As Sara’s father is reflecting on their happiness during the Fang occupation, I couldn’t help but think of the Igibys: “Well, except for the way they always sat late into the night beside the hearth telling stories, and when they sang in the garden while they gathered the harvest, and when the grandfather, Podo Helmer, sat on the porch blowing smoke rings, and except for all the good, warm things that filled their days there like cider in a mug on a winter night, they were quite miserable. (Dark Sea, “An Introduction to the Igiby Cottage (Very Brief).
What made these two families both able to retain some private peace and beauty in an ugly world? And then, with that similarity, why were the Igibys able to stay on each other’s side (even when they fought), while the Cobblers buckled? I think there’s not just one right answer here, and I want to wrestle with it together.