Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Reader's Diary #209- David Bezmozgis: Natasha and Other Stories (FINISHED)

Great book. Two things stand out:

1. Bezmozgis says so much with so little. His writing comes across as factual, almost void of any flowery language whatsoever. And while I love occasional similes and metaphors, I found Bezmozgis' style refreshing. It reminded me of haiku. Traditional haiku, as is my understanding, was skimpy on figurative language, opting instead to describe a moment in nature that could inspire any number of epiphanies within readers. Like a still life painting, I suppose. But see how hard that is? Already I've compared Bezmozgis' writing to a haiku and to a still life painting.

2. Growing up Jewish in Toronto was very different than growing up in outport Newfoundland. Yes, I have a penchant for stating the obvious, but it was another reason I enjoyed this book. As this blog would attest, I read a lot of Newfoundland and Arctic books. Maybe it's pride, maybe it's trying to connect to my roots and to my new home, maybe there's a comfort in familiarity- whatever the reason, the downside is missing out on other facets of life in Canada (or the world at large for that matter). Reading Natasha and Other Stories was a great reminder to broaden my library and also that the Canadian experience does not exist.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Do you think you would vote for this one for Canada Reads?

I plan to start reading the list as soon as I finish my current book, and I'm going to start with Lullabies for Little Criminals. I heard one of her short stories read on CBC the other day and was charmed, so I have great hoopes.

John Mutford said...

Possibly, but I haven't read the others yet. I think it'll be a better contender than I first thought. While it is a collection of short stories, it feels like a novel and that alone will keep in longer, I think. (Though after my poor job of predicting last year, I'm trying to avoid that this year).

I'm reading Lullabies now. I'll blog about it more later (as I hope you do!) but so far, so good- though (and I can't yet put my finger on why) it reminds me a little of A Complicated Kindness- no surprise really since John K. Samson brought along both books.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And both books were recommended to him by the same person, I understand.

John Mutford said...

Kathleen Molloy also reviewed this book here.