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)
Scarlet 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.
ann 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


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