Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Pearlman, Lispector, Enright

Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Book Lovers,

Three writers have dominated my month -- Edith Pearlman (again), Anne Enright and Clarice Lispector.  Although I have some assigned reading to do, I've been escaping frequently into Binocular Vision, The Green Road, and Lispector's Complete Stories.  From Edith Pearlman this paragraph, "Into the slot she dropped.  She fell smoothly and painlessly, her hair streaming above her head.  She landed well below the water's surface on a mossy floor.  Toenails still there?  Yes, and the handkerchief in the pocket of her jeans.  A small crowd advanced, some in evening clothes, some in costume." 

Where are we?  So delicious and strange. 

Anne Enright: "Rosaleen was a nightmare.  She was very difficult.  She was increasingly difficult.  She made her children cry."

Clarice Lispector:  "The light in the room then seemed yellower and richer, the people older.  The children were already hysterical."

I will just say that these are marvelous reads, treasures, sharply funny, deadly sad, and that I hope you have the chance to read any one of them.

As for this other book -- Voices in the Ocean, A journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey -- what a surprise.  My daughter plucked it out of the advanced reader copy pile but I didn't open it because the cover looked like a Lisa Frank backpack or first grade notebook cover.  I like the illustrator Lisa Frank okay for elementary school swag, but this book deserves a truly unsettling cover -- something that gives a sense of its profoundly urgent content.  It also deserves a good title -- for instance many people read The Soul of the Octopus on the strength of its cover and title.  I read it too.  Not bad.  But this book!  Gracious.  Voices in the Ocean?  So vague.  This book is by turns jaw-dropping, tragic, funny, lit with love.  I kept it with me for two days, turning to it between volleyball points, school pickups, and I even took it on a dog walk.  Susan Casey is a talented science reporter, and I grew to admire her skills and bravery so thoroughly that I went dizzy when she stepped onto a harrowing boat in the Solomon Islands and took a gut-clenching ride -- just a friendly visit to dolphin murderers who killed 1,000 dolphins in a day.  She wisely travels between beauty and brutality, between research and folklore.  She goes to The Cove (Taiji, Japan, where dolphin snacks are sold to eat during dolphin shows).  She travels to Dolphinville, where people swim and commune with pods of dolphins in ecstatic communion.  She profiles dolphin rescuers and dolphin profiteers.  Often, the profiteers and murderers become so disturbed by the empathetic intelligence of their prey that they turn into the rescuers themselves.  By the end I knew what so many people feel -- the connection between our species is filled with meaning -- uncanny, powerful -- yet to be understood.

If you're looking for a book for an fuzzy wuzzy animal lover, this is not a cute book no matter what the cover may suggest.  Buy it anyway.  Read it yourself.  Voices in the Ocean is the furious and loving truth.  Plus, it is a fantastic adventure. 

Yours for Books,


Carey commented on 05-Feb-2016 12:38 PM
I value your review of this book, thank you, I would like to read it. I saw The Cove by Ric O'Barry when it was released and since then been actively involved with trying to end the Taiji captures and kills. Since Ric O'Barry's arrest and imprisonment in Japan 19 days ago (though he has never broken Japanese law) such a book is particularly pertinent.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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