Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Contents May Have Shifted"

Pam Houston divides her time between her ranch in Colorado and the University of California at Davis, where she is director of the Creative Writing Program. She has been a frequent contributor to O, The Oprah Magazine, and her writing appears regularly in More and other publications. She in the author of the best-selling Cowboys Are My Weakness.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Contents May Have Shifted, and reported the following:
The first full sentence on page 69 is this:

“Any one of those bears could have eaten two of us in the time it took the third one to dig the gun out.”

The “out” here refers to out of the boat box, in a sixteen foot inflatable, on the Tatshenshini River in Alaska, where the gun is buried under ten pounds of rice, seven zip locks of instant mashed potatoes, six types of tea, five rolls of toilet paper and any number of wilderness first aid supplies.

I like this sentence for the rough and tumble nature of it. The way it proves that even though I am addressing some fairly heady questions in this book, like what it is to look for faith in a faithless age, and what is the definition of a satisfying life, and what it means to have lived on the planet half a century, and even though this book travels to places as unlike the North American wilderness as Luang Prabang, Laos, and Istanbul, Turkey, I am still really at heart a girl who wants to write about guns, rivers, Alaska and grizzly bears.
Learn more about the book and author at Pam Houston's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Pam Houston and Fenton Johnson.

--Marshal Zeringue