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


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