Review – The Pregnant Widow

Title: The Pregnant Widow

Author: Martin Amis

                                                                Dean’s pick

A novel which is essentially a male perspective on feminism is always fraught with danger. Especially if the main character of said novel is a randy 20 year old male whose main concerns in life are his sexual conquests. And yet, this is what Martin Amis has done in his latest satirical offering, The Pregnant Widow.

Set at the start of the sexual revolution, which Amis describes as ‘a time when girls began acting like boys and boys went on acting like boys’. The pregnant widow has at its centre, Keith Nearing, a 20 year old intellectual who spends the summer of 1970 in an Italian castle with his girlfriend Lily and her best friend Scheherazade. Keith longs to sleep with Scheherazade, the glamorous, and for most part, unattainable beauty who strolls around the castle grounds topless, and causes near riots when she walks down the street. When Keith eventually has his desires fulfilled from an unexpected source the experience haunts him for the rest of his life. 

With the exception of Keith’s sister, Violet, who is a tragic victim of the sexual revolution due to her exuberant promiscuity, the majority of the characters in The pregnant widow are thoroughly unlikable. This is however, not always a negative, as the characters struggle to come to terms with the consequences of their actions in a time when all the rules of sexual engagement are changing. It would almost be tragic, if they weren’t so conceited and their predicaments so deserved and so comical.

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Review of ‘The Darcys and the Bingleys’

Title: The Darcys and the Bingleys: a tale of two gentlemen’s marriages to two most devoted sisters  

Author: Marsha Altman

                                                                                                     Sarah’s Pick

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular books written in English. If you loved the original and want more this is one author’s interpretation of what may have happened after Darcy and Bingley married Elizabeth and Jane.  

I found it a humorous book, not quite in Jane Austen’s style. I found the ending a little distracting however overall it was fun to read. It contains most of the characters in the original and shows us a new side to Mr Darcy. It adds some flashbacks to Darcy’s earlier days, a new generation Bingleys and Darcys, another marriage thwarted and ends as it begins, with marriage.

If you like the idea of a sequel to Pride and Prejudice you may also want to try the following:- 

Darcy & Elizabeth: nights and days at Pemberley: Pride and Prejudice continues- Linda Berdoll

Darcy’s temptation: a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice- Regina Jeffers 

Impulse and initiative: what if Mr Darcy didn’t take no for an answer? – Abigail Reynolds 

The Pemberley chronicles (series)- Rebecca Ann Collins

Mr Darcy takes a wife: Pride and Prejudice continues- Linda Berdoll

Mr Darcy’s decision: a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – Juliette Shapiro

Pemberley- Emma Tennant 

An unequal marriage: Pride and Prejudice continued- Emma Tennant

A private performance: continuing Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice- Helen halstead 

Or for a twist try:-

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: dawn of the dreadfuls- Steve Hockett 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the classic regency romance: now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem- Seth Grahame- Smith

Other books based on Jane Austen’s works:- 

Austenland: a novel- Shannon Hale

Becoming Elizabeth Bennet: create your own Jane Austen adventure – Emma Campbell Walker 

The Jane Austen book club – Karen Joy Fowler            

Sense and sensibility and sea monsters – Ben H. Winters 

So you think you know Jane Austen? A literary quizbook – John Sutherland and Deirdre La Faye

I was Jane Austen’s best friend – Cora Harrison 

Me and Mr Darcy: a novel- Alexandra Potter

Mr Darcy’s diary – Maya Slater  

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The winner of Miles Franklin Award

Well, I wanted to be able to tell you at the first instance, but it’s not. Still hopefully it’s not too late to let you know that this years Miles Franklin Literary award goes to Peter Temple for his novel ‘Truth‘. It’s the first time, since 1957, the award started, that the nation’s most prestigious literary award goes to a crime writer.

Congratulations to the author. Truth is a story about murder, corruption, family, friends, honour, honesty, deceit, love, betrayal - and truth. A stunning story about contemporary Australian life, Truth is written with great moral sophistication.

Parramatta City Library has copies available for loans. Enjoy reading it. 

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Orange Prize for Fiction

http://www.orangeprize.co.uk/show/feature/orange-2010-winner

This year Orange Prize for Fiction goes to Barbara Kingsolver for her new novel ‘The Lacuna’. Chair of judges, Daisy Goodwin, praises that "We choose The Lucuna, because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy. "

Parramatta City Library has this title available for loan.

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2nd Tus Evening Reading Group Discussion Notes

Author: Abdellah Taia

Title: Salvation Army

It is an autobiographical novel and translated from French. The story starts in a poverty stricken town in Morocco where Taia spent his childhood, bound by family order and latent sexual tensions. As a young adult, he falls for an older man who introduces him to Europe, the possibility of leaving home and leaving its repressive social mores behind.

 

  • The group members thought the book was about Taia at a moment of transition between being a nice Moroccan boy and that of an adult. He was one of nine children in the family.
  • This book is also about poverty and sexual tourism and its benign and cruel side. Money is an obsession in a poor country such as Morocco where the average wage is minuscule and a man feels like a man only when he can bring home a basket full of vegetables and meat.
  • It was interesting read, allowing the reader to travel through places such as Morocco, Geneva, Switzerland.
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