Thursday, February 05, 2004

History's Stories 

I have a new project.

I miss school. I miss learning. I miss structured learning. I just started a non-credit class reading Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War. I’m really excited. This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and now I have a structure that will force me to actually do it.

I’ll let you know what I think.


I read To the White Sea by James Dickey, the same man who wrote Deliverance. Amazing. Brief summary: an American WWII gunner named Muldrow is shot down and lands in Tokyo. Amidst the chaos of the US firebombing of Tokyo in 1944, he makes his way up North, hoping to find his way back to his home Alaska.

I am amazed how much I could get into a book with a single character. Other people drift in and out, but they rarely last more than a page.

I am constantly amazed by Dickey's use of terrain as a character. Sometimes the terrain fights Muldrow, somethings hides him, sometimes shelters him in beautiful places where Muldrow can feel more happiness than he claims he ever has before.

At the same time, the book is very brutal. Muldrow is completely amoral in his drive to get home. He kills for necessity, and he kills easily. He is too driven to get home to his cold Alaska, he rarely thinks twice of the men he shoots for their clothes, the woman he drowns, and the others.

Read it. If you can stand the blood and the brutality, there is so much beauty in this book, so much understanding of humanity.

"...when he said something like, God is everywhere there is, God is in this snow, I should've come back at him and said, No, the snow is in the snow." -- Muldrow narrates, speaking of a monk he had met. Dickey is insightful and understands the wild and the men who are drawn to it. Even I can feel that draw, and I'm female.

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