Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mass murder

Ant heaven (or hell) has just had an influx of several more of the little buggers. I picked up the dish towel by the sink and found a cluster of them hiding out underneath. Annoyed, I proceeded to smite them. I don't understand why they won't go away...we keep the kitchen very clean, and have even tried ant killer, to no avail.

Here is a line from a story I read over the weekend which goes to show how meanings can change in the post-9/11 world:

"Though you have never been a drinker, it seems reasonable that you should depend on an outside source to calm you in a world like this, a world where planes fall from the sky."
~Amanda Davis, "Crash"

Chills. I don't know. The rest of the collection, Circling the Drain, didn't strike me as spectacular, but that line got to me. The volume was copyright 1999, so the story was written before 9/11. It's a bit strange--when I'm reading new-ish fiction, and there is a reference to airplanes or terrorism, I immediately flip to the front to see when the book was published. The first book I read to actually include 9/11 was called Forever by Pete Hamill. I didn't think the book was very memorable, and the whole 9/11 thing seemed tacked on, an afterthought. Still, upon reading the author's note, I do see where he's coming from that a book set in New York City really can't leave something like that out. I wonder if similar things happened to people after Pearl Harbor, or the JFK assassination.

Right now I'm reading The Poisonwood Bible, which is likewise not spectacular. The storytelling is very fragmented, with narration shared by five women, a mother and her four daughters. I cannot become comfortable before another narrator takes over. While I don't enjoy this style of storytelling, I do particularly enjoy the insights of Adah, one of the daughters. Some bits from her:

"Speaking, as I said--along with the rest of life's acrobatics--can be seen in a certain light as a distraction."

"The death of something living is the price of our own survival, and we pay it again and again. We have no choice. It is the one solemn promise every life on earth is born and bound to keep."

I would like to read more of Barbara Kingsolver's essays. I read one, once, and liked it.

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