RIP Kathleen Karr

I have to admit that I’m a little bummed today.  I was on the treadmill catching up on my e-mail when I came across an obituary in a Publisher’s Weekly newsletter.  Author Kathleen Karr passed away on December 6th.


Although she is best known for her novels The Boxer and The Great Turkey Walk, my all time favorite was Exiled.  Here is the publisher’s summary of the book:

Ali is a young camel in Egypt when he is captured by humans. Determined to “work, but never surrender,” he earns a reputation as a disobedient animal and is sold to an American colonel. The year is 1856 and Ali soon finds himself in Texas as part of the U.S. Camel Corps. Crossing the landscape of 19th century America, Ali learns to balance his pride with the needs of his new companions, and slowly matures into a noble creature.

Compellingly written from the camel’s point of view, this unusual book offers a fresh and unusual perspective on a little-known slice of American history.

I’m not necessarily an enormous fan of books told from the POV of an animal, but Karr really pulled it off.  Ali sounds like a camel — snobby, aloof and just a little surly.

Karr was well-known for her historic fiction and wrote more than 24 novels for young readers.  I can’t remember if I read Exiled as a library book or if there’s a copy around here somewhere.  I don’t see it above my desk so it may be in the basement or in my son’s room.  We have bookshelves in every room except the bathrooms and laundry room.

Although you really do need to read recent books, return to your old favorites every now and then.  They will remind you what inspired you to write in the first place.  Stories.  Amazing stories.