Morning guys and girls.
A great (and in depth) discussion was held on Friday about Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Despite not many of the group having managed to finish the book, there was still lots to talk about!
Welcome to our new members – Katia, Eszter, Anna, Philip and Julia – it was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you at our next book club! It was also great to see so many of the old guard too – Bela, Sangria Sophia, Sally, Louis, Courtney, Hannah, Bad Kelly, Tatiana. Gemma, Southern Lauren, Little Kelly, and Jess – you were missed!
All agreed that the book was incredibly difficult to start but, once you got into the story it was well worth it. The non-linear style (something which, traditionally, the Lausanne Book Club has not liked, was sometimes frustrating but overall, we felt, gave a good sense of the confusion felt by all characters in the book.
There were lots of discussions about a variety of topics. We explored memory and whether it was better to remember or forget events from the past. Do you have to say and explain something for people to understand it? We were all stuck by the following quote:
A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else. Dorrigo Evans never knew if he had read this or made it up. Made up, mixed up and broken down. Relentlessly broken down.
Is it our duty to remember the atrocities of the past and teach the younger generations about what happened to our grandfathers and great-grandfathers?
We talked about the role of justice. Philip reminded us of another great quote from the book:
Memory is the true justice, sir.
Or, the creator of new horrors. Memory’s only like justice, Bonox, because it’s another wrong idea that makes people feel right.
We talked about the fact that history is written by the victors (that Churchill new a bon mot when he saw one, didn’t he?) There was a little discussion on two famous psychological studies: the Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram’s Obedience Research and what that said about all of us having the capability to be “evil”.
There was a long discussion about leadership, and whether there are natural leaders in the world. What makes a good leader? Do you have to feel like a leader to be a leader? Are there natural leaders of men who aren’t necessarily in a position of leadership?
We explored the prisoners need to hold onto something and how important this was to each different character. Does it matter what it is if it gives you an identity? There were also discussions about the humour in the novel, the topic of expectations and marriage, and poetry.
If you’d like to read more about the book, Sally very kindly gave me some articles she’d found:
I think the book can be summed up by a text I received later that weekend.
Finished the book. I either hate it or love it. I think love.
All in all, a fine choice! Over Christmas, we’ll be reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father.
When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection.
Doodle is now up for the next meeting. If you can all send me the name of the book you (eventually) got as your secret santa, I’ll distribute a list!
Happy Christmas book clubbers 🙂