Sunday, July 10, 2011
To Be Sung Underwater, Karma, & The Heart of Haiku
This book seemed to take forever to read but I liked it. It's a slow book just like the cover...like paddling lazily across a pond. It alternates back and forth between Judith Toomey's present as a dissatisfied mom, wife, and film editor to her past when she was eighteen, starry-eyed, and in love with Willy Blunt.
Tom McNeal takes his time developing his characters and writes beautifully. How many of us wish we could go back to our first loves? This book does that with surprising results.
I read two other books while in the middle of To Be Sung Underwater. I woke up in the middle of the night about four days ago and couldn't get back to sleep so I grabbed my iPad which was nearby and went to NPR to read their Arts and Literature news. There was an article about YA fiction and Karma was mentioned. It caught my attention because it's written in poetry form. So, I downloaded it right then and there and started reading. I was hooked.
Jiva Singh is part Hindu and part Sikh and lives in Canada with her parents where she's as typical as any teenager from India can be. After her mother's death, she and her father head back to India to take her ashes. While they are there, Indira Gandhi is killed and Jiva and her father get caught up in the turmoil that erupts. Somehow they get separated and Jiva is left to fend for herself.
After a horrifying incident, she is taken in by her doctor's family and their teenage son, Sandeep, helps her look for her father.
Jiva's voice is fresh and unique and the poetry is just amazing in its simplicity. Sometimes, it took my breath away! At first I was a little turned off by the title and the look of the cover but I'm so glad I gave it a try, anyway.
This is one of those Kindle Singles that are really just mini books. I bought one before because it was by Jodi Picoult and I love her writing but it was just too short...like a tease, so decided I wouldn't buy any more of them. This one caught my eye, though. Poetry? Of course I'm going to buy it!
And I'm glad I did. Jane Hirshfield writes about the most famous haiku writer, Basho. She tells the story of his life and the story of haiku and weaves them together. By the time I was done, I wanted to grab a pencil and write one, myself. It was definitely worth the ninety-nine cents!
Time to start a new book, now. Decisions, decisions!
The sun is shining and we're heading out for a motorcycle ride later with some friends. We're going to bike down the coast a ways to Flo's Hot dogs in Ogunquit, Maine for lunch. This place sells only hot dogs but what makes them so good is their secret recipe for relish. Mmmm, haven't had one for a couple years. I'm due!
But, until then, I think I'll take advantage of the quiet and read for awhile.