Archive | March, 2012

At Play: Chapters 22-24

23 Mar

Some interesting developments as the novel comes near to the end. Or, as the saying goes, the plot thickens. I’m interested in your thoughts about the following questions. 

What’s up with Quarrier and Huben going crazy with jealousy because Moon appears naked before Andy? They tolerate the Niaruna nudity more or less; certainly they aren’t afraid for Andy’s chastity. What’s the difference between Indian nudity and the nudity of a half-American Indian pretending to be an Indian? 

What’s going on with Andy? Quarrier describes a new “hardness” in her. How has she changed, and why? Likewise, Hazel is going off the deep end. I must say I rather like this new Hazel, in a sick way. Is she mocking the missionaries and their mission, or is she totally unaware of her own actions and words? 

This isn’t a question but an observation. Notice how in these chapters Moon is becoming more and more “civilized” and Uyuyu is reverting back to “savagery.” Quarrier even calls Moon on it. “You’re not a savage, Moon, and you never were, and you never will be.” Interesting. 

How is the argument between Xantes and Huben emblematic of the whole clash between Catholics and Protestants? Does anyone know what “apostolic succession” means? Describe Huben’s and Xantes’s rhetorical styles? Is one more convincing than the other? 

I don’t know what to say or ask about Hazel’s night of wild sex. “Wow,” is all I wrote in the margin. 

What do you think will come of the Niaruna, now that they’re moving to a new place? Talk about irony. Consider the great distance between Moon’s original goal for the Niaruna and what appears to be the result of his meddling. 

Guess that’s it for this time. Any other thoughts are most welcome too. 


Bell Bird Call

23 Mar

Bell Bird Call

You’ll recall how the Bell Bird is somehow sacred and ominous, at least to Lewis Moon while he’s living with the Niaruna. Here’s a youtube video of at least one species of the bird and it’s strange song. 

At Play: Chapter 17 – 18

19 Mar

Here we get the Niaruna’s reaction to Billy’s death. Plus some background. I was stuck by the rather comical misunderstanding when Boronai offered Pindi to Quarrier, seeing how poorly Q got along with his wife. Then he and Hazel played kissy face to show they were together, which offended B’s “idea of good taste.” So, are things like monogamy inherently right, or are they simply culture bound and arbitrary. Whose taste is good and whose bad in this case?

In the next chapter, we learn a little more about Andy, particularly why she married Huben, and how her opinion of him is changing. Who is this woman? What’s she want? She has brief interactions with Wolfie and Xantes. Do they shed any light on her?

At Play: Chapter 16

19 Mar

This is a grim chapter, the one in which Billy dies. My urge, as I read and reread, is to assign blame for Billy’s death. To God, Hazel, Quarrier. Is it anyone’s fault? Everyone’s fault? Anyone thoughts?

Welcome to Outside Lit

1 Mar

This blog is for anyone who likes stories about people with the gumption, or desperation, to get up off the couch, walk out the door. We prefer walking to driving, trains to planes, but we understand that the world being what it is, one must use the means available. Bicycles hold a special place in our hearts, and we can’t think of a single story about bikes at present. That’s a shame.

So if you’re tired of domestic literature, upper-middle-class dramas of manners, gimmicky word play masking the absence of story, or even worse, that exhausted “post modern” excuse for bad writing that claims the very badness of the writing is somehow a commentary on the badness of our times (please, go sell your snake oil elsewhere). We love women writers and women readers, but we must reject any writing that describes itself using the word “chick.” There are many other forms and styles of writing we don’t like , but we’ll try to focus on what we do like. Examples are always better than abstractions, so here’s the first work under discussion: Peter Matthiessen’s masterpiece, At Play in the Fields of the Lord. It’s a novel, highly recommended, about various Americans (and one Spaniard) who have traveled deep into the Amazon jungle, some to convert the fearsome Niaruna tribe to one form or another of Christianity, others to “bomb them to Kingdom come.” If you know the book, please comment. If you don’t check out what others have to say, or offer your take on the current state of things in Bookland, USA. We welcome famous author bashing (and by “we” we mean “me.”)