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Birchbark Blog

What Happened?

Louise Erdrich - Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sometimes spring flows by one blossoming tree after the next and then May 18 arrives and my book pile is still here, beside the computer, waiting to be written about before shelved. Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah begins with the loss of an intimately drawn character, and the complex family interactions that proceed quietly in the aftermath.  Although composed of small occurrences, intricate adjustments, the book is riveting in its fidelity to each character's subtle renovation. Euphoria by Lily King is splendidly told. A brilliant, talented, magnetic female anthropologist is coveted by two men, one profane and without conscience, the other possessing too much conscience to be effective.  I read it all in one happily exhausted night. 

The Evil Hours by David J. Morris, a Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is both elegant and profoundly urgent. Morris, a former Marine and war correspondent in Iraq, writes of his own experience, "I came to think of myself as devoted to a sort of Kabbalah, a cult of one whose mission it was to discover what the others had missed, the pattern hidden in the loom, the hand of God . . . "  In the wake of trauma, Morris goes on to observe, this need to make sense of things becomes an obsession. This book does exactly that only in a moving, human, self-revealing way that grounds the reader in the writer's experience, and the dramatically drawn experiences of historical heroes and victims. It taught me something new, and defined for me much that is mysterious about the ever changing labyrinth of traumatic memory.


Angela Jones commented on 23-May-2015 04:20 PM
Why, oh why, did I trip on this blog? My reading list is already longer than I can manage! (That's a good thing, I'm sure.) Looks like there will be some re-ordering to add Hiding in Plain Sight near the top. It may pair well with Ng's Bone.... Thanks for passing these titles along.
Nicola commented on 01-Jun-2015 05:54 PM
Oh yes, Euphoria is fantastic. Loved the opening on the boat on Christmas Eve with the ladies dressed for a party. I thought All My Puny Sorrows was my favourite novel published in 2014 but Euphoria is so good.
Antonio Moreno commented on 01-Jul-2015 04:37 AM
One year ago I had the opportunity to know Birchbark Books, in place. I had discovered "The round house" in Barcelona, Spain, and it was a great experience to be there and to know new authors, books and feelings.
Thank you for your Blog.
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