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,


Carey commented on 05-Feb-2016 12:38 PM
I value your review of this book, thank you, I would like to read it. I saw The Cove by Ric O'Barry when it was released and since then been actively involved with trying to end the Taiji captures and kills. Since Ric O'Barry's arrest and imprisonment in Japan 19 days ago (though he has never broken Japanese law) such a book is particularly pertinent.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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