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


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