Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Sunday Salon - Sleepy Sunday

It's been a busy weekend on the whole--reading and extracurricular gardening goodies. Yesterday we spent several hours planting flowers in our beds and around our koi pond, as well as repotting the water plants from our koi pond and adding additional marginal and oxygenating plants to the mix. In total, we have two water lilies, a bloody dock (green with red veins, looks like a turnip plant), water violets, a water palm, an iris, and some sweet flag grass. I can't wait until they fill out a bit.

But you want to know about the reading, I know you do. I'm about 75 pages into The Sorrows of an American (Siri Hustvedt), and I just love it. I would say, so far, it's a little lower key than most of Hustvedt's other stuff, but there's still the old staples. Lots of pyschology (the main character is a psychiatrist), lots of art, lots of writers, and multiple mysteries beginning to unfurl. It's a hard book to describe, really. There are several plotlines that all intersect and revolve around each other.

The main character, Erik Davidsen, is reading his father's journal, written on and off throughout his life and in large chunks before his death. There's also the plight of Erik's tenants in the garden apartment portion of his Brooklyn home: Miranda and her daughter Eglantine are seemingly being stalked by a person that leaves photos of the two (and Erik) outside of the house. Then there's Erik's sister, Inga, a psychologically fragile woman of great intellect, juggling a relationship with her daughter Sonia whose experience seeing 9/11 unfold from her school classroom has left lasting effects. In addition, there's a thread about Inga's dead husband, Max, a celebrity writer and the mysterious reporter that keeps trying to dredge up his past. Also, a mystery involving the siblings' father and a cryptic message about a woman named Lisa and the "bad thing" they encountered together as children.

It sort of makes my head spin on the whole, but it's so wonderfully woven, I can hardly make myself put the book down. Each story informs the others, and I feel a bit like the characters. With so many threads and thoughts and worries swimming around them, one longs for a cohesive, whole experience.

So far I don't know if this one will be able to surpass my out of control love and obsession for What I Loved, but it could very well give it a run for its money.


  1. Your garden and koi pond sound so lovely. I wish you could come here and do the same for me. :-)

    Your impressions of The Sorrows of an American sure make it enticing. I love books that have interwoven threads and complex storylines. They make for interesting reading.

    I hope you have a good week.

  2. Wow, what a coincidence, I just added this book to my wishlist today. Now I'll have to add What I Loved, too.

  3. I just went plant shopping, today. Your koi pond sounds marvelous. Such fun planting new things, isn't it? I'm going to do some dirt-moving in preparation for planting, tomorrow. I can't wait. I was afraid I was going to totally bypass planting season and I'm excited not to have missed out. Have fun!

    Psst, the book sounds great, too. I've still got What I Loved waiting.

  4. This sounds wonderful - I'll be looking out for it, for sure.

  5. Gardens are almost as much fun as books. Almost.

  6. mmmm... sounds like typical Hustvedt fare. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it once you've finished but it sounds pretty good so far.

  7. I wish I had a fish pond. When I was little I loved visiting my grandpa's house because he had a big pond with turtles and everything. It was great fun until I discovered the hard way that the turtles were snapping turtles. Owie.

  8. Sounds like you spent a wonderful sunday. You should post some pictures of your garden - sounds lovely!
    I ran around all Saturday and Sunday I was a total bum. Didn't do anything! Ah well, sometimes being lazy is a good thing. Can't wait to hear more of Sorrows of an American.

  9. I just wish it was warm enough to get out into the garden here. I'm glad you're enjoying the Hustvedt, I have it on order from the library.

  10. yayy, we did yard work/gardening this weekend but yours was a lot more successful! We ended up getting rained out! Happy Monday

  11. Thanks, Wendy! I swear, B and I nearly killed each other (and several others in the neighborhood) when we put the pond in (twice). Otherwise, I would be thrilled and excited to put one in for you. lol As for The Sorrows of an American, if you like twisty and interwoven, this is THE book for you. It just keeps getting more complicated, and I might make a character list soon. But it's SO WORTH IT.

    Dewey, read What I Loved first. It's the best. But this one is good, too. And read The Blindfold! It's quick and astounding.

    Nancy, the koi pond is somewhat lovely now, but it'll be AWESOME lovely when some of these plants grow up a bit. Good luck with your dirt moving and planting!

    Definitely keep an eye out, Litlove!

    Right on, Stu.

    I'll keep ya posted, Nat!

    OUCH, Nik! That makes me hurt just thinking about it. Our pond is somewhat smaller than it used to be. Our old one was probably 600-700 gallons, while this one is just 125. :(

    Iliana, flower pics are forthcoming! Maybe this afternoon if Daisy isn't too crazy. :)

    I hope you enjoy the Hustvedt too, Ann! Let me know. :)

    Awww, sorry to hear you got rained out, Funky! I hope y'all made some headway before the flood.


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