Frannie's Blog

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Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada
I look for beauty and truth in everything. It's not always there of course but I try to find it or make it happen. I love people who make me laugh.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Book Club

This post will be more wordy than pictorial as befits its subject: Our Book Club.

We are eight women who have been meeting for eight years and since March 8th is International Women's Day I thought the tie-in appropriate. (It's also the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, another reason to celebrate.)

Before we became a Book Club we were just a circle of friends held together by geography and opportunity. Most of us have raised families and worked outside the home. Some of us are married, others widowed or divorced. What do we have in common? We love to talk and share. And eat.

We meet once a month, taking turns at hosting and feeding the group. Over appetizers we catch up on gossip, during lunch the chatter continues-often several conversations going on at once. Those who are not driving might have some wine. By dessert we're ready for The Book. Each of us has a turn to either read her carefully composed report or to just wing it. Not everybody likes to write and that's o.k. as long as some opinion is offered. This is the most (the only) formal part of our meeting. After that it's more or less a free-for-all discussion with interruptions, arguments and much laughter.

Our choice of titles is eclectic and here again we take turns suggesting future reads. The only rule here is that the suggester must have first read the book. But even this rule is sometimes ignored, as I suspect is the case in this upcoming title. The following is an excerpt from my review of:

ABSALOM, ABSALOM by William Faulkner

This novel should come with a manual! I doubt I would ever have read it except for Book Club and the sadistic suggestion by one of our members, a self-professed speed reader, that we should read it. The title refers to a favourite son of King David (see Bible, Samuel II) who was murdered by one of his father's men after a big misunderstanding.

I kept searching for parallels and yes, there are a few, but the Bible is easier to figure out. Faulkner was generous, even inventive and poetic with words, but he was very stingy with punctuation, especially the period. The longest sentence ever written in a novel is in this book. It begins on page 147 and keeps going for three pages. One sentence.

If 'Absalom, Absalom' were ever to become a film it would be a series of flash-backs, flash-forwards, gauzy nebulous images, characters popping in and out, always the same people doing the same but not really the same thing. Indeed Faulkner did write some screen-plays later so perhaps he was just practicing here. But as a novel I found it confusing and frustrating to read.

Our next meeting is at the end of March. It promises to be exciting. Stay tuned.


Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

I am beginning to hate books that go back and forth in time so much you never know which way is up. I do not think I will read this one since your review convinced me!!!

Right now I am reading a Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. An older book that has been on my shelf waiting for me to have the time for way too long.

frannie said...

Yes, I read that one a few years ago and am still looking forward to Edgar Sawtelle. But you might want to try Absalom just to see if you can get past page one!

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