Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lorrie Moore

Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk: Now, Where Is the Money?
For this blog comment, please focus on "People Like That Are the Only People Here."

Can you see how this fiction is not only telling a compelling story (who could ignore a baby with cancer?) but also telling a story about telling a story?

If you wish, you could compare this story to one of the others ("You're Ugly, Too" or "How to Become a Writer") in our anthology. What can you observe more broadly about Moore's writing moves?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich, whose work I first read with my mentor at Binghamton University, Professor Susan Strehle, is prolific and shockingly, fiercely good. In grad school, I read Tracks, the third book in the Love Medicine series (two of the stories you just read, "The Red Convertible" and "Saint Marie" are in that first linked-story novel, Love Medicine). In Tracks, you get to pick up on the story of Sister Leopolda, if truly sinister nuns are your thing...

Anyway, if you look up her current credits, you'll find that her novel Plague of Doves (which, incidentally, contains a chapter called "Satan: Highjacker of a Planet") was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. She is a repeat National Book Award winner and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippeway Indians, a band of the Anishinaabe, also known as Ojibwe.

If you're just discovering her work, you might want to check out her dystopian, straight-up science fiction novel that just came out last year (November 2017).  Dwight Garner's review in The New York Times starts like this:

Photography by Jean-Luc Bertini
"Louise Erdrich's quietly apocalyptic new novel, Future Home of the Living God, isn't about a plague, exactly. But something sinister is happening to our blue planet. Evolution appears to be running in reverse. Animals can't breed properly, and humans also have trouble reproducing.

"Big lizard-birds fill the skies. Saber-toothed cats make meals of dogs. The United States government appears to have collapsed, but hardy Post Office employees ("neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night") somehow make their rounds in armored personnel carriers.

"In shades of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, pregnant women are rounded up so that their births can be observed. Nonpregnant women are seized, too, and forced to carry to term frozen embryos from the old world's in vitro fertilization clinics."

Tempted? Garner continues on to say that the book isn't very good. This is just one man's opinion! For another perspective, read Margaret Atwood interviewing Louise Erdrich here.

Do you notice any similarities among the three stories you read? Any mirrors of trapdoors? Anything that seems related to the description of Erdrich's new sci-fi?