In this year-long serialized novel set on the Vineyard in real time, a native Islander (“Call me Becca”) returns home after two decades to help her eccentric Uncle Abe keep his landscaping business, Pequot, afloat. His staff includes Quincas, a Brazilian. Abe has a paranoid hatred of Richard Moby, the CEO of an off-Island wholesale nursery, Broadway. Convinced that Moby wants to destroy Abe personally, and all Island-based landscaping/nursery businesses generally, Abe is obsessed with “taking down” Moby. A series of increasingly disastrous failures (one of which resulted in his breaking his leg) has done nothing to dissuade him. Meanwhile, Becca has taken a liking to Quincas, but can’t figure out if the attraction is mutual.

Hello dear “P”:

This is Quincas, the friend of Becca. I hope you do not mind my writing you. I see her writing you all the time, and I ask her: what does she write? And she tells me you are her friend in New York city and she tells you all the happenings here. I said maybe I can practice my writing English if I write you one time, and she said okay, so here I am.

Becca said you know about me but I don’t think so. Do you know that I am from Brazil? Maybe you know this. But do you know that I am from Minas Gerais? Maybe you do not! Do you know that I work for Mr. Abe at Pequot Nursery? Maybe you do. But maybe you do not know this: in Brazil I am a poet.

A good poet, not a bad poet.

I am a good poet because I do capoeira, so I understand the rhythms and balances (maybe not the right words) of how human being likes things. I think my English is not good enough to describe this, so I will change the subject now.

I am very delighted that Barack Obama is American President! I can tell you how things are in Brazil with politics, but you will not believe me. (I have a hard time believing how things are sometimes with American politics, and I am here to I-witness it myself!) But Mr. Obama gave me a happy feeling when he spoke on Tuesday. I felt bad for the lady poet who spoke after him — he is a hard shoe to follow! I especially liked when he said that leaders will be remembered by what they build and not by what they destroy. Between you and me, there is somebody at Pequot Nursery who needs to learn that lesson. (I will not use names, but my hint for you is: he is Becca’s uncle. I am sure Becca has told you all about him. She gets mad at him but I think he is entertaining, and sometimes I feel bad for him. It must hurt him to hate so much: hating somebody is like taking poison and then expecting them to die.)

I much enjoyed the hella baloo (did I spell that okay?) that everyone made on the Inauguration Day. Is it true that, in Times Square, there was news people even from Russia making reports on the crowds there? I think it is very funny to have people making TV footage of people watching TV footage. IF I were there, then I would make TV footage of the people making TV footage of the people watching TV footage. And then I would put it on TV so people could watch it.

So “P” let me ask you a question: Are you a “Mr. P” or a “Miss P”? (Or maybe a “Mrs. P”?) If you are Mr. P, are you Becca’s boyfriend? If you are Becca’s boyfriend, why are you not here on Martha’s Vineyard with her? Please excuse me if this is a rude question. I do not want to be rude, only I am curious. Boyfriends and girlfriends should be together. (That is my belief, anyhow. Not everyone agrees with me, of course. That is okay. I respect other people’s beliefs. That is a good American quality, so I think I would make a good American.) I hope this: if you are her boyfriend, and you are not here with her, I hope it is not for of any bad reason, like you are penniless, or married to another woman, or too religious. I am Catholic, so I understand when you want your beloved to be your same religion, because it makes things easier. But I am not too Catholic to care about things like that. I hope you are like me that way. Please excuse me if this is rude, but I say these things because Becca is a very good person and if you are her boyfriend, I hope you are treating her well. You don’t have to answer me as long as you promise to treat her well. If you are not her boyfriend, please ignore this paragraph.

The weather has been very very cold but maybe I am getting used to it, or maybe it is warmer this week.

People here talks about weather all the time — all the time! — but I think that when you talk about weather it is because you have run out of interesting things to say. So I will stop now.

Goodbye, P!


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Vineyard novelist Nicole Galland’s critically-acclaimed works include Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade. Visit her Web site,