When daughter #2 was home over the Christmas holiday she made a concerted effort to read some contemporary fiction. (You can read about it here.) I told her I would read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach so we could talk about it, and, always the good mother, I did just that.
Well, I tried to read The Art of Fielding. I really did. I read at least 60 pages before I threw it across the room (metaphorically) and gave up. It is just pretentious showing off in the worst sophomoric way. For instance he gives his characters stupid names: Skrimshander and Starblind and Affenlight. Okay, we get it; you read Moby Dick. And I just couldn’t take the way he always writes “freshperson” instead of “freshman”, as in “freshperson year”. Please. The characters and story were not enough to overlook these minor irritations I’m afraid. Life is too short for this drivel. And, hey, baseball-as-a-metaphor-for-life has been done many times before, and by far better writers.
Sorry, daughter #2. I tried (but not very hard).
Luckily, I took the advice of my niece Ellen and sent away for The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich. What a find! This is beautiful prose at its best…and about Wyoming! It is a deep and true and pitch-perfect observation of Life. How could I not love a book by someone who writes, “I met my husband at a John Wayne film festival in Cody, Wyoming”?
Gretel Ehrlich is a writer from California, who went to Bennington, UCLA film school and the School for Social Research in NYC. But she left all that baggage behind when she went to Wyoming looking for solace and discovered that “true solace is finding none, which is to say, it is everywhere.” She is no sophomore.
Meanwhile, my Saturday estate-sale-ing turned up no Big Finds, but some good books.
Have a great week and happy reading!