Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weather or Not

This grey weather is actually even getting to me. I am the type of person who hates to talk about the weather, especially when I hear people complain about it. The weather is the weather is the weather —we can’t change it no matter how much we talk about it. I guess I have two reason to feel this way. 1. I grew up in New Brunswick, so people who complain about Halifax’s winter are wimps in my mind and 2. my brother was a meteorologist in the Canadian Forces. So all this talk about the miserable spring we are having has me thinking about fiction books that are weather related. I hope that there may be one or two (or more) that you may enjoy.

Sunetra Gupta has been called the young, true heir to Virginia Woolf and in her debut novel, Memories of Rain she sets out to prove it. Anthony, an Englishman, travels to Calcutta to study where he meets Moni, a beautiful Indian girl. The exotic differences between the couple draws them together. But after ten years of marriage and moving back to England “the intoxication of their tropical lust just wears off”. Anthony is now drawn to an English rose of a woman; one that is more attuned to the English manners and ways of seeing things. The differences between the gentle drizzle of England versus the Monsoons of Calcutta is only one difference that marks the separation of the couple. Can the two cultures truly put aside their differences for a happy relationship or the longing of home and what is familiar be a stronger pull and pull them apart.

I read The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz a number of years ago and I still recommend it. I must admit that I initially picked it up due to the cover and the title. Beth Weeks is a teenager living on an isolated British Columbia farm during WWII. The family dynamics radically changes when her father survives being attacked by a bear. Jon Weeks, a once gentle man, changes into an aggressive and paranoid brute. His behavior changes both the community's and his family’s view of him. Beth becomes a target both at school and at home. Her mother’s solution to the problems is to withdraw into herself by having talks with her dead mother. If this isn’t tragic enough Beth is brutally raped by her father. How does Beth survive in this brutal world? I promise you that you won’t regret reading the novel to find out.

With a main character, Serge A Storms, how can anyone not enjoy Tim Dorsey’s 9th novel, Hurricane Punch. Dorsey does not fail to deliver his usual satire with slapstick and mayhem. Storms is rambling across Florida with his best friend Coleman, chasing hurricanes and killing people; but only those who deserve it, like those who won’t turn their car stereos down! You will have to read the novel to find out the laugh-out-loud genius way that Storms commits this act. More mischief ensues when another serial killer is competing with Storms to become "Most Wanted". The Serge Storms series are like potato chips; once you have had one you will be reaching for more!

The Canadian classic Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell is next on my list. While I can dare say many of us have heard the title but I really wonder how many have read it. Well, it is a classic for a reason and stands the test of time. First published in 1947, this book has sold almost a million copies in Canada alone. We first met Brian O’Connal as a four year old growing up on the Prairies. As we watch him grow, Brian presents us with a wonderful innocent quality of a youth in search of the meaning of life, love and everything. This book is a delight and will be a surprise for those who never quite got around to reading it. As the Globe and Mail states it is “One of the finest Canadians novels ever written.”

So whether or not you are enjoying this spring like weather at least there are some books that will help you through the dreary days.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this timely post.

    I am currently reading Galveston by Paul Quarrington, which is less about our current constant grey and more about the extreme weather being experienced elsewhere. Although only half way through, I can recommend this book which is comic and tragic and explores how " fate can be affected by a change in the wind".

    This was a Giller prize finalist and a Globe and Mail best book by a Govenor General Award winning author.