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


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