Sunday, April 28, 2024

What Holds Up

Art is a fickle mistress. A film, piece of music, a novel or a poem may move us to tears at one point in our life and leave us cold ten years later. I’m thinking of the drum solo from Inna Godda Da Vida, for example. The work stays frozen in time, but we change and it speaks to us in different ways. 


That can happen in the other direction as well. I heard about Charlie Parker in college and knew I was supposed to be in awe of his music, but frankly, I didn’t get it the first few years I listened. Once I understood the complexity of his artistry, now seen through the lens of my own emerging understanding of jazz and how it works, I could finally appreciate his genius.


And so, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams. I read it back in the early 90’s soon after it was published, then just finished listening to it on Audible and went out to buy a used copy because there were quotes I wanted to remember. (I’m sure I had it on my shelves alongside the other B. Kingsolver’s novels I’ve enjoyed, but must have leant it someone who never returned it.). 


At any rate, it held up. Big time. Memorable characters, engaging plot and a beautiful tightrope walk between political revelation and spiritual values. 


If this was my 5th grade book report, I most certainly would end with “I recommend you read this book!” More to come.

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