5 Août 2016
Food serves a variety of purposes, only one of which is nutrition. Shared meals strengthen communities, while food restrictions serve to keep groups of people apart. Culinary preferences signal one’s class, ethical stance, or outlook on the world. The foods we eat, and especially the ones we talk about eating, tell others how we understand our bodies: sensitive or resilient, hardworking or overflowing, rebellious or disciplined. In short, food offers ways of telling stories about who we are and where we come from. And bad food does this better than good.
I think they mean "relieved" rather than "relived" in the third paragraph though.
The entire reservation knew about the black man five minutes after he showed up at the crossroads. All the Spokanes thought up reasons to leave work or home so they could drive down to look the stranger over. A small man with very dark skin and huge hands, he wore a brown suit that looked good from a distance but more ragged, frayed at the cuffs, as he came into focus. The black man waved at every Indian that drove by, but nobody had the courage to stop, until Thomas Builds-the-Fire pulled up in his old blue van.
Don't judge a book by its (uber-kitschy) cover!
Part of what drove me to Reservation Blues is the fact that Sherman Alexie spoke so highly of the book I told you about last week: Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko. I thought that if him and I liked the same novel I might enjoy Alexie's writing too. And I was right! Reservation Blues is a great novel, although very different from Ceremony. Both tackle issues like racism, poverty and alcoholism, while introducing an element of magic. However, Reservation Blues does so in a more humorous way. Indeed, even if Alexie is not afraid to showcase the ugliest aspects of life on reservations, he also has a wonderful sense of humor. As a result, the reader alternates between feeling empathy for the characters and laughing at the author's biting humor. And I have to admit: it feels good to read a book that is funny (although Reservation Blues is not just that).
The plot revolves around a band made out of a bunch of misfits who are brought together by a magical guitar. We follow those likable outsiders as they experience their first successes, gain and lose members, quarrel and grow together. It is a quick but very satisfying read by its originality, strength and humanity.