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


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