Ashland & Vine

Ashland & Vine[Epub] ❥ Ashland & Vine By John Burnside – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk It is Kate Lambert, a grieving, semi alcoholic film student, invites an elderly woman to take part in an oral history documentary The woman, Jean Culver, declines, but makes her a bizarre counter off It isKate Lambert, a grieving, semi alcoholic film student, invites an elderly woman to take part in an oral history documentary The woman, Jean Culver, declines, but makes her a bizarre counter offer if Kate can stay sober for four days, she will tell her a story And if she can stay sober beyond that, there will be another, and then another, amounting to the entire history Ashland & Epub / of one family s lifeThough still shattered by the death of her father, and by the desultory abuse imposed by Laurits, her enigmatic collaborator and erstwhile lover Kate is soon drawn into a Scheherazade like matrix of tales, some painfully final, some still unfinished, in which Jean gradually offers a heartbreaking account, not only of one family, but of the American century itself, from World War II to Vietnam and the Weather UndergroundA profound, mysterious, deeply moving novel a meeting of love and grief, like water on arid soil Ashland Vine is the story of an unlikely friendship that transcends time, age and the limits of narrative to reveal the unexpected grace that comes of listening to another s history, while telling, as carefully as we can, what we know of our own. 4.5 Possibly the best place for an uninitiated Burnside reader to start Beautifully done, if at times slightly contrived. A dilapidated white clapboard house is almost completely obscured by vines, tree branches and hydrangeas, but a perky American flag pokes out from the confusion to crown a railing lined with Christmas lights I spotted this one in Blackwell s, Oxford and requested it from the library on the strength of the cover without even taking in the somewhat nebulous description on the jacket.Essentially, it s about the American story, and individual American stories, and how these are constructed out of A dilapidated white clapboard house is almost completely obscured by vines, tree branches and hydrangeas, but a perky American flag pokes out from the confusion to crown a railing lined with Christmas lights I spotted this one in Blackwell s, Oxford and requested it from the library on the strength of the cover without even taking in the somewhat nebulous description on the jacket.Essentially, it s about the American story, and individual American stories, and how these are constructed out of the chaos and violence of the past It s all filtered through a random friendship that forms between a film student and an older woman in what appears to be Illinois The day I meant Jean Culver was also the day I stopped drinking, Kate Lambert begins Kate s boyfriend Laurits, who directs short films and pretends to be Estonian, sends her out to find participants for a oral history documentary project he s vaguely considering She s at the end of Audubon Road when she spots a driveway that s not on the map and finds an elderly woman chopping wood outside her home Jean invites Kate in for tea and promises to tell her all her stories if she can stay sober for the next five days.So there s a Scheherazade type setup here whereby Jean spins out her storytelling to save not her own life but Kate s She tells of her doomed relationship with Lee, her business partner in a plant nursery she traces the subversive family element that passed from her brother, a spy, to her niece, a radical activist, and her nephew, a Vietnam war deserter both of whom managed to completely disappear.All these stories, but to what end I thought at first that this would be one of those novels where nothing really happens, but that s not quite true Jane and Kate both have bereavements in their past the title is the site of one such violent loss but they also face present crises I d read one memoir and one collection of poetry by Burnside before and hadn t been hugely impressed, but this novel captivated me from the first It struck me as quite profound on the subject of constructing personal and national narratives and the philosophy of acting as if Als Ob, via Hans Vaihinger life is meaningful A good novel has the ability to envelop its readers in its setting and environment so fully that it feels as though we have been psychologically and physically pulled inside to linger among the pages When I finished Ashland Vine, I not only had a well developed image of Kate sitting in Jean s kitchen on a snowy day, but I could almost smell the exotic tea and the fried apple pie Even though I am fairly new albeit fiercely devoted to Burnside s work, I knew that this novel would be differen A good novel has the ability to envelop its readers in its setting and environment so fully that it feels as though we have been psychologically and physically pulled inside to linger among the pages When I finished Ashland Vine, I not only had a well developed image of Kate sitting in Jean s kitchen on a snowy day, but I could almost smell the exotic tea and the fried apple pie Even though I am fairly new albeit fiercely devoted to Burnside s work, I knew that this novel would be different from his others In retrospect, I m ashamed for treading lightly around something that I knew would be different from that which feels familiar and which is characteristically Burnside Ashland Vine is not eerie, atmospheric, chilling, or disturbing in the way that The Dumb House or The Glister are, but perhaps it shouldn t be compared to them at all this is a new animal, even though the familiar Burnside inevitably trickles through By then, because I