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And the Orange Prize-shortlisted May Book of the Month is....HOME by Marilynne Robinson

(39 Posts)
TillyBookClub Wed 06-May-09 05:57:35

Marilynne Robinson's HOME has won our May poll and become Mumsnet's Orange Prize winner.

We'll be chatting about HOME on Tuesday 26 May from 8pm to 10pm. Hope you can join us!

Don't forget you can order your copy here

And, for anyone who missed out on the vote here were May's book choices and this is how Book Club works.

KidCreolesCoconut Sun 14-Jun-09 18:22:20

i HATEd this book
who the hell recommended it

I am a staunch mn book club supporter and i gave up half way thoruhg
PLEASe dont let this happen to the next choice

Cocodrillo Mon 08-Jun-09 21:22:29

Can't quite shake off the feeling that I've missed something: I read Home all the way through, resisting the urge to skip whole chapters, but every single review I've read, and I've read loads now, thinks it's wonderful.

Is the Booker meant to award books that are both an interesting read AND literary fiction? I've often found good reads on that longlist/shortlist, so maybe I'll stick to that in future and avoid the Orange.

I agree re Britain's Got Talent wink. Btw is Amanda boffing Simon Cowell?

TillyBookClub Mon 08-Jun-09 20:32:00

I can see technically that it deserves it, but in pure enjoyment levels I can't quite believe it.

Diversity winning Britain's Got Talent, however, was absolutely right.

So there's justice in the world still.

whistlejacket Thu 04-Jun-09 19:36:57

I know! shock Can't believe it either. Dh told me this morning and thought it was hilarious news after watching me wade through it for the past month.

Either we're clueless and don't know a good book when we read one or the judges on these panels have very different ideas to the rest of us. Lots of people will probably buy it now and struggle with it too.

Cocodrillo Wed 03-Jun-09 22:40:42

Can't believe it won!

whistlejacket Tue 02-Jun-09 20:14:58

Duh I thought book club was tonight and it was last week so missed it! Was amazed I got through Home found it really slow going. Last 30 pages were the best, something actually happened! Pleased Oryx and Crake won as I voted for that, better get reading and get date right next time!

Wheelybug Tue 02-Jun-09 18:31:00

I finished today at last. I quite enjoyed the writing - slow and gentle which i think reflected the town and situation. Ending a bit 'meh' though. Glad I persevered and would buy Gilead if I saw it in a charity shjop/ on offer but wouldn't rush out to buy it.

Cocodrillo Tue 02-Jun-09 17:08:24

I ploughed through to the end of Home and I still think it was crap. I've just borrowed Molly Thingy's Birthday from the library - that sounds more interesting. If Home wins the Orange the judges must be mental. I would have liked to have come and moaned on book club night but was away for half term - maybe the next one, I LOVE Oryx and Crake, one of my all-time faves.

DutchOma Sat 30-May-09 10:28:36

I read Samantha Harvey's Wilderness which didn't make it to the Book of the Month and thought it was wonderful. Tried all month to get Home from the library (couldn't justify BUYING another book) but they didn't have it. So now I am reading Gilead and am wonderfully thankful to the MN bookclub for recommending such wonderful books wink smile

Jenbot Fri 29-May-09 11:57:41

I really liked Gilead, thought it was really lovely and would recommend it, but haven't read Home yet.

WibblyPigRocks Tue 26-May-09 22:08:30

Having read this thread through, I think I'll get hold of a copy of Gilead at some point and then have another go. If it wins the Orange prize, I'll have to - I won't be able to admit to having given up!!

Hope it is Atwood next month - always fancied reading that one!

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 21:34:15

You absolutely get an intellectual high five, religious bits or not...

Looks like it'll be Margaret Atwood for June Book of the Month, will post tomorrow to let everyone know the final result.

Shame that it wasn't a huge success this time round but thanks everyone, as always. Bets now on for whether it will win the Orange Prize (and how much more of a doofus I will feel then for not having thought it brilliant...)

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 21:21:14

So do I get some wholly spurious New Yorker kudos then? <hastily conceals fact she skipped the religious bits>

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 21:10:33

Me too, morningpaper.

I want to be clever like the New Yorker folks. I want to be able to say that it has Melvillean language.

But I haven't read Melville either so I don't even know that that means.

I feel DOUBLE stupid.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 21:06:50

sorry, x-post

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 21:05:56

that's how I felt about Middlesex grin

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 21:05:46

Another interesting review here (New York Times)

I do think you perhaps need to read Gilead with it, and then sit down with a good few hours to really immerse yourself in the whole family saga.

