And our January Book of the Month is...I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith (discussion Tuesday 27 January)

(94 Posts)

We'll be chatting about our Book of the Month, Dodie Smith's much-loved classic I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, on Tuesday 27 January from 8-10pm.

Don't forget you can order your copy here

Keen to know how the votes turned out? Have a snoop at the results here

And, for anyone who missed them first time round, here were January's book choices

God, no Jacob Wrestling for bookclub I promise. Just the sort of book I'm not willing to tackle these days.

I thought the dad was too indulged by everyone, and locking him up was probably a good antidote to that. But then who knows what happened in prison? Perhaps he did have a terrible time there and ended up permenently damaged. I wondered again whether it mgiht be slightly autobiographical - when he says that if the desire to write goes away completely then he might go insane, I thought Dodie may have had those feelings.

Thanks for the reassurance re: Jacob Wrestling Tilly grin

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Jan-09 21:12:01

Did she write much else? I know she did 101 Dalmations (which I didn't know before this) just wondering about the autobiographical comment re the dad

According to my copy of the book it was plays she was famous for. And that she was unsure of how the story should end - it hadn't in the way she expected. Which I tend to agree with - I didn't see Rose and Neil together (but i may just be slow on the up-take....)

She was famous as a playwright, this book was her first novel and she wrote five more. This one is considered her best novel. I sound like a know-it-all but that's because I have the intro to the book in front of me! grin

She did lots of plays I think. And wrote for Hollywood. No idea if she got writers block but it just seemed that the scene where he and CAssandra talk about it was very poignant and well-understood.

She wrote a notebook about the writing of this novel - i would love to read that. She imagined everything so carefully that she drew pictures of the bedrooms.

i think that's the purest pleasure for me in reading this, that it all seems so effortless and exactly right.

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 21:22:24

the edition I read had some little illustrations that were based on her drawings I think.

scampadoodle Tue 27-Jan-09 21:25:02

There's a very good biography which I read last year. Before she had a successful play she worked at Heals, where she met her husband whom she was with for years & years. They didn't have children, just dogs. (The husband came across as a bit gay TBH but he wasn't apparently)
But she was massively successful as a playwright before the war.

I just saw a reading guide on the web that asked: What do you think the title I Capture the Castle is intended to mean?

I have no idea.

Is it that she's understood where her heart lies? Is it that she feels in control?

All suggestions welcome, I am lost on this one.

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 21:38:14

I noticed the word 'capture' came up a few times in the book, actually in relation to her father IIRC but no the castle

i think Cassandra did seem the one who was the most in control of things - life, desires, surroundings. but perhaps that was because she was the narrator.
Or perhaps it's a clue to the fact that she does marry Simon, and therefore the castle becomes hers for ever...

lemurtamer Tue 27-Jan-09 21:47:58

I thought it meant she was trying to capture the spirit of the castle, as at the beginning she talks about capturing her feelings and other people's thoughts (I think).

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 21:48:17

she has secured their future - if only because her father is writing again, regardless of whether or not she marries Simon, she has captured the castle.

SoMuchToBits Tue 27-Jan-09 21:49:20

Sorry I'm gatecrashing this thread, as I read the book a couple of years ago, and haven't read it recently, but...

IIRC, near the beginning of the book, Cassandra uses the word capture, as in describing a scene, capturing in words what is happening. So I think I capture the castle may be to represent that the castle is the setting for the book, and Cassandra is trying to capture in words what was happening, and her feelings about it. But I may have that totally wrong!

I suppose the capturing is her writing skills describing the place? I think there's more to it, but I am too dim-witted to get it.

It seems to have gone a little quiet, so I might climb into the bath with February's THE ENCHANTED APRIL and get ready for the next chat on Feb 24. Hope its as wonderful as this book has been.

Thanks everyone, as always...

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Jan-09 21:52:42

Thanks Tilly and all - really enjoyed this one and enjoyed all your insights.

Off to bed with the new book and see you in Feb!

looking forward to reading the enchanted april - have it on order from the library, so just time to finish my current read before it arrives
see you all next month

ooh, not quiet after all. I've turned off the taps and come back,

Psychobabble, I think you've got it. Its all economics really isn't it, despite the romance. They are all struggling against poverty and trying to keep up appearances.

SoMuchToBits, I think we're right too. There are many parts of the book where C is struggling to put her feelings/the beauty of something into words, and that pleasure you get when you do articulate clearly..

Back to bath. See you next time.

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