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


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