Monday, February 1, 2016

The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato

The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato
Kathy Giuffre

I came across this little gem moments after I got my brand new library card from the Boise Public Library as celebration of officially becoming an Idaho resident.

For a brief semester during my freshman year of college, I became a history/political science double major because of Plato and his cave, so the incorporation of Greek philosophy was particularly attractive to me.
It tells the story of a small town girl, leaving for a slightly less small town somewhere near the Smoky Mountains. There she starts work at a local bar, The Cave, where she meets some eccentric and caring friends who eventually become her family. 

The language was beautiful, perhaps a tad ostentatious at times…as though Giuffre was trying too hard to link the narrative to the Greeks. Interspersed between main narrative scenes, the stories of Greek mythology and philosophy seemed to serve as  a metaphor for the events to follow. But, it often felt as though the events were contrived as a way to justify the use of the myth. As a result, it felt as though things simply happened to characters and fell away. I can’t share without spoilers—and there are certainly exceptions—but I wanted to see how those events or people or circumstances affected their future selves a little bit more than I did.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable book. A Southern charmer—and not just because it took place in the South, but because the storytelling made you feel like lounging on a wraparound porch, lazily swatting flies and sipping on sweet tea.

“That summer, I was fearless. This is the prerogative of the young. Later in life, you might have courage, which means doing things in spite of your fears. But never again will you really be without fear—flying about the world in wind-swept delight, close and closer to the sun, heedless of everything that lies below. Maybe it is only ignorance, but it has a remarkable resemblance to immortality, while it lasts.”

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