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


Tags

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

Archive