I’m talking about.

This is a novel that is about one third done. And which, I promise, I will finish.

It’s about a woman who picks up and moves (drives) from New Jersey to a small island in Puget Sound after a trauma that makes it impossible for her to carry on her old life. It’s about her relationship with her father, who is nearing the end of his life, about a stuffed and moth eaten bear, about friendship and trust.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

—————————————————- all rights reservd

Part I

When someone asks what it means
to die for love, point:

Chapter 1.

For a few months now, Kate Buongiovanni has been wooing a car

Nobody would think it of her. Kate strikes most people as a woman of more persistence than daring; subdued by good fortune,all her sharp edges worn away by contentment. Happily married,
successful in a business she loves, money enough to buy what she
likes: Mephisto walking shoes, Peruvian sweaters, Dakota pottery;
her kitchen walls, hand stenciled, are hung with antique copper
molds in the shape of roosters, half moons, leaping fish. She
pays handsomely for housecleaning and ironing. A boy from down
the street mows the lawn, stacks the firewood; they have an accountant, a broker, an attorney. She is on a first name basis with the fund raisers at Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, CASA.

And yet Kate contemplates the larcenous heart. She puts a great
deal of thought into attracting a car thief: on a Friday afternoon
she drives into downtown Trenton and leaves the car on a side
street, gift-wrapped children’s books (Where the Wild Things
Are; Curious George;
The Borrowers) piled on the driver’s
seat. Unlocked. The window rolled down a few inches.

The books disappear along with the tire gauge and a half pack
of mints, but the car is waiting for her when she comes back.
On her next solo trip (The Phantom Tollbooth; Half Magic; Harriet
the Spy
) Kate ties a hank of red yarn to the key in the ignition,
but even such a bold invitation goes unanswered. It seems that
nobody is desperate enough to take on this crate of a car, this
thirty year old, mustard-colored Volvo with a temperamental clutch
and three hundred thousand miles.

Under other circumstances she would talk to Mike about this
challenge, but the fact is this: her husband loves this monument
to automotive engineering as another man might love a senile and
smelly dog, and Kate loves her husband.