I wondered if Jack having another child with Della was meant to be a redemption for the dead child? Sounds rather facile when I put it like that, but there were so many references to good and evil, saint and sinner, and it seemed as if the second child was his resurrection.

morningpaper Tue 26-May-09 21:02:12

Well I did TRY but I kept preferring sleep

I felt very STUPID for not enjoying it more

I might try it afresh after my more interesting novel blush

I WANT to like it

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 20:49:20

Thanks Tilly, great quotes. I'm at the insomnia end of the spectrum at the moment, so maybe that's why I was finding it so engrossing.

Not a lot happens, it's not extraordinary stuff (almost run-of-the-mill addiction and disappointment, gender roles etc etc) but kept me awake.

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 20:35:43

Geraldine, I don't think you've lost the plot, I think maybe you found it where the rest of us gave up...

I find parts very moving too, especially the aspect of coming home and finding it not the Eden you remember.

This was a quote I found from one of the reviews:

Behind all of Robinson’s work lies an abiding interest in the question of heavenly restoration. HOME ponders the question of return. The Boughton children come home to a strange, old-fashioned Iowa town, but the return is hardly the balm it promises to be, for home is too personal, too remembered, too disappointing. Eden is exile, not Heaven:

The other part I found deeply moving was this bit from the book:

“You see something beautiful in a child, and you almost live for it, you feel as though you would die for it, but it isn’t yours to keep or to protect. And if the child becomes a man who has no respect for himself, it’s just destroyed till you can hardly remember what it was.”

The book made me think, it had strong points to make. I think it is my own demands on what a book must do to keep me awake in the evenings that are to blame.

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 20:23:53

That's right, there were complex issues and religious metaphors and subtle dialogue: all sorts of meaty things to put in your Eng Lit exam. And there's no doubt that the writing is excellent.

Interestingly many of the most glowing reviews I read were written by highly academic journalists who analyse each sentence with increasingly obscure references. They give the impression that if you feel its not gripping you, then you're a philistine with dubious taste and no distinction.

I wonder now if it DOES make a difference being a sequel. A friend has read Gilead and talked about Reverend Ames - I think Jack's interaction with him in the novel is very opaque and mystifying if you haven't read the first book.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 20:18:12

Maybe I've lost the plot but I have really enjoyed this book and not sure I would have read it if it hadn't been book club choice (thank you Tilly).

The whole sense of fragility - people, way of life, relationships - I found v moving. Actually cried at one point and haven't done that since The Road.

WibblyPigRocks Tue 26-May-09 20:11:45

I'm just so glad I'm not alone in finding this book a bit repetitive. I also haven't finished it yet and I'm not sure I will, although I hate leaving a book unfinished.

I think one of the main issues for me was that I often found I had to re-read certain passages in order to ascertain exactly which character was being written about. Although I think the author intended the reader to take things slowly and learn to understand these characters, and perhaps take things at the slow pace of life they were currently living, I just found this a bit tedious.

I do agree that these characters feel very real and I think that the author really encourages you to think about the nature of family relationships, which, as we all know, are not black and white.

These are things that would have appealed to me when I was an English teacher - i.e. plenty to write about in an essay - but in my current situation, I want something a bit more fast-paced that I can easily get into, even if only for five minutes at a time!! I like to be given something to think about, but this just didn't press the right buttons!! Last month, as I was reading 'Middlesex' I just kept thinking of things I wanted to say on here and things I wanted to ask about, but with this one, I just keep thinking about next month's book!

TillyBookClub Tue 26-May-09 19:51:45

Evening everyone, kicking off a bit early as we might wrap up a bit earlier this time (half term tiredness is already felling me) - and it looks like we might not be that long over this one....

I feel a bit sheepish. I started off with excitement (cf my last post), took the first 50 pages happily, slowed down for the next 50 and then wondered if I could possibly go and read last Saturday's Guardian Weekend magazine instead.

Just like everyone else, I found not a lot happening. And at the start, I didn't mind about that at all - the writing was good, and the intrigue was there to a degree. What had Jack done and would he make up with his father etc.

But I think it needed a change of pace, a change of scene, something to change. It all got too repetitive, and then l couldn't care about these three people. I felt that I was ploughing through a meal that was good for me but just not very tasty.

I still haven't finished it (am about 3/4 of the way through, skim read the last 1/4 just to get what happened) and I'm not sure I really mind. I've never done that with a bookclub book before.

Where is everyone at now - and did you find your opinions changing whilst reading it?

Wheelybug Tue 26-May-09 19:13:33

WOUld have loved to have joined in but am only on page 105 or something. FOund it v. hard to get into (doesn't help being 10 weeks post-birth). More into it now but agree with not a lot happening but am interested enough to keep reading I think to see what happens (does anything happen ???).

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