In Tidal Flats, Cass’s father loved his leather-bound edition of Rumi’s poems, Rumi who was born in Afghanistan. Instead of bedtime stories, he read to Cass from Rumi. And Cass would lie in her closet underneath her dresses and think about elephants tearing the darkness to shreds. The Essential Rumi has been on my shelf since I met Coleman Barks back in 2005, but I read it cover to cover, more than once, as I was working on this novel.

Cass works at Howell House, the home to three unusual women referred to as the Fates. One of them, May, loves The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Cass reads to her from this book that I did not like when I read it in high school. But I fell in love with it when I read it years later after moving to Columbus, recognizing the red brick buildings of both our worlds.

Although Cass had a lonely childhood, early on it was full of a pleasant darkness that gave way to imagination. As an adult, her best friend, Vee, gives her The Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton in an attempt to help her become comfortable with being alone during Ethan’s long absences.

There’s something about Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. It has inspired me with other books I’ve written too. Here, in Tidal Flats, it has a small part near the end of the novel when a stranger mentions it to Cass.

I’m grateful to every book I’ve ever read. And at this moment in time, to these in particular.