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This month’s book was ‘The Island of Missing Trees’ by Elif Sharak
This month's book was 'The Island of Missing Trees' by Elif Sharak. Published in 2021 it tells the story of two teenagers, one a Greek Cypriot and one a Turkish Cypriot, meeting in secret in a Nicosia Taverna in 1974, and falling in love against a backdrop of civil war and violence. The book covers three separate times -
The young couple reconnect 20 years after their initial forbidden romance, and relocate to London -
The book was generally well received. Most people found the descriptions of nature, the mysteries of inherited memory and the balance and relationships between species fascinating. In addition, the descriptions of the conflict within Cyprus and the continuing tensions were really interesting, with most people being unfamiliar with the level of violence and loss of life there in the 1970's.
Some people felt that the stories could have been explored in much more depth by the author, and felt that the plots were interesting but didn't really go anywhere. The use of the fig tree as an additional narrator also irritated some people, and it certainly was an easy means for the author to fill in narrative blanks!
Scores for the book ranged between 6 and 9 -
This month’s book was ‘Snap’ by Belinda Bauer
Published in 2018, it was longlisted for the Booker Prize in the same year -
The book opens with three children sitting in a sweltering, broken down car by the side of the motorway waiting for their mother to come back with help. When she doesn't, 11-
The book is inspired by the true story of a pregnant woman, Marie Wilks, who was murdered on the M50 in 1988 (the real-
The book then picks up three years later, with Jack and his sisters living alone, and Jack supporting them through criminal activities and doing his best to evade any scrutiny from the authorities. During the course of a burglary, Jack happens upon information that leads him to believe he has found his Mother's murderer and the story unfolds from there.
The book was generally pretty well received. Most people found it to be a 'page-
Scores for the book ranged from 4 and 9, with average coming out at 7.
Next Meeting Tuesday 15th June 2023
This month's book was 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' by Laurie R King. Published in 1994, it's an updated version of the classic Sherlock Holmes style mystery.
It features a long retired Sherlock Holmes pursuing his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. On the downs one day he meets a fiercely intelligent young woman called Mary Russell. Her aptitude for lateral thinking and detection results in an unlikely friendship, and Mary quickly becomes the apprentice of the book's title. After working together to solve some minor mysteries, the two then encounter a formidable opponent who tests their collective skills and their partnership.
The book had mixed reviews -
Scores for the book ranged from 4 to 7, with the average coming out at 5.5 -
Next month's book is 'I'm Not Scared' by Niccolo Ammaniti, and the next meeting is Tuesday 9th May
This month's book was 'A Spy Among Friends' by Ben Macintyre. Published in 2015, it tells the story of Kim Philby, the famous 'Third Man' in the Cambridge spy ring
Philby is portrayed as a charismatic, engaging bon viveur. A complicated private life, an eccentric family background and a love of parties and drinking are all described in a way that gives a clear impression of a certain strata of British society in a certain time in its history.
But beneath the charming persona was a man who was leading an increasingly dangerous double life. As a long established Soviet agent, having been recruited as a young man at Cambridge, he ruthlessly betrayed secrets ranging from anti-
The book prompted a really interesting discussion. Some book club members were enraged by the world portrayed and the casual cruelty of the 'old boys network'. Everyone was horrified by the sheer incompetence of 1940's and 50's secret intelligence services and the way in which the whole area of espionage was treated as a game -
The scores for the book reflected the really different views -
Judith Finney -
This month's book was 'I'm Not Scared' by Niccolo Ammaniti. Published in the UK in 2004, and translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt.
The book tells the story of 8 year old Michele Amitrano, and a discovery he makes in a dilapidated farmhouse in a baking hot and parched Southern Italy. The story is set around a tiny, impoverished rural village; where Michele and his friends explore the local countryside. Whilst carrying out a dare, Michele discovers a boy of his own age, held captive in a covered hole, with only tiny amounts of food and water.
As the story unfolds we discover that the boy has been kidnapped and is being held hostage awaiting payment of a huge ransom. As Michele starts to understand the involvement of his parents, and the parents of his friends, his confusion and fear are palpable.
The story is told entirely from Michele's perspective -
The book generated a really interesting discussion, and once again we had really polarised views. Some found the subject matter to be so disturbing that they found the book very difficult and not at all enjoyable. Others found the gaps in the story created by the child's narrative to be frustrating, and would have liked some of these gaps to be filled; especially as the story is being told some years later by the adult Michele. The ending was felt to be unsatisfactory by a few people, leaving too many questions unanswered.
In contrast, some people really enjoyed the book and found the sparse narrative interesting and unusual. Everyone seemed to agree that the author captured the landscape very well; with the sense of isolation, oppressive heat and undercurrent of violence really well described.
Scores for the book ranged from 4 to 9; with the average coming out at 6.5.
Next month's book is 'A Man Called Ove' by Fredrik Backman, and the next meeting is Tuesday 13th June.
|Last Night of the Proms
|Village Hall Commitee
|The Rock Inn
|The Royal Arms