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)
Scarlet 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.
ann 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


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