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Pickle Me This

March 25, 2007

Prairie Fiction should come with a warning label

I had book trauma this weekend. I don’t mean this lightly. As I have mentioned before, reading prairie fiction sends me into despair. Which I always forget about until I’ve nearly finished the book and am filled with deep sadness for the human condition. And I never stopped to think that Obasan is actually prairie fiction too, as well being, well, Obasan. Which, when read following my recent Burmese prison tale rendered the world pretty bleak. And the sky was the colour of paper, and I kept staring out the window pondering the meaning of it all. So in other words I was in dire need of a good slap, and around people far too kind to administer one. Luckily life got better.

First, I’m now reading Orphan Island by Rose Macaulay which is a delightful and interesting romp. You can read the 1925 review from Time Magazine here (ain’t the tinternet grand?) I’ve not read Macaulay’s novels before, though her Pleasure of Ruins is the most beautiful book I own, and I loved her essay on English “Catchwords and Claptrap” (which you can read here). I am reading this novel on the recommendation of Decca who acknowledged it in one of her letters as a favourite. It’s simply lovely.

And next up is The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (who I hope to go see read at Harbourfront next week).

Second, I watched Stranger Than Fiction last night, and I can’t think of the last time I enjoyed a movie so much. And it’s a bookish film, but I watched it with two boys who are a little less bookish than I, and they liked it as much as I did. I found it purely enjoyable from start to finish, I didn’t get bored once, and part of the reason I was so engaged was I had no idea how the plot would sort itself out. But it did perfectly, and all of us were so engrossed in the story that when we feared one character would meet an untimely (or timely, in this case, I do suppose) demise, we were out of our minds with agony. And I like a movie that allows you to care so much. Lately we’ve renting movies last minute with little selection, and then yelling at the screen begging the characters to off themselves so we wouldn’t have to watch them any longer. So it was very nice to feel differently, and of course the bookishness was ace. Six thumbs up.

The sky is still the colour of paper, but my outlook has greatly improved.

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