The first book came as a recommendation of a new friend of mine, Bob. He loves books as much as I do and after reading a few of my blog entries he shared with me that his favorite book was “The Gathering” by Anne Enright.
Intrigued, I downloaded it and read it within a week.
The book is set in Ireland where a middle daughter in a very large family finds out that her closest brother has taken his own life. “The Gathering” is a novel about the coming together of her family at his funeral.
The prose was brilliant and her observations on every day life are spot on. My one criticism of this book is that it rambled all over both the past and present time frame almost as if it were in a drunken haze. Yet, that may have been the point as we learn about this alcohol infused, dysfunctional family.
Here is a quote from the book as the main character talks to her sister about her brother’s death: “The trick being to get drunk after the news and not before. It is a thin line, Kitty, but we think it’s important. Out in the real world, we think it makes a difference.” Love it.
Next, I read a collection of short stories called “Tunneling to the Center of the Earth” by Kevin Wilson. It was a book club pick and one of my favorite things about being in a book club is that someone else does the hard work of picking your next book.
That said: short stories are not my favorite format. By the time I get to know the characters you are on to the next story. To add to this, almost all of the stories were about isolated people who struggle to find their way in society.
There was a cheerleader involved with her much younger neighbor boy. Yuck. Two young men who are discovering they may be gay. Awkward. And the story of a miserable fellow who works for a company called “worst case scenario”. Really?
Yet even though they were short and melancoly stories, they have stayed with me for a couple of days and I am glad I read them. While most of the stories were sad, one quote stays with me from the book: “You can be happy with your life and yet see the point of one lived differently”.
That to me is my lesson of the cabin. I was very happy with my life “pre-cabin”, and yet now I can see that I am very happy with this new and slower paced life lived differently. Sigh.