Monday, June 13, 2005

The heat and humidity are unbearable today. I suppose if I had spent the day in the office, with the a.c. blasting on my back, my mind wouldn't be mush now. But I went to the gym this afternoon, where it was not and is never really cool, and my brain has been frizzled ever since.

But I'm not too fried to write about the book I'm reading. In her debut novel, Canadian writer Anne Giardini has created a world I'm enjoying visiting. I'd like to be more emphatic about my sojourn in the Vancouver of The Sad Truth about Happiness, but the protagonist, Maggie, a woman in her early thirties, is a calm, reflective person, unlike her more flamboyant sisters, and so far (I'm halfway through now) she is a distance from any excitement or suspense, even though she is dating three men.

But I like this book. I'm not going to say anything negative about it, even though her metaphors, which are beautiful (though overly endowed with adjectives at times), do not seem to connect to the story or to Maggie in any way.) Now, there, I've done what I said I wouldn't do. But I like the metaphors and the anecdotes; they're beautiful in a restful way, reminding me of a saunter in a perennial garden on a hot summer's day. I need this, because I've been reading some short stories that have had me pulling my hair out, the stories' endings are so maddening. The one I listened to while making dinner last night made me so furious that I wished I could throw the manuscript in the writer's face. I won't reveal the story today, mostly because I've been so unprofessional, but I may at some point when I regain my control.

It wasn't until I started pulling the links together for this entry that I discovered Giardini is the daughter of the late Carol Shields. There are few books that have spoken to me more than Shields's Unless. It would be a tough thing to attempt a novel and be the daughter of such an incredible writer.


Anonymous Loretta said...

I just bought my pile of books for my vacation, so I resisted the pull to click on the link and order Giardini's book. But your description of the metaphors as walks in a perennial garden was enticing, and now to read that she is Shield's daughter makes it irresistible. I'll put it on the short list for the August vacation.

7:46 PM  

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