Friday, December 05, 2008

In Berkeley's Green and Pleasant Land: Stories by Renee Blitz

I found this book through one of those addicting Amazon features. It may have been the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” one. I have to confess I purchased it mostly for the title. I love Berkeley, having been a student there in the 1990s.

The stories in this book are full of strange and interesting conversations, odd characters, and whacky situations. They are just like Berkeley. Everyone is into some kind of new philosophy or attending a weird class. Some characters see psychologists regularly; others go to new age group sessions. I loved each story, although the ending of one with a murder was shocking and seemed to glide along too smoothly for such a disturbing twist. Still, maybe that was the point.

The majority of the characters are women hovering before middle age or having recently crossed that barrier. They struggle with sexuality and relationships with men and women friends. Some are lonely, some are desperate, some are restless, and others try to examine their life experiences while questioning feminism.

I was finishing this book while reading with my mom at a café (she is a book, café, and coffee lover too) and I said to her, “I can’t believe how creative and unusual this book is and I bet few people know about it.” For a moment I felt sad, reflecting on the true innovation and art within these pages and the fact that the book likely has a small readership.

Message to Renee Blitz: You are just awesome! You’ve captured the Berkeley essence here.


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