Some quotes from our discussion:
“Fairy tale style. A lot of free association. Told in the author’s grandmother’s tone of voice.”
“Not the kind of book I would read if I didn’t have to.”
“A little too bloodthirsty in some scenes.”
“Glad he spelled out the names.”
“The paragraphs are so incredibly long.”
“You can’t be tired when you’re reading this.”
“Ursula had too many people to deal with. They were too dysfunctional and weird.”
“I spent most of my time trying to remember the names.”
Was Ursula keeping things too nice for everyone?
She did throw out the son who married Rebeca.
“Thank God this is over.”
“This book shows that we are just so stupid. We keep repeating the same thing over and over. If the computer doesn’t work in thirty seconds we just buy a new one. This book is about progress versus not progress. I feel like if I read it a third time, I just might get it.”
“If you study opera you have to listen to Wagner even if you can’t stand him. The same is true of this book. If you study literature, you have to read it. A survey around 2000 or 2001. His first line was considered the best opening line. Most of the story is in that first line. Breathless drama packed into the beginning and the end. The middle felt like a bit of a slog.”
“Took a whole month to get through this book. A drinking from the firehose kind of thing. Some dark humor.”
“A friend’s most favorite book. I read and lost interest. The crazy dreamlike landscape dropped into a Salvatore Dali landscape. “
“I would love to discuss this book with a native of one of the Latin American countries to get their perspective.”
“Didn’t really like the character of Amaranta. Always going to the chart and wondering if I should finish this book.”
The group concluded that this book is definitely not light beach reading. One gets more out of the book by reading and then rereading. It was agreed by most participants that the discussion was helpful. Together, we understood more clearly some of the elements that make this novel great. We discussed ‘magical realism’ and the fact that not all Latin American writers use this style. It was agreed that the writing is absolutely beautiful. One can go to almost any page in the book and find lovely writing. Some of the group members renewed the book, determined to give it another go.
Thanks to Louise Goldstein, guest facilitator & blogger.