Lovely book group

Last night I went to my first group to discuss Unravelling, arranged through Feya, one of my writing students. What a lovely experience! The group is called ‘The Common Reader’ – a slant on Alan Bennett’s ‘The Uncommon Reader – and they were so nice – lively, intelligent, fun, but serious about books and reading.

They had all read Unravelling and seemed to enjoy it. They certainly spoke with knowledge and enthusiam. They asked lots of questions about the original idea and how much was there from the beginning and how much evolved.

There was lots of discussion about the characters – who was nice, who wasn’t. Nobody seemed to like Gerald very much. In the reading group guide, I ask ‘Do you find Gerald a monster or a magnetic character?’ For me he’s both – his personality is so huge, so dominating that its power is almost monstrous. I completely understand his attraction for Vanessa, but can see why others might not feel the same. And I probably wouldn’t last five minutes in a relationship with him, especially as I’m passionate about my work. But it would be interesting to give a try!

Something that touched me at the book group was when one person said how sad she felt when Josie (Vanessa’s younger business partner) and her boyfriend end their relationship because it was difficult for intense passion for her work and a serious relationship to co-exist. This is a small but significant part of the novel, as it ties in with a key theme, and it was so nice that someone had picked it up.

Overall, meeting the group was really enjoyable – and that’s without taking the delicious scones, cream and fresh fruit into account!

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