Well I did at least manage to read both books this month, which is a miracle in itself. I did not love them both, but at least I didn’t walk away from either. The meeting was small, but as usual fabulous fun, and yes in celebration of surviving the start of term I did pour a G&T.
Kazuo Ishiguro – Never let me go
I knew nothing about this author, or the book, but someone had given me a free copy, so it was already sat on my shelf, this is a good thing, because if I had bought it I would have been upset. I went into the book with no expectations, I read the blurb, it seemed like it could be interesting, it was recommended and reviews were 4* so I threw myself in to it. I did not enjoy reading this book, it was bleak, but not in a way that affected me, not dark enough to be thrilling, just kind of grey.
*Spoiler alert* The subject matter, the farming of children in purpose built schools to provide organs for transplant was fairly unique, and could have really caught the reader’s attention, but the story was written in a kind of real, but not real style where nothing really went anywhere (or nowhere worth being anyway). I read on, hoping that the children as they grew would challenge their situation, or that one would change the system for the better, I wanted to see rebellion, I wanted the story to shock me, I wanted to find something that made me glad I picked up this dreary, dull book.
There were only four of us at the meeting and all of us disliked the book, with Sam saying it was possibly the worst book that we’d ever read as a club (I don’t think she read ‘Love in a cold climate’ to be fair). I believe the book was supposed to make us think, think about the way science is heading, think about the ‘is it right to create people purely for the purpose of healing others?’ question etc. The failure of the story to intrigue us into discussing the state of the world, and life and death as a whole, is very telling, and explains our group rating for this book. I think the book was about 100 pages too long, and could have been improved by losing some of the unnecessary filler story lines. On average the group rated it 2* and I gave it a 1.5* purely because I did manage to finish it. There are a great many great books out there, this is not one of them, honestly just don’t bother!
Magda Szabó – The Door
What a lovely little find this book was. I was shopping online and had one of those ‘if you liked **** then you’ll like The Door’ type recommendations, I cannot remember when or what the other book was, but I put this on my wish list, why? because I liked the cover! This story of the life of an elderly Hungarian woman is just beautiful, the writer draws us in and we get to know Emerence so well and to understand all of her quirks. I was emotionally invested in the life of this woman with whom I have literally nothing in common, I loved her, I got annoyed with her, I believed in her.
Magda Szabó names the other main character in the book after herself, she is an author, and has no children, just like Magda herself. Emerence works for the character Magda as her housekeeper, and the book revolves around their relationship, which is one that has a real honesty about it, they do love each other, but they drive each other nuts at times. I found the book slow to read, I am not sure why, it was hard work though (Perhaps it was the translation?), however I am glad I read it, because it was really lovely. I gave it 4*, the group gave it 4.5*.