Hi all, now that we have decided we would read and discuss the Miniaturist in October, here are three titles for you to ponder on for the November session:
Theme: the time - and space - travelling book club
1. The white tiger, by Aravind Adiga
Meet Balram Halwai, the ‘white tiger’: servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer…
The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. Adiga details Balram's journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore. The novel examines issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India. Adiga says his novel "attempt[s] to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass." According to Adiga, the exigence for The White Tiger was to capture the unspoken voice of people from "the Darkness" – the impoverished areas of rural India, and he "wanted to do so without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless humourless weaklings as they are usually."
2. The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
Meet Oscar de Leon, aka Oscar Wao, a ghetto nerd living with his Dominican-American family in New Jersey. He’s disastrously overweight, keeps falling hopelessly in love and dreams of becoming the next Tolkien. With Oscar, travel across generations and continents, from his mother Beli’s tragic past in the Dominican Republic, to his and his stunning sister Lola’s struggles and dreams in suburban America. This is the wondrous story of unforgettable Oscar, his family and their search for love and belonging. A multi-facetted journey through a family’s personal story and a country’s troubled History, across generations and the geography of their migration – and back again, narrated with an irresistible, manic energy.
‘Both a big picture window that opens out on the sorrows of Dominican history, and a small, intimate window that reveals one’s family’s life and loves.’ New York Times
3. Leo the African / Leo Africanus, by Amin Maalouf
Meet Leo the African, a historical Renaissance-era traveller. Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, aka Leo the African, was an Andalusian Berber Moorish diplomat and author who is best known for his book Descrittione dell’Africa (Description of Africa) describing the geography of North Africa. He wrote notes for a future autobiography but never got round to writing the real thing. Never mind, Amin Maalouf fixed that for us and wrote this imaginary autobiography!
Amin Maalouf’s book offers a vivid description of the Renaissance world, with the decline of the traditional Muslim kingdoms and the hope inspired by the Ottoman Empire, as it grew to threaten Europe and restore Muslim unity. It is based on life experiences which took Leo Africanus almost everywhere in the Islamic Mediterranean, from southern Morocco to Arabia, and across the Sahara.
Leo’s life journey starts in the late 15th Century, in Granada during the catholic Reconquista, then moves on to tolerant and welcoming North Africa, the beginning of many exciting adventures.
They are very different books, I've loved them all. I hope you enjoy them too!
Hehe, just realised I sounded a bit enthusiastic there... I am aware we will vote for one title only and we / you aren't expected to read all three - though I would recommend you do but that's another story!
Have to find a bit of time to complete the book today but Mr Jac and I will be there as near to 7.30 as we can. I think while our numbers are low we should stay in the bar as it's more social but the upstairs room may be of interest.
As always new members are always welcome so if you want to join us come along.
We will return the book club to the first Wednesday of the month, meaning that the next one will be on Wed 4th November, 7.30 at the Royal Oak in Tabard St. (but double check back here beforehand in case there has to be a change). The absence of music makes it a really good pub for discussion!
We will be discussing Leo the African / Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf.
Billing for Monday 2 November 2015 is Genevieve (1953).
It’s time for the annual London to Brighton antique car rally, and Alan McKim and Ambrose Claverhouse are not going to let their friendship stop them from trying to humiliate each other.