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Month in review

Reviews
Bad Babysitter by Jennifer L. Holm
Beyond Auto Mode by Jennifer Bebb
The Book Fair From the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
Bookmarked For Death by Lorna Barrett
The Broken Lands by Kate Milford
Cadillac Couches by Sophie B. Watson
Cleopatra in Space: Secret of the Time Tablets by Mike Maihack
A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle
D4VE by Ryan Ferrier
Giant Days, Volume 5 by John Allison
Knight's Castle by Edward Eager
Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding
The Locksmith issue 3 by Terrance Grace
Made for Each Other by Paul D. Storrie and Eldon Cowgur
Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
Paper Girls, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Pastoral Cities by James L. Machor
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass
Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll
Pumpkin Town! by Katie McKy
Puppy Love by Jennifer L. Holm
The Road Movie Book edited by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark
Rosemary Remembered by Susan Wittig Albert
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella
The Time Garden by Edward Eager
Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin and translated by Sheila Fischman
Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 07, 2017)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 14, 2017)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 28, 2017)
July 2017 Reading Sources
July 2017 Reading Summary

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Volkswagen Blues: 08/15/17

Volkswagen Blues  by Jacques Poulin

Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin is a Quebecois road trip about a man in search for his long lost brother. His companion for this journey is Le Grande Sauterelle (Grasshopper girl, often just referred to as "The Girl"), and her black kitten. Their vehicle is an old, second hand Volkswagen bus that has been rebuilt but in a rather matter of fact way and one that will slow the rusting but won't prevent it.

The narrator, a man who calls himself Jack, brings to mind Jack Kerouac and On the Road. It's also fairly obvious that this is a roman à clef — made poetic for the sake of narrative. But there are photographs at the end that give a sense of the story behind the novel.

As the narrative was first written in 1984, one is also reminded of Blue Highways. But it's not Jack who is on the road to experience the narratives of other marginalized people. That is the Girl's quest. As the book progresses, she reveals the details of her life and her feeling of being out of place, being half Indian but not being a real Indian so that her parents (Indian mother, white father) could continue to live on the reservation near her family. But not white enough to buy a home beyond a trailer. (I'm using Indian rather than Native American or First Nation, as it is the term used by the author).

Her father we learn supported the family as a truck driver and later, she accompanied him. She learned how to drive in his big rig and has learned the history of the highway as it cuts through once native lands just as the settlers, governments, and armies have done.

Volkswagen Blues ends up embodying a variety of different classic road narrative stories. There is the white man finding himself as he finds his family (by far the most ubiquitous of North American road narratives). Then there is the traveling while ____________, in this case traveling while half Indian across lands that record the crimes against other Indian groups. Her story is like In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III but from a Canadian point of view. Then there is the autokind vs mankind, the traveling at the car's whim, always knowing that this day, this mile, could be its last.

For my road narrative project, I've saved numerous quotes and passages which I will be sharing on Tumblr. I'm behind on my note transcription, so this review will be posted long before I get to analyzing the book in further detail.

Five stars

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Comment #1: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 22:27:53

Melwyk

I'm so glad you liked this one! One of my fave road trip novels, for sure.



Comment #2: Sunday, August 27, 2017 at 16:02:00

Pussreboots

I want to re-read it. It was so good.