In the High Peaks

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Late Summer, Per Petterson, and Margaret Drabble

Let's see if today's post survives better than yesterday's. So far, so good.

Another big hiking morning, one of many this week. Hiking companions seem to be popping up everywhere as the sun becomes less intense and the temperatures more reasonable. I still find it hot, but it's comforting to know that so many of my friends are finding the weather more tolerable.

Per Petterson!! If anyone had told me that I would love a novel by a male writer about the relationship between a man and his mother, I would have said, "Dead wrong!" But I picked up I Curse the River of Time, started reading, and haven't had a wish to read anything else since, and I'm nearly done.

Very well crafted, nuanced relationships. Five stars for that aspect, in my opinion. I identified completely with the main character, a man 37 years old, who finds that his mother, a woman in her early 60s, is in poor health. The book is all about Life and Time. Twenty years ago, ten years ago, when I was a small child, today, back and forth and all over the place in a lifetime of memories, and all of it is done beautifully. Puzzling over time, the worlds of the past that exist no longer, so well done in that respect.

Another unstoppable read: A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories by Margaret Drabble (2011) is a small volume, yet each story has grabbed me from the first page. Such interesting male-female situations and relationships; characters with unique, strong voices; with plenty of irony mixed in. The stories date from the beginning of Drabble's career in the early 1960s to 2000. Highly recommended! For an article about Drabble and a book excerpt, click on the book link. It's from National Public Radio.

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