Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Reading

The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews, tells the story of some very deeply wounded and resilient souls. Mental illness, family dysfunction, love and loss. Lots of sentences have "yeah, no" in the same breath. An aunt, fresh from a break-up in Paris, comes back to help her sister out and ends up taking her niece and nephew on a road trip ending somewhere near the Mexican border. Along the way she wonders what her response should be to her sister's plea to help her commit suicide. Not exactly light reading.

Hattie's niece asks her to share a secret:

Okay, I said. I had sex with my swimming coach when I was sixteen and he was thirty-seven and then I blackmailed him and told him I was pregnant and needed five hundred dollars for an abortion or I'd tell his wife that he was a pervert and he gave me the money and I spent it all on acid and mushrooms and quit the swim team. ..... You can't tell anybody, I said.
.... I worried that I had chosen the wrong secret to share with an eleven-year-old. I apologised for being indiscreet.
The characters are an odd combination of wise, deeply flawed, strong and vulnerable. No one is perfect - and no one pretends to be.

I would recommend this book to anyone who liked Lullabies for Little Criminals; it is along the same vein.

I'm just beginning Hurricane Punch, which looks to be a great summer-trashy kind of tale. It's about serial killers and it is supposed to be "insanely funny."

I picked it up because the cover made it look like a delectable treat. I'll give it 50 pages... hope it isn't too fattening!

Update July 3: Actually reading this turned out to be somewhat similar to eating pork rinds. The first few are quite delicious but the experience turns mildly disgusting. You continue with the mild hope that things will get better but then abandon any possibility and toss the bag away when it is still 3/4 full.

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