Happy Winter

by Louise Erdrich
Patrick Melrose

I had simply been too nice, for too long, as this is Minnesota. So I read the Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn practically weeping with relief. Vicarious cruelty, sordid little lusts, an epic search to score heroin while carrying a parent's ashes, it has helped enormously.

Patrick, on his parents vodka fueled marriage: "Perhaps, on the contrary, it was her money that had cheapened him. He had stopped his medical practice soon after their marriage. At the beginning, there had been talk of using some of her money to start a home for alcoholics. In a sense they had succeeded."

The four novellas contain abuse, incest, indelicacies, vicious cuts at the person of Princess Margaret, hilarious descriptions of clothing, party swag, and the venal behavior of the British upper class. There is also bewildered tenderness and a narrator who staggers toward something that resembles hope.

Birchbark Books is going to Washington D.C. via train to take part in the Feb 17th 350.org action on curbing the fossil fuel industry. We'll let you know how that goes, how the train goes, what we see and what we are reading.

I might take the St. Aubyn and read it all again. Or the new Karen Russell book, short stories including one about a Vampire in a Lemon Grove -- I just glimpsed an intriguing review --

Yours for books,