Pageturners lunchtime discussion of Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
For most of the lunchtime group, James Baldwin was a new discovery and the book intense and challenging.
Comments included: “absolutely brilliant but navigating the Pentecostal view was exhausting, well-written, voices sounded right for the characters, best bits were the chapters of John’s point of view, lots of depth, really glad I read it, a provocative book”.
Discussion ranged over many topics including the portrayal of intergenerational violence, the hypocrisy of the church and its leaders, how religion was something for the characters to hold on to and give them control of something in their lives. We talked about the depiction of homosexuality in the setting of the book and the 1950’s when it was written and how similar shop front churches still exist in Kenya in 2018.
Five star ratings were from 3 to 4.
A reading suggestion was to hunt out How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn (published in 1939) that has similar themes of rage, beauty, compassion and the sense of community centred around the church. You may like to delve into the controversy about Llewellyn’s authenticity whereas Baldwin’s writing is steeped in his own experiences.
Pageturners evening discussion of All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton
The evening group loved this book: the language, the storytelling and the portrayal of good and evil characters.
Comments included: relief that at last this was a book that could be enjoyed and savoured, a bit more of a male book, you could see in your mind what was described, interesting side stories such as the effects of the attack on Darwin brilliantly described, like Molly, the book is “poetic and graceful”, bit fantastical, those with good hearts make the book hopeful and uplifting.”
We talked about the symbolism depicted in the cover: the flowers, the butterfly and even Yukio’s plane; the awful reality of the family passing on their trauma; the extreme but believable characters; how did Longcoat Bob get this European garment?; the magical aspects of the Berry curse, the environment, the Aboriginal culture and how Molly sees the sky as her companion.
The 5 star ratings were very high between 4 and 5.
Wednesday 10 February 2021
Daytime Meeting: The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan
Evening Meeting: A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville
Wednesday 10 March 2021
Daytime Meeting: A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville
Evening Meeting: The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan
See you soon