Unsheltered Discussion

Another great discussion at Pageturners about Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. “Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerising story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realise that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred – whether family or friends – and in the strength of the human spirit.” Quoted from bookbrowse.com

So our discussion covered the meaning of the title, characters, the structure – alternating from the present to the past, the falling down house, relationships, Trump, climate change, healthcare, employment, Vineland, Utopia, marriage and modern America.

Comments included “loved it, shows history repeats, took awhile to get invested in the characters, loved the history parts, I loved the modern part, Tig is amazing, it is two stories, the characters in each timeframe mirrored each other, it was about Trump without mentioning his name, big ideas – Creationism vs Darwinism, unsheltered was used right throughout the story, really resonated with me, about change and resilience, loved how the last line of the chapter was the heading for the next, Tig really stepped up, Zeke neglected his baby, loved Mary Treat, the house was integral to the story, the father-in-law was cranky, they had no solid foundation, loved the scene where they looked at Christmas lights, loved the mother-daughter talk about relationships, loved the scene with the husband’s student, I liked the way it ends, loved the use of quotes.”

Star ratings: Lots of 4 out of 5 for this one.

Fun-fact: Barbara Kingsolver changed the title from Unresolved to Unsheltered at the last minute!

Movie Casting: We also had a discussion about casting this book for a movie. Please let us know your suggestions. So far we have (with a few additions):

Willa: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Gillian Anderson

Iano: George Clooney

Nick: Nick Nolte, Clint Eastwood

Zeke: Ansel Engort, Max Irons

Tig: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander

Jorge: Karl Glusman

Mary Treat: Meryl Streep, Glenn Close

Thatcher: Colin Firth, Dominic West

Rose: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst

Polly: Natalie Portman

Charles Landis: Donald John Trump

Uri Carruth: Robert Duvall, Ed Harris

And our major transgression was to hand-washing ?

Next read: The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel and a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond by the Scottish author John Buchan. It was published in a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published as a book in October that year. It is our classic read for Wednesday 9 October 2019 from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Borrow the book or watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Other links (click on the light blue text):

Allen & Unwin discussion questions with links to Mary Treat and Vineland

Report on Kingsolver’s London talk with “love letter to millennials” quote

Interview with The Guardian

SMH Review

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