Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Natural Selection - Frederick Barthelme

I've been reading Natural Selection by Frederick Barthelme this week. I took a few days off reading which normally only happens when I'm not enjoying a book but in this case it was for other reasons. This is the fifth book by Frederick Barthelme I've read and I think it is cemented his place alone at number 1 on my favourite authors list (which is a space normally shared by 5-6 authors). This will probably change when I get infatuated with another author.

here is a segment from the book that I particularly enjoyed. Apparently if you write out pieces of authors that you love it makes you write more like them.

Lily was in the store getting hamburger meat and beer and buns and steak fried chips and beans. And barbecue sauce, of course. And in each case she was getting our preferred brand, whatever it was at the time. In potatoes it was Ore-Ida, I remembered. But in every case without exception she was buying a specific brand, a brand that meant something to us because we liked the way it tasted, or because we made a joke about it when we first saw it, or because we thought that the people who made it were less horrible than the people who made the competing product, or because her mother or my mother introduced us to it, or because some other sentimental value was associated with it, or because the commercial for it was particularly charming or funny or wonderful in a way we wanted to align ourselves with, or any other of fifty other reasons that attracted us to a particular brand name product in a particular product category.  We didn't, for example, buy just any old brand of paper towels. No, we had very clear feelings about paper towels, deeply held feelings, so that if we had to get paper towels we would always get the same brand of paper towels, sometimes even leave one store and go to another to get this brand, and the reason about paper towels was that our brand was better than the other brands. No other factors entered into the decision.

Frederick Barthelme pages 140-141 Natural Selection 1990

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