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


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