Warwick Book Group meeting May 22nd at the Old Punchbowl Inn
We were able to repair to our usual meeting place at the Old Punchbowl Inn, which has now been re-opened after its makeover. Pleasingly, the pub still retains its character, but has been opened out a bit and freshened up. Our welcome was warm and friendly.
I had missed the meeting where we discussed “Le Grand Meaulnes” so we had a brief discussion about that. I had tried to read it in the original French while studying for my“A” levels many years ago and had been completely confused. Now reading it in translation, I am not surprised at this. We decided that it is very much a young man’s book. It has a dreamlike quality and is about the pain of a young man falling in love. Whichever English version you read, it must lose a lot in translation because no-one in the group was as enthusiastic about it as a few French customers who all expressed delight that we were reading it!
Madeline Miller’s, “The Song of Achilles” met with a completely different response. We all loved her idea of using the character Patroclus to tell the story, especially as he frequently asked for clarification of the myths and names, thus helping the reader. As well as being a beautiful love story, a story of friendship, trust and loyalty, it is a good adventure too; a retelling of the Greek Myths about Achilles, making him very real with human frailties despite his being a hero. A couple in the group had been inspired by this book to read the Greek Myths and even try Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. They came to the conclusion that they much preferred Miller’s version.
There was lots to talk about, interesting characters beautifully drawn (especially Chiron, Odysseus and the mysterious and terrifying Thetis) and writing that made a complicated story exciting and easy to read. A satisfying book that we would all recommend.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 26th June when we will be discussing “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. This is a first novel which received very good reviews.
Our book for July is “Capital” by John Lanchester. This is an epic novel telling the stories of the various residents of a London street. Again, wonderful reviews means we are expecting a real treat. The meeting to discuss “Capital” will be on Wednesday July 31st.
On August 21st we will be discussing Donna Leon’s “Beastly Things”. This is the latest of Leon’s crime novels set in Venice with Commissario Brunetti investigating a body found floating in one of Venice’s canals. A light read for the summer..
Our 25th September when we will be discussing Rose Tremain’s “Restoration” This is an historical novel about a fictional character and it will be interesting to contrast this with our October book, the prizewinning novel by Hilary Mantel, “Bring up the Bodies” We will be discussing this on October 23rd
All our meetings are on Wednesdays at 6.00pm in “The Old Punchbowl Inn” in Warwick.
We look forward to seeing you there – new members are always welcome.