Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Pumpkin! Only animals and starving humans eat squash!"

"I ate enough of it in my village! I didnt come to America to eat animal food!"

okay, so this quote from Andreas, a character, in The Time of the Little Black Bird may not have all that much to do with the whole plot or theme of the novel, but i just had to toss it in here because, as anyone who knows me can attest, I SO DO NOT LIKE SQUASH, (a whole bunch of bad childhood memories go along with that one too that i shan't get into here) of any kind, shape or form~so the patriarch of this little fictional greek immigrant family gave me some validation as he tossed his thanksgiving pumpkin pie aside (and his little grandson did the same in immitation).
But perhaps that really is the point, or at least some of it, because with The Time of the Little Black Bird, Helen Papanikolas is writing about cultural and family traditions and the duty that indidviduals and generations have to uphold those traditions as well as the duty that they have to one another. The novel spans almost a century in the life of the Kallos family in Salt Lake City, Utah~from 1913 to 1998 (now you may think there were only Mormon pioneers in Utah but you would be wrong~the miners were there first~and there IS a strong Greek population~Salt Lake City is living in the shadow of its own Mount Olympus after all).This novel had a rather slow start for me, but after i got into it i did feel a real connection with the characters and i felt sorry to see them go. You cannot feel betrayed if you did not trust to begin with, and close to the end "They talked about how things were once: how things were now, and mostly how they used to be better long ago." Hopefully that will mean more to you only after reading the book (it isn't great to only live in the past after all~we should all look forward to tomorrow...)

No comments: