JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION - come here on Tuesday 1st July for our June bookclub chat

(153 Posts)

this is the thread to come to for June's Bookclub chat on Tues 1st July - I'll keep you posted about the author chat..

fryalot Tue 01-Jul-08 19:38:43

<<<squonk wanders into thread nice and early to get the best seat>>>

<<<squonk looks pointedly at TOC and takes the second best seat>>>

grin

beforesunrise Tue 01-Jul-08 19:40:42

not a question really, but something to discuss... this book left me quite cold, i thought the plot a tad contrived but i guess my main problem was that i could not "hear" rosamond's voice. the text reads like something written, not spoken and yet it's meant to be tapes... anyone else found this?

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 19:41:47

i can make it after all - hoorah

Evening everyone

Shall we kick off with the point that lalaa raised: do we like Rosamund? And what did everyone think were her motives for telling Imogen all this?

I felt she was doing it more for herself - to understand the pain of her life - than to give Imogen any help. Do you think it would have helped Imogen if she were alive and had listened to the tapes instead of Gill?

The word that sums up the book for me is poignant. Everything about the story, characters and description has a gentle sadness - its not violent or shocking (despite the violent, shocking behaviour of Beatrix and Thea), it just left me with a calm thoughtfulness. Very different to the other Coe novels I've read, all of which made me laugh hard and/or think hard.

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 19:54:42

<< drums fingers impatiently>>

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 19:55:12

yippeeeeeeeeeee

TheChicken Tue 01-Jul-08 19:55:16

so no talking about the pubs of selly oak or the Gunbarrels( in the rotters club afaicr )

and I WORKED THERE! twas a shit hole

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 20:01:00

"I felt she was doing it more for herself - to understand the pain of her life - than to give Imogen any help". Yes - agree. I think that's why I got more and more cross with Rosamund. And I felt glad that Imogen didn't hear the tapes. Maybe she never knew how she was blinded, and what would telling her have achieved?

It occurred to me that the thing that Rosamund seemed to want most was to be a mother (to Theo or Imogen) and yet, by recording the tapes, she apparently seemed to have a total disregard for how they might have been received, and the damage they might have done. A real contradiction - and this made the Rosamund character multi-faceted and more interesting (for me, anyway).

I guess Rosamund left me cold in that I didn't warm to her. But I did find her voice authentic, I felt like she was just using a different tone in remembering and describing scenes and events, so it reads more stiffly than something with, say, dialogue, or the usual to-ing and fro-ing of characters in a book.

I think you're right though, her formality of voice makes it hard to get under her skin

Definitely, her frustrated motherhood ambitions seemed to be a massive factor in putting all this on tape. I even found her love of the young Thea a bit scary at times, a bit obsessive.

In my head, Rosamund looks like the woman from the film Misery, That's not good, is it.

ggglimpopo Tue 01-Jul-08 20:04:48

Hello. I heard you talk in Bordeaux (introducing Britiannia Hospital). Are you coming back soon?

fryalot Tue 01-Jul-08 20:07:11

I didn't take to Rosamund. I agree with what has been said so far about her frustrated parenting dreams, and selfish reasons for making the tapes.

I enjoyed the book though, I have to say.

beforesunrise Tue 01-Jul-08 20:08:03

i think rosamond is a very rational person who thinks rather than feels her emotions- i that makes sense? also, she suffered a massive heartbreak when her first lover left her, and i do wonder whether she wasn't mourning her lover rather than Thea. so trying to reach out to Imogen is really a way to reconcile with... sorry names escapes me.. .Rachel or Rebecca?

Also, did you find that knowking it was by Jonathan Coe made the stoy different, becasue you were expecting something different?

Its such a world away from his usual 'style' - I found I noticed the sadness more than I might have done if the author name had been blanked out and I'd read it blind (so to speak)

fryalot Tue 01-Jul-08 20:10:10

I'd never read any of his books before, so came at it with absolutely no preconceptions.

I did decide to read some more of his stuff after I had finished it, but library doesn't stock any shock

So, have asked for some for my birthday next week...

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 20:10:43

My overwhelming feeling about the book was despondence.

fryalot Tue 01-Jul-08 20:11:04

Meant to say that, even not having read any of his stuff before, I did find it sad and quite moving in places. Even though I didn't like her particularly, I was still able to feel for her.

billybass Tue 01-Jul-08 20:11:17

Hello all.

I did like this book,but I didn't really warm to the characters....

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 20:11:52

This is my first Coe too and I'm really interested to read his other books (particularly the funny ones.......!)

fryalot Tue 01-Jul-08 20:13:08

lalaa - if you like we can get together on another thread and do a mini book swap?

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 20:13:45

What did everyone think about the idea to use photographs to push along the narrative?

Marina Tue 01-Jul-08 20:14:24

I didn't find Rosamond's need to unburden herself to Imogen a complete turnoff though. I thought her impulse was a very human one. We see threads on here very often in which women mull over whether to divulge a hurtful and damaging secret to someone they love.

lalaa Tue 01-Jul-08 20:15:35

mini book swap sounds good, squonk!

beforesunrise Tue 01-Jul-08 20:17:42

Lalaa, i though that quite contrived- it doesn't feel like someone one would do in real life. although, hang on a minute... it does actually fit with my perception of rosamond as a really cerebral person- like she wanted something to grasp on so as not to get too emotional in telling the story.

so actually- it fits the character. and explains some of the "coldness". whcih might have been deliberate, rathern than R's real nature...

Light-bulb moment!

beforesunrise Tue 01-Jul-08 20:18:12

(Apologies for spelling- i am one handed AND cooking dinner at same time)

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