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 . . .  
Comments
Anonymous commented on 02-Feb-2010 01:23 PM
hoka hey! fight the good fight against surfeit of PO'Brian. My wife and i love the dog page-- how about a dog blog? next time we come to Minn/StPaul, we'll drop by (we're in Los Angeles).
Marlee Atkinson commented on 12-Feb-2010 11:43 AM
Louise,

Just recently heard about your new novel (which I will order from Birchbark), and wanted to send out a congrats to you from Austin Peay State University. We all miss you and hope the best for you in the coming years. I must admit that your visiting was one of the best experiences of my college education. Thank you, thank you, thank you! -Marlee Atkinson (the redhead)
Scarlet commented on 19-Feb-2010 02:33 AM
Honestly, there is no escaping Aubrey/Maturin. I devoured the series three years ago and now I'm listening to them (wonderfully read by Simon Vance). It has launched me on a hopeless Napoleonic Wars and sea novel obsession. I thought that surely I would be tired of it by now, but the fascination continues.
ann commented on 09-Mar-2010 08:22 AM
Addiction is as addiction does-I want to suffer from Tiger Woods
illness. Alas millions of dollars are not coming my way right now.
I do enjoy your illustrations as in your National Geographic book and hope that you continue this expression of your thoughts..Alice Munro's book has so many stories that were published earlier and I did read some of them and what is your next selection for discussion?
P S Susan's hospitality impressed me and your store is wonderful !
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

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

Archive