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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:30   #111
Colyngbourne
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Clean Slate.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:31   #112
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

I know, we chatted about it briefly.

I still don't think he'd help the Group along, though. MrHG may disagree.

I vote for a wiped-clean slate, too.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:32   #113
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

I'm happy to read anything, as long as it serves to allow me to justify my book buying!
However, I think that more short term planning (just two or three months ahead) would ensure that people's interest doesn't fall off, and would allow new people (i.e. me) to get involved in the fun of choosing the books to read.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:35   #114
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

If we read Easter Parade, I'll be reading this version:

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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:42   #115
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

OK, so I went to Literature Map to see what authors they associated with Brian Moore, since he's done so well for us (with only a handful of us reading the book, too).

One that springs up is Colm Tóib*n. I think he was nominated for the Book Group before, and missed the cut. But he's similarly formally plain, naturalistic and does a bit of the old social issues. And The Blackwater Lightship (unlike The Master, which is the one nominated before) is short-ish at 272 pages. So let me formally nominate The Blackwater Lightship as one of our forthcoming Book Group reads. Here's the Amazon official review:

Quote:
Set in Ireland in the 1990s, the The Blackwater Lightship tells the story of the Devereux family. Helen doesn't get on with her mother Lily, and Lily doesn't get on with her mother Dora. Three generations of women, tetchy with recriminations and memory, are forced together when they discover that Helen's younger brother, Declan, is dying from an AIDS-related illness: "It was like a dark shadow in a dream, and then it became real and sharp."

This novel is an intense examination of Colm Toibin's signature themes: death, loss, illness and morality. However, if the themes are a continuance from his previous books, the style is a distinct departure from the lyrical prose of The Story of the Night and The Heather Blazing. In The Blackwater Lightship Toibin strips his style down to spare sentences, and what is said is bleaker: "It was clear to her now that it did not matter whether there were people or not--the world would go on. Imaginings and resonances and pains and small longings, they meant nothing against the hardness of the sea." It is almost as if he is writing us and himself, as the novelist, out of the picture. The familiar poetry of landscape: "the sudden rise in the road and then the first view of the sea glinting in the slanted summer light", is all that is left.

There is not much plot, the book concentrates on the gradual unfolding of talk between the Devereux clan, and two friends of Declan's, who have fine lines of catty commentary. Dora asks: "Is there a need to rake over everything?" But words, even bitter ones, are shaky constants, when everything else is crumbling. This puts a lot of pressure on the prose; when it works well it's charged with suppressed emotion, strangely lulling in its determination to be quiet and ordinary. But sometimes its simplicity makes the book a little static, threatening to becalm the reader. The Blackwater Lightship is a book about the frailty of human experiences, in the face of indifferent nature: "soon they would only be a memory, and that too would fade with time." Toibin deals with the tricky balance between hopefulness and hopelessness with elegant economy, and very few stumbles.
All those in favour say 'Aye, why not?'
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:44   #116
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Aye, why not?

Just the sort of thing I was trying to pinpoint.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:48   #117
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Aye aye, cap'n.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 16:00   #118
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Ok, not my style as you know [stop sniggering at the back] but I wonder if I might possibly be a tad didactic at this stage?

After a couple of I-should-be-working hours, I trawled the Palimp and Amazon for ideas, and with JS's chip-in also, have munged together a list of titles that I think fulfil the earlier criteria (apart from one being a smidge over 350 pages) in that they're all - supposedly - packed with universal themes, linguistically unfussy, rammed with 'real' characters and brief:












Would that take us up to the end of the year? What do we reckon? Is there plenty of meat on the bone there, do you think? Is that four potential Judith-type threads just waiting to happen?

If so, I'll start up an I Am Legend thread and - when I get hold of a copy - a Norstrilia thread, so that their supporters don't feel they've been short-changed.

Feel free to tell me to Bog Right Off.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 16:04   #119
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Bog right on, big man. That sounds fab.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 16:19   #120
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Default Re: The Book Group: October 2006 to March 2007

Aye from me too and could I make a special request that we read The Blackwater Lightship first? This is because I already have it, and you should have seen the look I got today when an amazon order arrived. To put it in context, I bought over 70 books a few weeks ago in Hay.

I need another month or so before I make another book purchase. Can't sneak them in so easily because he's almost always home.
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