Monday, May 28, 2007

what i read in the heartland

on our first flight to nebraska, i finished the namesake. as i mentioned in my last post, i enjoyed the story more than i expected. lahiri's juxtaposition of cultures and generational differences was presented in a subtle tone that befit the topic. a good read, for sure.

i must admit i was disappointed by the ending's sharp decline. after the affair was announced, lahiri pressed the fast-forward button and awkwardly tied loose ends in an insensitive matter-of-fact manner, switching to the mother's perspective and leaving the protagonist's emotional content to her secondary focus. the ending was so abrupt that i was left wondering if lahiri were struggling to hit a deadline, maintain a page count, or more likely, challenged by ending the book in a graceful and fitting way.

i also wasn't convinced that characters were developed sufficiently, or at least the evolution of the main character wasn't sustained. i DID appreciate that he wasn't a particularly likeable character and his flaws were what made him complex, interesting.

i was happy to have another book waiting in the wings to balance my intense weekend. my buddy amy suggested comfort me with apples by ruth reichl, which was a perfect escape, and oddly topical--david and i have been talking quite a bit about regional and seasonal food, and challenging our assumptions around what food would be accessible to us were it not for the shipping industry (among other things). my fascination with, and blooming interest in the local food movement is leading me down the path to my next selection--once i appear at the top of the list of 129 in front of me at the library--animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life, by barbara kingsolver. we caught the end of a talk kingsolver was giving (gotta love hotel cable tv!), and were transfixed by a statistic she offered around the impact a family could make in reducing petrolueum consumption just by cooking a meal with regional food ONCE A WEEK! i don't remember the statistic, but it was impressive. (while searching for that stat, i found her her web site.)

i should finish comfort me with apples soon, and then i'll get to the task of recommending some books, per marjorie's request. fun!


Amy said...

I am so glad you are reading Comfort me with Apples. Her books are complete escape. I broke down and bought the new Barbara Kingsolver book. I heard her speak on NPR and knew I couldnt wait for it to a)get to me on the library hold b) wait for paperback. I will pass it along once I finish it.

pattie said...

Sarah-Nice to talk with you tonight. Have you read many other B. Kingsolver books? Long ago our book club read Prodigal Summer and The Poisonwood Bible. What others have I missed in the past few years? As I mentioned tonight-check out The Five People You Meet In Heaven sometime. It was a quick read, yet a book I still reflect on occasionally.

sandy said...

I had the same reaction to the ending of The Namesake as you did. I loved it all the way through and then -- thud! I haven't gotten into the other books you or friends have suggested yet, but I'm a great admirer of Kingsolver and her work.

david silver said...

i just picked up the kingsolver book and am loving it. i'm taking it to the farm but nudge it your way after i'm finished. =)