May 2018 @ Liz’s House (missing Mary, Karen C, Sue, Kitty…did I miss anyone?)
NEW MEMBER: Welcome, Rose S.!
GENERAL CHATTER – So… I’ve been putting off writing this entry due to general busy-ness. And now I’m going to plead the same & pretty much skip this part. Suffice it to say, the food (apps, gazpacho & TWO sides, dessert) were yummy and we’re all doing pretty well. Here are some major announcements:
- Liz’s Son #1 is engaged!
- Surprise, surprise: she won’t kowtow Google’s mom-of-groom To Do list
- Viv & Family US citizenship status continues to progress!
- If there was something else major, I missed it. Apologies!
THE BOOK: Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey
Viviane picked this book mostly because she likes to select non-American books that aren’t too lengthy and have a rather artistic or at least rather literary bent. This one filled the bill perfectly.
Most of us read it or were pages away from finishing. And we said (paraphrasing):
- the book’s light, deft, breezy prose delivered increasingly diabolical plot twists and character reveals; not a fun read (for plot, esp.)
- the translation seemed quite adept and nuanced (we also trusted it due to the author’s other profession)
- Viviane opined that the setting is an exaggeration – it’s not all mafia thugs and grit
- did the author/mother ALWAYS write so oddly (and get rescued by her one Super Editor)? or did the latest manuscript reflect her degrading mental status? We leaned toward the former (as in, she was never well…at least since her daughter was conceived)
- we didn’t seem to really care about the romance (son/brother & translator); it was integral to some plot/character points & not poorly written…but somehow meh
- one of the most vivid moments/reveals is when the editor explains how and why he finally caved to extortion to save his loved one – a microcosm for why the status quo remains for so many (at least in this book’s geographical reach)
- interesting contrast to how the translator tries to disappear from her US-based life and doesn’t succeed very well (her fiancé tracks her down pretty easily; she’s often pushed aside as the interloper between siblings or to keep her invisible to the darker forces at hand)
- wanted to know more about the ‘rich relatives’ who supply some of the author’s funding… some sort of witches around a kettle…er, pile of money???
- some debate on how author/mom got into such bad debt… was it all due to writer’s block? remorse over hard truths left unrevealed and festering so many years? or just plain desperation/addiction? no clear resolution, but probably all 3
- some other debate if the ending equates to the author’s permanent demise or if there’s room for a sequel; we were leaning to the latter
NEXT MEETING: June 28th at Mary’s
Liz’s pick: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison