Tuesday, September 30

Trail of Crumbs

Kim Sunee's memoir, Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home, appeared by chance on my lap.  Kate found it at the Mars Hill Library and passed it on to me.  It's the true story of a young (30-something) woman, born in Korea and abandoned at age three in a market, who is eventually adopted by a New Orleans couple and who, at the time of writing, has ended a domestic relationship with a wealthy Frenchman and is still searching for her true identity and her home.  The book is as captivating as a novel because the author writes so well and has a tale to tell.  Because Kim  or "Keem" --(I call her that because she is so referred to by the people in her life  AND because I can't manage the diacritical marks for her family name) loves to cook, the memoir is also suffused with recipes French, Asian, and New Orleanian.  

    Because there are people in my family who were adopted from other countries at an early age, Kim's story has extra meaning.  We all seek our identity, our place in the world, and for the adopted person there is the extra question of who and why.
  Kim Sunee writes beautifully, for the most part: I could have skipped a few of the more intimate amorous scenes.  But her story is important and engaging, and I recommend this book to everyone.

Saturday, September 27

"Dead rock stars are singin' for me and the boys on the Rivet Line tonight. Hendrix. Morrison. Zeppelin. The Dead Rock Star catalogue churnin' outa Hogjaw's homemade boom box. There's Joplin and Brian Jones and plenty of Lynyrd Skynyrd Dead Rock Stars full of malice and sweet confusion. Tonight and every night they bawl. The Dead Rock Stars yowling at us as we kick out the quota."

This is how Ben Hamper's Rivethead. opens. This is as fine a piece of writing as you'll find anywhere.

Here's another opening (with slight apologies to the writer for not asking) that grabs your ear and imagination right away:

"Like spirits they came, over the hills. They came in pairs, always in pairs.... They still come now, somewhere in the part [of] my mind that takes reality and stores it and replays it. They were light and diaphanous. Each a star, a pair of stars, holding hands."

Good writing's good writing, whether it's Alana Nash's wonderful reviews in Stereo Review during the 70s or Thoreau or LeGuin or wherever.
The title of the story quoted above is "March of the Dead." Check it out. Or ask.