In case I’m developing any kind of readership, I’ll follow-up on my last review of Lolita – we hosted our book club this week and the conversations that came about were great. Notable were the discussions about paedophilia through the ages, responsibilities of parenthood, and the mastery of Nabokov’s prose. With the evidence that it was the latest I’ve been out at a weeknight book club, I certainly recommend this as a great book club selection.
Our book club chose Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for our next read, moving from “the only convincing love story of our century” to “the most romantic novel in years”. Recognizing also the move forward from 1955 to 2001 and down the ranks of the ‘must read’ cannon, I adjusted my expectations accordingly. No need – I was wonderfully surprised by the beauty, skill, and poetry of Patchett. Bel Canto evidenced the kind of writing that left me in want of multiple bookmarks to mark passages to re-read and, later, to copy out: “It had occurred to him in his life that he had the soul of a machine and was only capable of motion when someone else turned the key.” And: “It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience… There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.” Yes, emphatically yes, her other titles are now on my radar.
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