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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Carol Ann Duffy

I enjoyed reading these witty poems which were much sparkier than I was expecting. I laughed out loud on several occasions as Duffy captures the female cynicism so aptly. The feminine wiles of Euridice flattering Orpheus, Pygmalion's Bride, giving the women strong characters of their own and reducing the men to mere mortals were easy to be in sympathy with. However, I found towards the end, though, that the complete disdain shown towards the men involved began to be wearying and I was grateful for the occasional gentler poems, such as Anne Hathaway, Evis' twin sister and Frau Freud.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Closed secrets

Well it looks as though we are unanimous on this: I read it back in May, and made some very brief, for me, notes, which you’ve all covered, but which were:

Has anyone read any of Munro’s novels? What do you recommend? There’s no doubt she is a great writer – I love her quirky women, her style and language. But short stories have never been a form of fiction I enjoy because it requires far too much concentration (I really need to read all of these again) and because the worlds she creates are too short-lived for me to disappear in to. I particularly liked The Albanian Virgin, but really didn’t understand Open Secrets – as I say, they need re-reading and the links between them established. But I’m never going to do that.

Alice Munro

Well, I set off thinking I won't like this because I am not a great one for short stories. Like Emily I struggled to find linkages. There certainly were some, but others were too difficult to guess at (The Albanian Virgin - where did Charlotte and Gjurdhi turn up from?). Perhaps if I were to read it again.. but that seems unlikely as I did not like it enough. Maybe getting caught up on that stopped me appreciating each story, as I was distracted when I spotted one and started looking back to see how it fitted. I would have liked some dates so you knew which period the story was in. I thought she wrote well in terms of prose style, I did actually like some of the stories and insights but as a book it left me feeling curiously unsatisfied. Did anyone understand the Tolpuddle Martyrs bit or did she just lose the plot and finish the story any old way? I wanted someone to come and explain!

I am to blame for Wolf Hall as I really loved it and am so into the history of the time now I can't stop reading Philippa Gregory. Oh well. Hope others like it too.