Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book #34

A Confession: I'm in the middle of a number of books right now, but the book that I have finished is our church's September Book Club book: Boundary Waters, the 2nd in a mystery series by Minnesota author William Kent Krueger.

Perhaps it seems an odd choice for a church book club: it's a pretty violent (although not gorey) mystery set in Northern Minnesota; the Lutherans and the Catholics are mentioned, in a quiet way, of course; the most genuine spirituality comes from the Ojibwe characters in the book, from Wendell Two-Knives down to his nephew, Louis.

I found that, other than a couple of minor quarrels (a character named Marais Grand, give me a break), I really liked this book. I figured out the mystery slightly before it was revealed; I liked getting to know the complex characters and found the underlying themes of family, belonging and loyalty to be thought-provoking. I'd go back to the Boundary Waters again, to learn more about Cork O'Connor (the protagonist), his family, and his community.

Our church book club spent an extended period of time tonight discussing the spirituality of story-telling, how telling stories is an act of faith, and how the boy Louis' story at the end of the novel pulls everything together and makes meaning. We wondered about our own family stories, and about our extended family stories, and about our faith family stories, and how it has been that there are so few story tellers among us any more.

There's a mystery for you: Where are the story tellers these days?


Jennifer said...

Sounds like a good book and a great discussion!

My favorite contemporary storytellers are Garrison Keillor, Alice Walker and Barbara Kingsolver. Also, I have two great storytellers in my congregation.

Mompriest said...

hum, now that I will have time on my hands I am looking for good books to read...

CJWille said...

I think it's harder to find story tellers today because we don't give relationships and breaks the "time" they deserve in order to let the story unfold. Our culture of immediacy via faxes, emails and internet, don't lend themselves to the time it takes to weave a character and build suspense.

Barbara B. said...

That sounds like one to add to my list -- thanks for another good book review!