Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Pearlman, Lispector, Enright

Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Book Lovers,

Three writers have dominated my month -- Edith Pearlman (again), Anne Enright and Clarice Lispector.  Although I have some assigned reading to do, I've been escaping frequently into Binocular Vision, The Green Road, and Lispector's Complete Stories.  From Edith Pearlman this paragraph, "Into the slot she dropped.  She fell smoothly and painlessly, her hair streaming above her head.  She landed well below the water's surface on a mossy floor.  Toenails still there?  Yes, and the handkerchief in the pocket of her jeans.  A small crowd advanced, some in evening clothes, some in costume." 

Where are we?  So delicious and strange. 

Anne Enright: "Rosaleen was a nightmare.  She was very difficult.  She was increasingly difficult.  She made her children cry."

Clarice Lispector:  "The light in the room then seemed yellower and richer, the people older.  The children were already hysterical."

I will just say that these are marvelous reads, treasures, sharply funny, deadly sad, and that I hope you have the chance to read any one of them.

As for this other book -- Voices in the Ocean, A journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey -- what a surprise.  My daughter plucked it out of the advanced reader copy pile but I didn't open it because the cover looked like a Lisa Frank backpack or first grade notebook cover.  I like the illustrator Lisa Frank okay for elementary school swag, but this book deserves a truly unsettling cover -- something that gives a sense of its profoundly urgent content.  It also deserves a good title -- for instance many people read The Soul of the Octopus on the strength of its cover and title.  I read it too.  Not bad.  But this book!  Gracious.  Voices in the Ocean?  So vague.  This book is by turns jaw-dropping, tragic, funny, lit with love.  I kept it with me for two days, turning to it between volleyball points, school pickups, and I even took it on a dog walk.  Susan Casey is a talented science reporter, and I grew to admire her skills and bravery so thoroughly that I went dizzy when she stepped onto a harrowing boat in the Solomon Islands and took a gut-clenching ride -- just a friendly visit to dolphin murderers who killed 1,000 dolphins in a day.  She wisely travels between beauty and brutality, between research and folklore.  She goes to The Cove (Taiji, Japan, where dolphin snacks are sold to eat during dolphin shows).  She travels to Dolphinville, where people swim and commune with pods of dolphins in ecstatic communion.  She profiles dolphin rescuers and dolphin profiteers.  Often, the profiteers and murderers become so disturbed by the empathetic intelligence of their prey that they turn into the rescuers themselves.  By the end I knew what so many people feel -- the connection between our species is filled with meaning -- uncanny, powerful -- yet to be understood.

If you're looking for a book for an fuzzy wuzzy animal lover, this is not a cute book no matter what the cover may suggest.  Buy it anyway.  Read it yourself.  Voices in the Ocean is the furious and loving truth.  Plus, it is a fantastic adventure. 

Yours for Books,


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Ha Jin Pembina peculiar touches of green and gold Empire of the Summer Moon health care reform Wolf Hall Up Late Again post holiday reads ependent favorite dog Guthrie Theater Emily Johnson trees The Porcupine Year Minneapolis green Botany Birchbark Books knowledge Native Arts favorite tree Brown Dog Islam Green Team solstice, Thomas King gardens This Green World Bleak House Nero H2Oil Gary Clement NACDI:All My Relations British Navy Chitra Divakaruni Native People leaves and snow Dogs Crushing Books Aza mississippi Wastepaper The Round House Alice Munro Catalyst monkey in a dryer The Resilient Gardener The Game of Silence Roberto Bolano pilgrims Unnatural Disasters support The Transition Handbook birchbark house series Ojibwemowin Kate DiCamillo japan Dartmouth Peak Water customers School Gardens gratitude adventure Tree Houses The Farmer's Daughter Czech Writer photography joy World on the Edge Gail Caldwell Wendy Makoons Geniusz Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge bill mckibben thank you friends Aubrey/Maturin spring thanks Light in August local economy euphoria Michael Jackson Ojibwe More Remarkable Trees Hillary Clinton Climate Change Rare Books State Troopers E.L. Doctorow devoted customers plants how good looking you are france Remarkable Trees President Obama Kabul germany boarding school sweden Canada Stephen Salisbury Makoons Patrick O'Brian book and dinner club Milkweed Press Gryphon Press Too Loud A Solitude William Trevor show your love anniversary friends city of books Poetry Beth Dooley The Wealth of Nature Ice italy Philip Roth Minnesota Bill Moyers Journal Interview aquifer Keystone XL tree books Zombies Louise Greenland neighborhood Master Butchers Singing Club china north dakota Fireworks fresh water incarnation the most romantic city in the world Keepers of the Trees Nemesis cafe closing Mankato Powwow 2666 Anishinabemowin Women and Trees coyote Hilary Mantel graphix Collective Denial Video Mohamed's Ghosts Tar Sands Anton Treuer S.C. Gwynne Anishinabe Victory Gardens ireland ptsd twins Love The Blue Sky Jim Harrison Peak Oil Magers and Quinn Vic Glover Kenwood Gardens favorite book Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive Let's Take the Long Way Home Alan Weisman The Birchbark House Too Much Happiness Easter Island The Royal Prussian Library The Ojibwe Afghanistan Chickadee Education Bohumil Hrabal language revitalization cafe National Book Award buffalo post holiday Small Bookstores as Commons Book Review Population