BY NICO VREELAND
JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, four of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, This Must Be the Place, by Kate Racculia. Can you reverse-engineer their fabrications and pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)
1. Delilite Luggage has been hit hard by the economy. Families don’t vacation, businesses are cutting back on travel—people are staying home. Especially in Arandar, Nevada, where none of the 376 residents have left town for over two years. Arandar reeks of mold and mildew, and the streets and houses are covered in over a foot of dust. When Delilite CEO Sam Sonite hears about Arandar, he gets an idea: an emergency airdrop of Delilite luggage that will hopefully reawaken the traveling instinct in Arandar—and generate some good PR for Delilite. Will the good people of Arandar pack up and shake the dust off their feet, or will they fill the free bags with hopes and dreams and stuff them in a closet?
2. It seems like Alice Casey has spent her entire life looking for the perfect spot to settle down… without settling down. But when she is offered a job as a stewardess at an up and coming airline in Chicago, she has to decide if moving will really solve all her problems. Chicago offers a man who appreciates adventure as much as Alice does, a cat-friendly apartment, and her dream job. But is moving worth giving up her cozy life in suburban England?
3. Sixteen years ago, Amy Henderson ran away from home to become a special effects creator in Hollywood. After she is killed in an on-set accident, her widower, Arthur, finds a box of memorabilia and sets off to her hometown to understand her past. He moves into a boardinghouse run by Amy’s childhood best friend, Mona, and her teenage daughter, Oneida. Initially, Mona acts as Arthur’s emotional nurse, but as they realize they hold answers for each other about Amy, their bond grows deeper, in a story both accessibly absurd and quite touching.
4. In this modern re-imagining of Mary Poppins, Maria Popa is the mysterious new carer at Cherry Tree Orphanage. At first, Maria is just as stern and just as cross as any other carer—but the children soon find that she has a magical touch (not to mention a tiny cat who lives in her pocket). With Maria’s help, the Cherry Tree children discover the hope and joy that they’d long since forgotten. When they try to escape, however, they’ll need all the magic and tiny cats they can get.
5. Mary-Anne Claire has spent thirteen years mourning her fiancé; he disappeared in World War II, fighting as a paratrooper in the United States 101st Airborne. One bright spring afternoon in 1957, a package with a French return address appears on her doorstep. Inside, Mary-Anne finds a white, silk parachute and a yellowed photograph of a weathered house in the countryside. Could this be from her fiancé? Follow Mary-Anne’s whirlwind adventure along with her cat, Doc, in Kate Racculia’s This Must be the Place.