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

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

Archive