Friday, March 28, 2008

Thomas King - Green Grass, Running Water

I have to say that I was delighted with this book. I found it to be smart, witty and delightfully off-center.
Of course, it is sad because of its relevance to real historical events. However, thanks to its note of hope it is also encouraging and positive.
"Adhamn is busy. He is naming everything.
You are a microwave oven, Ahdamn tells the Elk.
Nope, says that Elk. Try again.
You are a garage sale, Ahdamn tells the Bear.
We got to get you some glasses, says the Bear.
You are a telephone book, Ahdamn tells the Cedar Tree.
You're getting closer, says the Ceder Tree.
You are a cheeseburger, Ahdamn tells Old Coyote.
It must be time for lunch, says Old Coyote.
Never mind that, First Woman tells Ahdamn. Here is something to eat.
Wait a minute, says that GOD. That's my garden. That's my stuff.
'Don't talk to me,' I says. 'You better talk to First Woman.'
You bet I will, says that GOD."

"I'm not sure I'll be able to make it. I have to fly back. I've got a reservation.
The man took Lionel by the shoulders, looked at him hard, and said, 'Some of us don't." (58).

"What are we going to do with all those dead rangers? says Ahdamn.
Better yet, says First Woman, what are we going to do with all those live rangers?" (70).

"Maybe it was Coyote.
'Ah, excuse me,' says Coyote. 'I was asleep at the time.'
'What time was that?' I says.
'When were the rangeres killed?' says Coyote." (70).

"And they gallop off, looking for Indians and buffalo and poor people and other good things to kill" (71).

"'Watch the toilet,' Latisha called after her. 'Sometimes it overflows.'
'Don't they all, 'Jeanette called back, sounding very far away. 'Don't they all.'" (135).

"I'm Changing Woman, says Changing Woman.
Any relation to Eve? says the little man. She sinned, you know. that's why I'm in a canoe full of animals. That's why I'm in a canoe full of poop. [...]
Why are you talking to animals? says the little man. This is a Christian ship. Animals don't talk. We got rules." (145).

Margaret Laurence - The Stone Angel

I had read this book before, but I didn't appreciate it properly the first time.
I found it to be beautiful- although not as moving as The Fire-Dwellers- and really enjoyable.
I particularly loved the subtlety of metaphor and meaning. I had a number of favorite passages, such as the following:
"his monument stood, more dear to him, I believe, than the brood mare who lay beneath because she'd proved no match for his stud" (Laurence 43). [It is referring, of course, to the marble angel over her mother's grave.] I found this to be amazing, especially considering the fact that it is simply thrown in with the rest of the ideas and is hardly touched on again.
Parenting is a profound element of this work, and I'm writing an essay for English 240 comparing it to Death of a Salesman (of course I am also comparing it to pride/individuality from a sociological standpoint).
There is also a lot of humour, which makes sense considering Laurence's strength in that capacity.
"He leans over and looks me straight in the eye. 'I lost my faither,' he says confidingly. 'I kind of mislaid it and when I went to look for it, it wasn't there.'" (Laurence 229).