Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 9th May

A remarkably sunny
Easter holiday period
accompanied by the
gorgeous prose of
J.L Carr...what could
possibly be better?
Not much, according
to the Marvellous
Monday group, who
were all beguiled by
A Month in the
Country. We completed our 'idyllic English summer' theme with some scones (made by me, courtesy of Oliver Peyton's utterly reliable British Baking) and an impressive Victoria Sponge (made by Chris, courtesy of his own genius). For such a short novella, everyone seemed able to recall very vivid and memorable scenes and the point was made that the succinctness and punch of a short story was successfully carried into a piece of novella length. Often Carr would throw in a piece of detail or character name which was referred to earlier but perhaps without any significance attached to it, resulting in the reader having to re-read sections in order to understand. In a huge tome this might become taxing, but when you are relishing every line, it is almost a relief that you have an excuse to linger over the text. This careful reading was coupled with an undeniable sense of being left wanting more: always a difficult line for an author to tread, but we were unanimous in thinking that the book was far more enjoyable because such a lot was left either unrequited, hanging, or unexplained. It all contributed to the sense of a retrospective, dream like reminiscence of a perfect time. In fact, it made everyone feel nostalgic for rose-tinted summers of our own past! The book provoked discussion about the catharsis of a simple, rural way of life; the way in which outsiders are perceived; morality in the early 20th Century and the difficulty of WWI veterans to share their feelings and experiences of the front line. Phew! The contrast between the upbeat, healing power of environment was of course in direct contrast to our previous read. Next up is Gemma's choice: Italo Calvino's Castle of Crossed Destinies - a group of travellers congregate and share stories. At 14o odd pages, it's another short one, but, being Calvino, I suspect that nothing will be straightforward! Next meeting is on 27th June.


No comments: