Once again thanks to everyone who at least attempted to take on the behemoth that is House of Leaves and subsequently came out to talk about it last night. We could’ve never predicted that Danielewski would draw an unprecendented 23 genre Xers – and on a snowy night too! Clearly everyone has something to say about postmodernism (and it isn’t always pretty)!
Since many of you referred to the act of reading House of Leaves as work, February’s selection should come as refreshing change. Drop City by T.C. Boyle serves up an entertaining look into a hippie commune. Here is the Amazon.com review:
With Drop City, T. Coraghessan Boyle offers proof that he has become one of America’s most prolific, gifted storytellers. Set in the 1970s, Boyle entertains readers with the denizens of “Drop City,” a counterculture California commune that welcomes anyone wanting to live off the grid, use drugs, and practice free love. Boyle sublimely captures the sociology of its rebellious members, who doubt the sincerity or beliefs of newcomers, express some insecurity about nonconformity, and chastise outsiders while remaining oblivious to their own hypocrisy. Marco, Pan, Star, and other “cats” and “chicks” live hassle-free until dissention and cries of racism mount amid increasing run-ins with the local government (a young girl is raped, installation of a sewage system is mandated, a mother lets her toddlers drink LSD-laced juice). Seeking refuge, the citizens move north, to Alaska, to reinvent their utopia, but soon learn the natural environment is more unforgiving of a lackadaisical lifestyle.
Drop City is funny, evocative, and well-paced, shifting between the hippies and the Alaskan locals–primarily Sess and his new bride Pamela (a city dweller who arranged stays with several trappers over a few weeks to determine whom she would marry)–until the two cultures collide. Balanced between plot and character, Boyle excels at describing the physical world and his characters’ interaction with it, whether portraying the harshness (or sheer beauty) of the Alaskan wilderness, the simple survival routines of its grizzled inhabitants, or the sounds wafting through Drop City: “the goats bleating to be milked or fed, the single sharp ringing note of a dog surprised by its own hunger, the regular slap of the screen door at the back of the house–and underneath it all, like the soundtrack to a movie, the dull hum of rock and roll leaking out the kitchen windows.” Truly American in spirit, Drop City is a strong novel of freedom and those in pursuit of lives of liberty. –Michael Ferch
I hope we see just as many of you at our next discussion on Tuesday, February 24 at 8pm at Molly Malone’s (The Snug) in Forest Park! Remember, if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, stop by the Oak Park Public Library’s Main Library second floor Adult and Teen Services desk with your OPPL library card to grab one.