Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Five-Star Bookshelf, Part Ten

Janette Turner Hospital, Charades

I didn't realize how privileged I was to attend the University of Alberta in the late 1980s, when abundant Canada Council funds meant that I could attend a reading from a Canadian writer almost every week of my undergrad life. One of these readers was Janette Turner Hospital, who on that occasion read from Charades (note that the second A is pronounced AH: sha-rahdz). The passage the author read was well selected: tense, unusual, disturbing, full of strange religion and difficult family relationships. I bought the novel a short time later and devoured it, and have reread it several times since graduation. I have also read other novels by Hospital, but none has stuck with me like Charades.

The novel follows a young Australian woman named Charade Ryan, who is searching for her father. Coming from an unusual family, she is acutely aware of language and deliciously tangled in story. Her narrative is by turns erotically coy, brutal, and insightful. Its themes resonated for me at so many levels. Charades is set in Australia and Canada, and ranges from the Holocaust to classical music to theoretical physics. It is exquisitely constructed and very smart, but also emotionally shocking.

Just writing about it now, I want to dig up the book out and read it again. This is a book I give as a gift when I can find it, although it is apparently out of print at this time. If you find it used or in the library, read it. The thousand and one moments of this novel are sure to stay with you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Oh, not again

So, it must have been a really, really, really slow news day to generate this story.

Really? The whole Habitat for Humanity thing wasn't enough? This former "alderman" felt he needed more press time? OMG.

So glad I don't live in St Albert any longer, so I don't have to be associated with the idiocy of some people who do.