Apr 12, 10
Read in April, 2010
I love Carolyn Chute. This was a big experimental book--many characters, many voices (including the voice of TV and the voice of Mammon). While the Beans of Egypt, Maine remains my favorite book, this one was really exceptional. She humanized people (in this case members of the Maine Militia) who are left out of most mainstream media discussions. She reveals the inner life of kids in a way that is both respectful and believable. I love her work. It took me a long time to finish this book b/c I really didn't want for it to end.
There's a guy who I work with who says that postmodernism has no compassion and no heart--that it's all play with no center. I might try and spring this book by Chute on him to see what he does with it. It clearly has the multi-leveled, multi-layered qualities of postmodernism, but is clearly about social justice, compassion, and what it takes to live with others. So few people write about rural poverty, especially in the North. Chute fills this space.
It's set before 9/11 by the way, which is an interesting time to remember (And is difficult to remember) in the present moment.