Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Differing view

I am suprised that others did not enjoy 'Modern Times' as I found it a very stimulating read. I thought it was a very well crafted book that maintained its sincerity. I thought it very brave of Grant to attempt to write about so complex and emotive a subject but I thought she handled it very well.

There were so many themes interwoven that it is impossible to pin down exactly what the book was setting out to do and I liked this. It kept sparking off various thoughts in my head and there were various aspects of Evelyn that found I empathised with and others that were completely alien to me. I thought the move from impassioned youth to worldly adult was beautifully done and she avoided making Evelyn cynical in her more mature years. I also thought she chose a very honest ending. I thought for one ghastly minute it was going to be a Captain Corelli’s Mandolin ending and was very glad it wasn’t.

I also thought the whole concept of ‘home’ was an interesting one. ‘Home’ became more than just place, but relationships and ultimately self-identity. As someone who has moved around a lot (albeit in the one country), home to me is about being with those you love, and I got the feeling that this was true of Evelyn. ‘Home’ being with her mother, the one person I felt she really loved and understood and reverted back to, as opposed to passion with Johnny or comfort with Leo.

I found the historical setting of this book fascinating as it was a period of history I was not very familiar with. The building of a city from scratch was a wonderful back drop for such a medley of ideas and cultures. For those of us brought up in relative peace time, in an age of multi-culturalism and the global village it was revealing to see the passionately held post-war patriotism that is so alien to a lot of us. I have only encountered something similar in a Northern Irish friend and, I suspect, for similar reasons.

A great read and refreshing to read a story about Jews that is not set in the Middle Ages or contain songs! I thought it was just as good as Girl with a Pearl Earring so I'd say don't give up on Orange Prize Winners just yet Emily!