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


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