From: Woody Search, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Thomas University
You lift me up and let me plummet. When Aud met Julia, I thought “here is the one”. And then the thought “Please don’t do this to her (and me)”. But you did. I soared with Aud and Julia, recognizing my own love in theirs, and if possible I fell further then Aud herself at the end. But she has more courage than me. I awoke this morning, early, with a lingering sense of loss. The solution: start reading “Stay”. And there she was, getting on with life.
I know Aud is not real in the corporeal sense, but through your eyes and life she does come alive. And for me, her tale is inspiring. I went back many years to those heady days when my wife and I met and loved as only new and perfect lovers can. We have settled into the most wonderful and loving life. I suspect you have found such a love, and know what I mean.
I have not written often to authors, thought I read much. I mostly feel that what ever I may have to say has been said before. But as a teacher, I can tell you that the very highest level of achievement for me is a student, either current or returning after many years away, saying “you made a difference, you changed my life”.
That’s why I am writing. Nicola, you made a difference and touched me in a place few have reached. Thank you.
And one more thing. If I ever need help, I want Aud by my side.
One of the things I intended with Aud was to make her, above all, human: not male, not female, not strong, not fragile. To me she
“embodies the long journey towards reconciliation of all those parts of our culture that have been artificially levered apart: mind and body, nature and civilization, art and science, man and woman, tenderness and brutality. She reflects the endless building and dismantling of human understanding: learning, and unlearning, then relearning differently. She is the work. Like art, she is a contradiction and a bridge: between me and you, past and present, moral and amoral, change and stability. She’s a tender, violent woman who has never been a victim; she understands but remains unmarked by cruelty or gender. She can both do and be, viscerally and intellectually. She is mercurial and implacable; she deceives herself then sees clearly. Like life, she is fragile and impossibly resilient. She is willfully individual and in so being becomes my knife in the table, my reminder that the public challenge has been made and there’s no way to back down and walk away.”
(from “Doing the Work,” an essay in BoldType)
Aud exists at the fulcrum. She is a balance point. If you’re young, she embodies something of that for you, but also shows you a path into what it might be like to have the wisdom of experience. If you’re female, she gives you a glimpse of how it might be to have the strength and confidence usually ascribed to men. If you’re a man, you get to see a woman being a woman and strong. Aud really is my committment to excellence in fiction. I get such a kick when men and women, gays and straights find something in her to identify with. Thank you.