Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Is it Cholera, Love, a Dog or a Bear? (Crooked Tree Part 1)

I never expected to like this book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Romance isn't my favorite genre, but I was very wrong about this one. There's no sloppy sentimentality here, rather a powerful story of the effects of sincere, but tortured love.

Florentine and Fermina fall in love in their youth, but she is forced into an arranged marriage. The unlikely hero rejects her rejection, and pines for Fermina for fifty yeas. The symptoms of his sickness mimic those of cholera. While he waits and dreams of being united with Fermina, Florentine clumsily occupies his time with a string of colorful women, and unfulfilling trysts. He is quirky, sardonic, and oddly enough, both pathetic and sympathetic.

The book goes far beyond the story,however. It is a skilled examination of the many forms of love - love of convenience, love of self, unrequited , heart-breaking , dangerous, and platonic loves....lust, adultery, and of course, perfect and passionate,love.

The translation from the original Spanish is smooth, and adeptly captures the nuances and style elements so characteristic of this culture's writings.
I also cruised through The Dog who Loved Cheerios and other Tales of Excess. This is a book of little, one page dog biographies! There's Basil, whose favorite word is "braunschweiger," Arlo, the old English sheep dog who sees a doggy psychiatrist because everything frightens him, and Maddie, whom the author dubbs "most ubiquitous."
Each of the charming little essays is accompanied by a portrait of the featured persona. If you have a dog, or if you know a dog, you will relate to the pups' funny habits. If you don't have a dog...well, not to insult anyone here, but I think I know some humans with similar, engaging traits.
Pogo, the handsome fellow on the cover, runs. He runs year round and even joined a team of mountain bikers that he now considers his pack. You could say that Pogo is a true "lap" dog!
Between life stuff, I am still working on Crooked Tree, by Robert C. Wilson, the book set to be the next Johnny Depp movie project. Tension is building with what appears to be a warning hit on the home of a lawyer working to prevent big-city developers from encroaching on Indian territory in Michigan. No doubt this plot will eventually come together with the missing/dead lawyer, and bear attack plots. This morning, two young teachers packed up and headed out for a camping trip near Crooked Tree. I suspect they're goners! The author's pacing is slow and heavy, resulting in lots of drama.
I'll post some pictures from Jean Feraca's visit this past Sunday as soon as I find the cable for my camera!