It was great to be back in the discussion at this February’s book club and to see some new faces. I don’t know about you, but I had a great night, so thank you for your hilarious input. Welcome to Sally and Ruth who were first timers.
February books were: The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
The Winter Ghost got slated! Thanks for that suggestion Claire. It did generate a brilliant discussion; May and Essam listened to the audio book version which was especially depressing. Essam described the narrator as sounding close to tears for the majority of the novel. He persisted with the book because he thought there would be a twist or a surprise. There wasn’t! 3/10
May described it as “very depressing rubbish” 3/10
Sue described it as “predictable and full of literary clichés, with no characterisation” 2/10
Helen thought it was far-fetched and airy fairy, at times a bit wishy washy. It should have stayed as a 50-page novel as the rest of the content was pointless.
Fiona wanted to slap her! She found it frustrating from start to finish “it felt egocentric, had inaccuracies, it lacked depth, was good on location but was mainly fluffy rubbish” 5/10
Susan was the only one that had anything positive to say about the book. “It was a wiz of a read, the first half of the book was a masterclass in descriptive writing ( although quite often pointlessly)”. Susan added that the author’s description of a family’s loss of a relative, without having a body to mourn, was also extremely thought provoking and moving. 5/10
The consensus was that the novel should have stayed as a short story as 50 pages would have been more than enough.
CUBE Book Club Average Rating: 3/10
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan had the opposite effect on the group. This book was crammed with content, twists and turns, drama, sorrow and a love story.
Ruth thought it was beautifully written with great description. Some of the content made uncomfortable reading, “the description of the camps was a bit much and adultery as a topic is uninteresting to me”. One negative for Ruth was the lack of quotation marks, but the book was a great read. Ruth also spoke about a scene that has stayed with her: an officer who, like everyone, was starving sacrificed himself giving up a steak for his men. 8/10
There was a lot of discussion about the author’s reasons for writing this book; his dad had been in a Japanese POW camp and, although it isn’t a true story, it is believed that a lot of the narrative, and some of the characters, are based on the author’s own experience. A harrowing thought but it gives you a greater respect for the story.
Fiona said it was “an amazing book, moving and emotional. The characterisation of the men in the book and their interaction was brilliant.” Fiona felt the book fell down when it came to the relationship with the wife as it didn’t feel as realistic” 9/10
Helen told us the book was set during the Second World War and was about loss and near misses. She thought the author had to write this for his dad. “It was well plotted with good twists” 9.5/10
Definitely worth a read!
CUBE Average Book Club: 9/10
A couple of books of interest came up during the chat. ‘The View from Castle Rock’ by Alice Munro and ‘Le Grand Meaulnes’ by Alain Fournier (perfect French Sally!) also known as ‘The Lost Estate’. Just in case, you want to suggest them for book club or read them on the side.
Next month we are meeting on 28th March and discussing the following books:
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
See you then!
CUBE café|bar Manager