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 . . .  

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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