I adored Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres. It was one of the books that made my epic Andrea Reads America reading project worth the effort. I don’t think I would have discovered her book without actively seeking books set in Iowa, and I am very happy I found it.
Somewhere recently, I read someone writing about The Greenlanders. I love books set in cold places. The Shipping News in Newfoundland, The Snow Child in Alaska, Winter’s Bone in Missouri, and The Tricking of Freya in Iceland are some of my favorite novels. I didn’t realize until I looked it up that The Greenlanders is written by Jane Smiley, and I got very excited.
Then I opened the book and saw a huge long list of character names with descriptions of how they fit into the story. That’s never a good sign for me. It doesn’t help that the novel is a long one, either. It’s no War and Peace, but it is more than 600 pages.
After the first 50 or so pages, I shelved the book. I was bored and couldn’t keep up with all the people and places. I looked for other novels. I started and stopped a few. After a couple of days of trying other books, I kept wanting the landscape and ice and fjords of The Greenlanders. So I opened it up again.
I’m restless because I’m still not sure yet if I like it. I’ve noticed when I’m restless in the book I’m reading, I’m also restless in my life. I’m constantly looking for the next thing to do, or wanting things I can’t have (like spring) when the book I’m reading hasn’t hooked me.
It’s strange to think that books would be my anchor, rather than, say, reality. I’m hoping I’ll settle into this one soon. I’ve still got six weeks until spring, and I don’t know if I can stand to be this fidgety for that long.