was feeling better, I thought all I had to do was stop drinking Stay hidden for a while, then go back out into a world that wasn t just a story told by an old woman whose motives for sharing these stories and for sharing them with me, of all people, I was no closer to understanding than I had ever been If she was really trying to cure me, I couldn t see why Who was I to her Who was I to anyone Or was that the whole point I was nobody and so a perfect choice Jean Cu By then, because I was feeling better, I thought all I had to do was stop drinking Stay hidden for a while, then go back out into a world that wasn t just a story told by an old woman whose motives for sharing these stories and for sharing them with me, of all people, I was no closer to understanding than I had ever been If she was really trying to cure me, I couldn t see why Who was I to her Who was I to anyone Or was that the whole point I was nobody and so a perfect choice Jean Culver could tell her stories and not feel like she was just talking to herself The book is written in the first person by Kate, until recently a poetry student a particular fan of Emily Dickinson but who grieving, following the death of her father who had bought her up as a single parent and the subsequent loss of her house, restarts as a film studies student at a creative arts college figuring that To someone in my precarious mental state, the study of poetry was probably too dangerous anyway I was already a movie nerd, so why not use that There she met and moved in with Laurits, a PhD and lecturer at the college, who claims to be Estonian and makes arty films, or rather He wasn t a film maker he was an anthropologist Film makers tell stories, even if they try not to, but he wasn t interested in stories For Laurits, a story was just the strings on which the real pearls were threaded What he wanted was atmosphere, texture, weather When people tell stories, he would say, they lie about what happened, but they don t tell lies about these other things or not deliberately at least The two have an odd relationship and Kate becomes a semi alcoholic The book starts when Kate, on a project for Laurits to record oral documentaries, visits a mysterious house one we are told frequently was not on any map and meets there an elderly lady Jean, to whom she is immediately attracted I did follow her into the house though and maybe the reason I did was the sense I was beginning to form an intuition I guess, since I had nothing to base it on that this woman was different from anybody else I had ever known She was someone who had made peace with the world on her own terms, someone who had stopped caring about minor things to concentrate on what really mattered Jean offers to tell her a story provided Kate stays sober for 5 days, an offer Kate accepts, and thereafter she visits Jean frequently and the two grow closer together while Kate, Schedherazade style, tells a series of partial stories about her life and family particularly her father, brother, nephew and niece and her fellow business partner in her florist and gardening business, Lee the only real love of her life Jean offers Kate some form of space to process her own feelings, and effectively a new beginning to her life, while Kate we understands ends up as some form of receptacle for secrets that Jean has hidden all her life.Burnside is clearly a very talented writer, for example in trying to explain her alienation from the world of conventional marriage and children and trying to explain her lasting disillusionment that both her business partner and brother compromised and embraced that world , Jean tells Kate I can t help feeling that marriage is an absurd attempt at mutual no communal deception To me, it s like a vaudeville horse, two people joined together at an awkward angle, trying to pretend they are one and everyone pretending the illusion is a total success That s what la vie commune means to me a great big game of Let s pretend, where everybody gets to play their part Everybody but me Some of the book s observations are contradictory but we can only assume deliberately so, such as when Kate observes The look the two women gave me wasappraising They were the kind of people who judged others and decided quickly, based on appearances what they would think of them forever after I never knew what to look for Burnside is also very learned the book is peppered with an eclectic set of cultural references classic films, poetry, literature, quotations and descriptions of modern art and film.However the central premise of the book is strange, many of the stories are effectively, to the reader, Kate s complete retelling despite not taking any notes of Jean s recollection of conversations and situations many decades previously which she did not witness but where she captures detailed dialogue The book also seems an attempt to cram in chunks of American history undercover operations in World War II France, Soviet spying, atrocities in Vietnam, the Weather Underground movement I was left wondering is this book would have been better written as a short story collection.The book also reads very naturally to an English reader despite the first party narrator s thoughts and all the dialogue being between Americans, so that the very failure of the book to strike an odd note to the reader, strikes an odd note itself and with the points above means that the reader is left feeling at times that Jean and Kate are simply devices for the writer to address the reader directly.Perhaps overall though this is a book about stories and narratives, about the stories people tell themselves to make sense of their life going forwards, and about the stories they tell others to atone for their past