Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bring Me One of Everything-Leslie Hall Pinder

Bring Me One of Everything

Leslie Hall Pinder

Grey Swan Press; Feb 6 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9780983490012

In British Columbia, fortyish Alicia Purcell has been hired to write the libretto for an opera based on the late anthropologist and Haida expert scholar Austin Hart. Alicia heads to Vancouver to research the opera’s subject who committed suicide and to visit her estranged mom Sophia suffering from cancer.

Alicia learns what drove Hart including his leading the cutting down of the Haida totem poles in the 1950s so they could be placed in museums. As she reads his papers and talks to his family and friends, and the Haida tribe on Queen Charlotte Islands, Alicia looks introspective and decides what is important as she begins to reconcile with her mom.

From the opening cutting down of the Weeping Woman Totem Pole until the final aria is sung, the aptly titled Bring Me One of Everything is a thought provoking tale starring a seemingly compulsively obsessed woman with a gut need to know the whys of her subject. The debate over the “safety” of the totem poles is intelligent as readers will ponder between the museum with its easy accessibility and controlled environment or the natural habitat; ironically ownership was irrelevant during the 1950s and earlier as possession by the powerful was ten tenths of the law. With a deep look at Haida art and the subsequent cutting down and removal of the Totems, fans will appreciate Leslie Hall Pinder’s fabulous insightful story.

Harriet Klausner

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