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Meant as a companion volume to Klaus's previous daybook, My Vegetable Love (1996), this diary sequel was kept during the winter of 1996 from New Year's Eve to March 15th. It is smaller and less vital than the book before. Perhaps the season itself imposed a constraint on Klaus—gardeners like to have growth to write about. For lack of that in his snow-filled "three-quarter-acre lot," the wind-chilled author becomes monotonously obsessed with his midwestern "warlike weatherscape." He combs the Internet, the Weather Channel, and the almanacs for long-range forecasts, fussing over the season's shifting moods and temperatures. To soothe mild woes, he downs countless bowls of soup. He ritually walks his dog, doctors his cat, considers seeds, and feeds the birds. Klaus's inevitable cabin fever, though, fails to lead him toward introspection or insight. He doesn't have the stamina, the imagination, or the bent to think about winter or observe it in depth. Even his verbal snapshots of wintry scenes seem willfully trite. His avuncular charm may need a fuller page, a tree with fruit to describe—not the grip of ice. The fact that the season brings him no real hardship, only a predictable frustration and inconvenience, also keeps the drama out of this tale of supposed stoicism and rumored wherewithal. When Klaus worries that his written "winter watch" may seem "trivial" to others, he is right.
Dull heartland postcards about the fallow months.
Posted January 15, 2014