Saturday, November 28, 2015

probably not first

The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood has a track record of creating vast, deep and fully realized worlds, particularly in her eerily dystopian novels. She falls a little short in The Heart Goes Last, though.

The story is based on a compelling premise: a secure walled community thriving in a post-apocalyptic world, where every inhabitant is guaranteed a comfortable existence and full employment. For six months of the year. For the other six months, they swap places with their counterparts in the community's prison and become the inmates.

Stu and Charmaine have been living in their car since losing their house in the global economic collapse, trying increasingly desperately to scratch out a living. They are understandably thrilled to be invited to join the community, until they start to realize the insidious secrets that lie behind its success.

The Heart Goes Last doesn't quite work for me, because it seems to go for flippancy over depth, and because, frankly, I didn't really like Stu and Charmaine very much. I don't always have to be best buddies with a character in order to enjoy their importance in a book, but in Stu and Charmaine's case, they are also not terribly bright. And while I appreciate how challenging it must have been for Atwood to write using voices of dim and rather shallow characters, it made me long to spend time with some of Atwood's more thoughtful literary characters. 

The Heart Goes Last is an entertaining read, but not necessarily one that would give someone new to the Atwood-osphere a good sense of master storyteller's true brilliance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

qujannamiik very much, music



Have a seat, take a load off, get comfy and indulge in a little clickety-clicking. Come along to Canada's far north, via my latest National Music Centre article, a Canadian Bands You Should Know feature on the high-octane Iqaluit band, The Jerry Cans. They'll have you singing, clapping, air fiddling, foot stomping and throat singing along.

Guaranteed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

around the clock







Morning becomes electric.





By afternoon, snow bunnies recline on branches.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

winter coat

One minute, all the rabbits are two-toned and the next, it's winter.

No complaints are allowed, though, because we had an actual Autumn this year, i.e. longer than ten days. The shoulder seasons are very brief, here in the high plains desert, so I celebrate those years when they do linger.

I've actually been enjoying the after-dinner walks to pick up the mail, now that our flyers and bills are delivered to a community mailbox. My walks have been getting progressively longer, since the early darkness allows me to gawk into my neighbours' houses. That never gets old.

I expect the mail-fetching will get tiresome, however, once the sidewalks ice up and I start walking like a penguin, butt cheeks clenched to avoid slipping and pulling a hamstring. Everybody knows it's the gateway injury to falling and breaking a hip. 

Because just like that, you are old.