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 . . .  
Comments
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
Louise,

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


Tags

E.L. Doctorow spring Catalyst buffalo aquifer The Farmer's Daughter Aubrey/Maturin Magers and Quinn Patrick O'Brian japan china adventure Afghanistan Rare Books knowledge Bill Moyers Journal Interview neighborhood post holiday Aza italy Mohamed's Ghosts S.C. Gwynne Climate Change Hilary Mantel Greenland north dakota devoted customers The Resilient Gardener Native People Ojibwe Zombies Gail Caldwell Easter Island Let's Take the Long Way Home customers Nero Video green cafe closing france euphoria favorite book Anton Treuer health care reform Minnesota The Wealth of Nature Education birchbark house series favorite tree Keepers of the Trees Tree Houses Peak Water Anishinabe Alice Munro The Transition Handbook Guthrie Theater language revitalization World on the Edge Dogs Empire of the Summer Moon State Troopers Up Late Again plants how good looking you are coyote William Trevor British Navy Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive germany incarnation President Obama Tar Sands Book Review pilgrims Pembina This Green World Chitra Divakaruni 350.org School Gardens trees The Royal Prussian Library Louise Poetry post holiday reads ependent 2666 the most romantic city in the world Philip Roth Wendy Makoons Geniusz anniversary Czech Writer solstice, Thomas King The Ojibwe gardens mississippi Small Bookstores as Commons monkey in a dryer Bleak House Wastepaper support Hillary Clinton Alan Weisman Ice Milkweed Press Emily Johnson gratitude Unnatural Disasters Collective Denial Fireworks friends bill mckibben Dartmouth Jim Harrison The Birchbark House leaves and snow graphix Chickadee The Game of Silence show your love Nemesis Mankato Powwow Stephen Salisbury Botany ireland Women and Trees twins Keystone XL thank you friends Gryphon Press Vic Glover More Remarkable Trees Too Loud A Solitude photography Victory Gardens Crushing Books thanks H2Oil Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge Beth Dooley Kabul Kenwood Gardens favorite dog Remarkable Trees Canada Bohumil Hrabal Michael Jackson Green Team Roberto Bolano The Porcupine Year cafe Population local economy boarding school Makoons Too Much Happiness The Blue Sky Birchbark Books Kate DiCamillo Wolf Hall Peak Oil joy tree books The Round House Master Butchers Singing Club Native Arts ptsd Anishinabemowin Love Gary Clement fresh water National Book Award Ojibwemowin city of books peculiar touches of green and gold Ha Jin Light in August book and dinner club Brown Dog Minneapolis sweden NACDI:All My Relations Islam

Archive