About the Whodunit Book Club

Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whodunit Book Club October 25, 2011

Eighteen Whodunit members turned out for the meeting on this damp and chilly evening.
The novel discussed this month was "The little stranger" by Sarah Waters. Including one vote made in absentia, the club's average rating for the book was 7.194 out of 10.
Like the familiar saying "Those who loved it, loved it a lot". Those who didn't, didn't. The reaction to the novel was polarized, with members voting either very high or very low.

The author, Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966. She earned her PhD in English literature in 1995 and soon after starting writing novels. Her books have been in the running for several prestigious literary awards including the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, and were shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize. A lesbian herself, she often portrays lesbians in her novels although she didn't in "The little stranger". Her fifth novel, it took her two and half years to write.
See her online interview discussing the writing of "The little stranger".

Positive praise from Whodunit members included such comments as "well-written"; "suspenseful"; "great characterization"; "great sense of place".
Negative comments included "too much detail"; "too long".

Written with consumate skill, the story was absorbing and could be interpreted many different ways. Hundreds Hall, the decaying house featured in the novel was a character unto itself and many said that they could perfectly picture it in their mind's eye.
Doctor Faraday, a rural physician and a bachelor, seemed to have aspirations to own the house with the elevated status it represented -- and some mentioned that he could be interpreted as 'the little stranger' as he visited the house as a child when his mother was a servant there. (Incidentally Sarah Waters' grandparents worked as servants in an English country house). A member commented that there is a 'little stranger' in all of us - that it is the dark part of our personality.

The setting was written so well that the reading of the novel was almost a visual experience. The novel was set in a time when there was a distinct and impassable divide between the social classes and the author aptly describes the social mores and customs of the time period. Somewhat gloomy and dark, Sarah Waters describes her work as being somewhat Dickensian.

The novel can be read as a gothic ghost story; a supernatural thriller, a psychological character study, or a historical mystery novel. All would be correct and the author leaves the decision up to the reader.

Congratulations to the lucky winners of five free novels this month:
Brenda (welcome back!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"The little stranger" by Sarah Waters

October's novel to be discussed in Whodunit is "The little stranger" by Sarah Waters. As luck would have it, I read this novel just days before it was announced as October's selection.
It is a particularly fitting selection for October as it has been described as a 'gothic ghost story'.
If anyone is interested they can read my review of "The little stranger" on my Fictionophile blog.

Whodunit Book Club September 27, 2011

With a scant showing of only twelve Whodunit members, September's club meeting was quieter than usual. The book selection this month was "Revenge of the lobster lover" by Hilary MacLeod. With 4 abstained and 8 voted, the novel received an average of 6.31 out of ten points.

It was said that although the novel was short on 'mystery', it was a FUN and light-hearted read with likeable characters. A good summer read. Positive comments proclaimed it to be well written with good descriptive passages. The more negative comments described the book as 'strange' and 'inconsistent'. It was noted that the cover was unusual and didn't tie in to the plot. Another comment was that readers would have liked to have had a map of the fictional place to refer to.

If there was a lesson to be learned from reading this novel it is that nathttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifure kicks butt. The plot had a long build-up to a tumultuous ending. Much like a storm can brew for days and then be over in a few minutes.

The author, Hilary MacLeod has spent the last 20 summers in a little house by the sea in Prince Edward Island, but lives the rest of the year in Ontario. She writes about islanders with fond affection.
For those who enjoyed the book there is a sequel entitled "Mind over mussels".

The lucky winners of free books this month were: Marlene, Betty, Brian and Cathy D.

Next month's selection is "The little stranger" by Sarah Waters.