Saturday, May 21, 2005

Heated Breakfast over Great Fire

"Great Fire" discussion at the Tec...20 May 2005 Posted by Hello


Well, Jen remembered to come this time, and we had a great discussion of the latest read, "The Great Fire" by Shirley Hazzard. If you haven't found the time to read the book yet, it will be well worth the effort. This is one of those books that if you were deserted on an island and could only have one book with you, this would be it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Aldred and Peter, Helen and Benedict

Hi Everyone,

Well, I finally finished reading the book, and I enjoyed Hazzard's writing style very much. I underlined the phrases in the book which I particularly enjoyed. I thought and thought about who became my favorite character. It was more difficult for me to single someone out than it had been in our past novels. I guess If forced to pick, I would have to choose Aldred. He seemed to overcome adversity. Even though he fell in love with someone much younger and more vulnerable than himself, he wasn't presented as deviant.

I liked some of the questions from picador. Question #4 regarding "destiny" and its role in the novel seems interesting. I also liked the role that illness or affliction played in the book. The theme which I sensed the most was the idea of resignation and whether a character resigned himself or herself to particular surroundings or circumstances or whether he or she fought for a better outcome. This idea seemed most central to me. The fact that Aldred Leith is a war hero who risked his own safety to insure that others would survive stood out in my mind. Peter Exley is often referred to as "unfortunate" or "unlucky" and in the end he winds up seriously ill, yet trying to save his tailor's daughter was an heroic act.
He seems unwilling to settle for any of the women in his office as life partners. He runs away from the career for which his parents wished he would settle. He leaves the country where he felt trapped. The woodcutter's son at the end of the book also strives to break away from what's expected from him for something better.

I think the paragraph where Aldred is describing how "free" he felt when he was running to save his fellow soldiers is important. The idea of entrapment and freedom comes up again and again. Benedict and Helen are described as imprisoned by their horrible parents. New Zealand seems like Helen's prison until she's able to escape with Aldred.

I don't want to bore, but those were some of my thoughts about the book.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May's Book Selection

Choosing a book has not been an easy task. As those of you who have already chosen a book have done, I hope I have chosen one that will be worth the time you will spend with it. In hopes of luring at least Angelo and perhaps others, I've chosen a non-fiction book. In honor of our new pope's choosing of the name Benedict, the book I have chosen is St Benedict and St Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way by Dwight Longenecker. http://www.dwightlongenecker.com . It has been a while since I've read it, but loved it when I did. Happy Reading!