What an overwhelming response to Pageturners to restart the year with 16 bookclubbers joining in the discussion of Richard Flanagan’s First Person – the first book he has written since his Man Booker prize winning Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Discussion centred around the writing, the characters, satire, philosophy, significance of owning a lot of cats, memoir and fiction, good and evil, North Korea, truth and fake news.
Comments included: ”flashes of good parts, didn’t make it through the first 100 pages, didn’t grab me, there are some slow bits, it is very circular, about the agony and ecstasy of writing, I wanted to find out what happened, I didn’t find it interesting until I realised it was based on the true experience of the author, it had an ambiguous ending, thought-provoking, quite depressing and negative, there was an attraction to evil, could feel the horror he was feeling, enjoyed it overall.” While there was general dislike for the book and its characters, some still enjoyed the work. And the all important rating out of 5 stars was an average of 3 stars for this book.
Here is some extra reading and listening – the conman Siegfried Heidl in the book is based on the real life fraudster John Friedrich: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Friedrich_(fraudster)
A review in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/04/first-person-by-richard-flanagan-review
Listen to author Richard Flanagan talk about his book First Person on the ABC’s Conversations: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/conversations-richard-flanagan/9032374
The next meeting will be held on 14th March to talk about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Then 11th April we will discuss The Cage by Lloyd Jones
On 9th May we will chat about Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut.