Wed. Jun 15,
Blue Heron Books Studio,
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.
Wed. May 18,
Blue Heron Books Studio,
Anita Rau Badami explains that “The Hero’s Walk is a novel about so many things: loss, disappointment, choices and the importance of coming to terms with yourself and the circumstances of your life without losing the dignity embedded in all of us. At one level it is about heroism – not the hero of the classic epic, those enormous god-sized heroes – but my fascination with the day-to-day heroes and the heroism that’s needed to survive all the unexpected disasters and pitfalls of life.”
First 2016 Book club met on Wednesday February 17th to discuss All the Light We Cannot See, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Anthony Doerr.
Next meeting will be held in store/studio on March 16th. The book we will be reading is Ian McEwan’s The Children Act.
than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.
But Fiona’s professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But Jack doesn’t leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case–as well as her crumbling marriage–tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.
Wednesday, Jan. 21: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Presented by Nathalie, hosted by Leena (time TBD)
Wednesday, Feb. 18: Adult Onset by Anne Marie Macdonald: Presented by Lesa, hosted by Veronica: 6:30pm
Wednesday, Mar. 18: The Master Butcher’s Singing Club by Louise Erdrich: Presented by Chris Chown, Location TBA: 6:30pm
Book Club Pick for March – The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
March 20th 6:30pm dinner, 7:30pm discussion
Doris Lessing’s contemporary gothic horror story—centered on the birth of a baby who seems less than human—probes society’s unwillingness to recognize its own brutality.Harriet and David Lovatt, parents of four children, have created an idyll of domestic bliss in defiance of the social trends of late 1960s England. While around them crime and unrest surge, the Lovatts are certain that their old-fashioned contentment can protect them from the world outside—until the birth of their fifth baby. Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong and violent, Ben has nothing innocent or infant-like about him. As he grows older and more terrifying, Harriet finds she cannot love him, David cannot bring himself to touch him, and their four older children are afraid of him. Understanding that he will never be accepted anywhere, Harriet and David are torn between their instincts as parents and their shocked reaction to this fierce and unlovable child whose existence shatters their belief in a benign world.
Book Club Pick for February – The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta
February 20th 6:30pm dinner, 7:30pm discussion
From the writer praised as a cross between Hitchcock and Dostoyevsky, a dark and suspenseful novel set in post-war Vienna among the spectators in a criminal trial
Shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Mid-summer, 1948. Two strangers, Anna Beer and young Robert Seidel, meet on a train as they return to Vienna, where life is just resuming after the upheavals of war. Men who were conscripted into the German army are filtering back home, including Anna’s estranged husband, Dr. Anton Beer, who was held prisoner in a brutal Russian camp. But when Anna returns to their old apartment, she finds another man living there and her husband missing.
At his own house, Robert is greeted by a young maid with a deformed spine. The household is in disarray, with his mother addicted to narcotics and his stepfather, an industrialist and former Party member, hospitalized after a mysterious attack.
Determined to rebuild their lives, Anna and Robert each begin a dogged search for answers in a world where repression is the order of the day. Before long, they are reunited as spectators at a criminal trial set to deliver judgment on Austria’s Nazi crimes.
In The Crooked Maid, Dan Vyleta conjures up a city haunted by its sins and a people caught between the needs of the present and debts owed to the past.
Book Club Pick for January – My Best Stories by Alice Munro
Venue: Veronica’s Place
My Best Stories is a dazzling selection of stories—seventeen favourites chosen by the author from across her distinguished career. The stories are arranged in the order in which they were written, allowing even the most devoted Munro admirer to discover how her work developed. “Royal Beatings” shows us right away how far we are from the romantic world of happy endings. “The Albanian Virgin” smashes the idea that all of her stories are set in B.C. or in Ontario’s “Alice Munro Country.” “A Wilderness Station” breaks short story rules by transporting us back to the 1830s and then jumping forward more than a hundred years. And the final story, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” which was adapted into the film Away from Her, leads us far beyond the turkey-plucking world of young girls into unflinching old age.
Every story in this selection is superb. It is a book to read—and reread—very slowly, savouring each separate story. This collection of small masterpieces deserves a place in every book lover’s home.
November Pick – The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari
November 20th at The Tin Mill (6:30pm dinner; 7:30pm discussion)
Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist working for the Kabul Daily in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, Jahan. With the arrival of a summons for Rukhsana to appear before the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the family’s world is shattered.
October Book Club Pick
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
The Tin Mill, 6:30pm dinner; 7:30pm discussion