Monday, 4 January 2010

Feasts for the Senses - Reading and Listening

Enjoyed reading Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson recently (Bloomsbury).  Saw the film a few years back and liked it well enough, but only just got round to reading the actual novel - shame on me.  Set in the Pacific north-west of America, against the backdrop of a dramatic winter storm and the tension of a murder trial, Guterson uses Third Person Omniscient (rather than the more familiar Third Person Limited) to create a large cast of wonderful characters and to tell a broad range of overlapping stories.  While these ultimately return to the death of Carl Heine and the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, each is a wonderful and significant story in itself.

The description is rich and evocative - immensely satisfying:

Ishmael's mother had the woodstove in the kitchen going - he could see the smoke rising thick from the chimney, a ghostly white against the hard-falling snow - and was standing at the sink in her overcoat and scarf when Ishmael passed in front of her window carrying his can of kerosene.  A fog of condensation had formed on the inside of the pane, so that her image appeared to him as a kind of silhouette, a vague impression of his mother at the sink, refracted and fragmented, a wash of colour.  As he passed by, peering through the window mist and snowfall, he saw her hand work with sudden clarity to wipe a circle of the pane dry, and then her eye met his and she waved.  Ishmael held up the can of kerosene, still moving steadily toward the kitchen door.  His mother had shovelled clear a path to the woodshed, but the snowfall was already covering it.  Her shovel stood propped against the fence railing.

I've also enjoyed listening to a fair bit of C.W. Stoneking, Charlie Parr and Sarah Blasko recently.  C.W. Stoneking, a contemporary Australian blues musician with an American heritage, creates a wonderful retro blues sound and performs the role with panache.  Here's an extract from Jungle Blues, followed by his cover of White Stripes' Seven Nation Army, recorded for Triple J.  Great fun - the band has an absolute ball - have a look at these in Full Screen.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Indeed, Annett: wonderful reading, wonderful listening.