deeds, and how such a story needs not just a teller but just as crucially a listener A simple premise often makes for the most original of stories in this instance Burnside puts together a young alcoholic film student Kate with an elusive elderly woman Jean , the latter of which promises to share her story with the former if she stays sober.As other reviewers have mentioned, this premise has the potential to stray into cliche, but in Burnside s capable hands this never happens I was sucked into the story like Kate was by Jean s, and I look forward to readingof Burnsi A simple premise often makes for the most original of stories in this instance Burnside puts together a young alcoholic film student Kate with an elusive elderly woman Jean , the latter of which promises to share her story with the former if she stays sober.As other reviewers have mentioned, this premise has the potential to stray into cliche, but in Burnside s capable hands this never happens I was sucked into the story like Kate was by Jean s, and I look forward to readingof Burnside s work Some authors are Writers they are able to sweep us off the floor with their knowledge and ability to make us think Some authors are Storytellers they might not blow your mind with their terminology and intelligence, but instead make you feel This book is a story about stories and John Burnside is a Master Storyteller The way he is able to connect the characters to each other and make them relatable to us is extraordinary From the first page, I was hooked and wanted to knowabout Kate Some authors are Writers they are able to sweep us off the floor with their knowledge and ability to make us think Some authors are Storytellers they might not blow your mind with their terminology and intelligence, but instead make you feel This book is a story about stories and John Burnside is a Master Storyteller The way he is able to connect the characters to each other and make them relatable to us is extraordinary From the first page, I was hooked and wanted to knowabout Kate and Jean Kate, a filmstudent, has lost her way and is grieving, though she is total denial about it Jean has lost about every single person in her life but still remains so kind and open towards others The way Jean exchanges her story with Kate is lovely I love hearing stories about other people, especially a story within a story Jean tells her life to Kate, and in return, Kate gives a unexpectant friendship to Jean These two women build on each other and they are able to give strength to one another, even though neither realise it until the end What happened on Ashland and Vine is where our story really begins It brings us a little history of the United States and even though we know the big lines of it, a person s perspective is always different There is a line in the book that really resonated with me they are our history and it s important that we remember them as they were, and not as the entertainment industry would like us to p 182 I only know the big events through the entertainment industry, schooling and documentaries, but it is always different when you think about them in terms of human lives I want to spendtime in Jean s kitchen and drinking her self made tea and biscuits I want to give Kate a hug I want them to become a part of my little family Luckily, as is goes with books, they already became family as soon as I started reading Highly recommend DNFed around page 150.I really enjoyed the beginning of this book Some of the writing is beautiful But there are two things that prevented me from fully investing in this book, and have made me want to put it down unfinished.Firstly, this book is very dialogue heavy That s not necessarily a bad thing, but the dialogue doesn t feel real or believable The unnatural feeling dialogue is only accentuated by how much of it there is.This leads into my second issue This is a novel that takes place DNFed around page 150.I really enjoyed the beginning of this book Some of the writing is beautiful But there are two things that prevented me from fully investing in this book, and have made me want to put it down unfinished.Firstly, this book is very dialogue heavy That s not necessarily a bad thing, but the dialogue doesn t feel real or believable The unnatural feeling dialogue is only accentuated by how much of it there is.This leads into my second issue This is a novel that takes place in America and has American characters There s nothing wrong with a British person writing a book about Americans However, I feel like this should have been read and edited by at least one American before hitting the presses The characters do not sound American They use turns of phrase that I have never heard in conversation, or are slightly off from how they would be used in conversation You cannot tell me that these characters were born and raised in the States The inaccuracies, again, were accentuated by the amount of dialogue in the novel I can see how one unfamiliar with American speech and turns of phase may be able to believe these characters to be American, but I cannot They speak so strangely that I spenttime being distracted by the unnatural sounding speech than investing in the story I could finish this, but I am choosing to not I just can t muster up the energy to continue reading this book I can t remember much of what happened up to this halfway point but it doesn t promise enough to keep me going. What a master storyteller Burnside is I really enjoyed reading this novel I did not expect that ending, but it was great Definately five stars

Ashland & Vine PDF Ý Ashland &  Epub /
  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • Ashland & Vine
  • John Burnside
  • 20 January 2019
  • 022409386X