One of the many challenges a memoirist faces is convincing his audience, within those crucial first few pages, to read a genre that can easily be written off as (and often is) naval gazing. It is a challenge Bill Holm likely has little concern about. In the first few pages of his newest work, The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland, Holm makes sure we keep turning the pages, which are filled with poetry, philosophy, politics, stories, scenes, and Bill Holm himself. Holm tells of his summers (and the occasional winter) in Iceland, which give him (and us) perspective on the rest of his year in the United States. In his mind, the U.S. is slowly deteriorating under a government offering false security and a people willing to accept it. He lingers over a well-made stove, a rugged cliff, the odd piece of history, and Icelandic place names, which pile up the vowels and odd consonant combinations like an Ikea catalogue on steroids.
Thu., Nov. 29, 7 p.m., 2007