Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Victim of Narrative

Louise Erdrich - Sunday, January 31, 2010
Our first book and supper club selection was Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro.  I chose the book because I am a great admirer of Alice Munro and because I love short stories.  She never lets me down.  Mordant, ordinary, strange, funny, offhandedly sublime.  The two nights of book club discussion were so much better than I'd feared (as an introvert).  The people who came were tremendous and they had loads to say so I didn't have to carry the conversation at all.  Elation!  And I must say that the dinner by Kenwood Cafe was utterly delicious and left me warm and happy.  But was there too much happiness?  Well, the title is found in the last story of the book -- possibly the last words of a female mathematics genius.   Too much happiness, indeed.

Yet my distress over my addiction continues, and I seek some affirmation that will free me from the endless Aubrey/Maturin series of sea novels about The British Navy, a series well known as the tar baby of narrative (too much boredom?  Alas, no, vertiginous sea battles!  Utterly compelling characters, both male and female)  I've known relationships to founder on these rocks.  Marriages to beat against the lee shore of these novels and succumb.  Once you've started, with Master and Commander (forget the movie), you'll be keel hauled right in and there goes your winter.  You'll be a victim of narrative.

Coming up in May: the publication of Mohamed's Ghosts, by the young old-school prize-winning journalist Stephan Salisbury.  His book is about all of us -- victims of narrative following 9/11.  He cared to think about what was happening to the ordinary people who belong to a mosque, struggle to be American and to follow their beliefs as well.  This is a wrenching and outrageous story of our own shadow country conjured out of fear.

If I can unstick myself from Patrick O'Brian I will let you know how I did it.  I'm going to check out a 12 step sea novel program . . .  
Anonymous commented on 02-Feb-2010 01:23 PM
hoka hey! fight the good fight against surfeit of PO'Brian. My wife and i love the dog page-- how about a dog blog? next time we come to Minn/StPaul, we'll drop by (we're in Los Angeles).
Marlee Atkinson commented on 12-Feb-2010 11:43 AM

Just recently heard about your new novel (which I will order from Birchbark), and wanted to send out a congrats to you from Austin Peay State University. We all miss you and hope the best for you in the coming years. I must admit that your visiting was one of the best experiences of my college education. Thank you, thank you, thank you! -Marlee Atkinson (the redhead)
Anonymous commented on 19-Feb-2010 02:33 AM
Honestly, there is no escaping Aubrey/Maturin. I devoured the series three years ago and now I'm listening to them (wonderfully read by Simon Vance). It has launched me on a hopeless Napoleonic Wars and sea novel obsession. I thought that surely I would be tired of it by now, but the fascination continues.
Anonymous commented on 09-Mar-2010 08:22 AM
Addiction is as addiction does-I want to suffer from Tiger Woods
illness. Alas millions of dollars are not coming my way right now.
I do enjoy your illustrations as in your National Geographic book and hope that you continue this expression of your thoughts..Alice Munro's book has so many stories that were published earlier and I did read some of them and what is your next selection for discussion?
P S Susan's hospitality impressed me and your store is wonderful !
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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