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


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