I wonder if you are having the same feeling. I had actually no idea what the book was about, but the title, the cover, somehow made me think that this was going to be a story of hope, progress, maybe adventure. And up to now, I was wrong. Ghana must go has so far presented some family stories, migration, but mostly loneliness and melancholy. So I'm disappointed, cause I wasn't expecting a drama, but at the same time, it is very well written, so well it hurts at times. I still have about two thirds to finish, so the story, maybe hasn't actually started, and it turns out to be what I was expecting, but this is a hard beginning.
There are two things that catch my attention, the relationship of the characters with their houses/ homes (the story with the carpenter and the tree), and the family relationships, so close and so remote. Thoughts?
Oct 19, 2014
Does Undine after all that manipulation, live to a happy ending? I don't think so. If we can extract some conclusions here, I would say, enjoy the day! She is constantly wanting what she doesn't have and as soon as she gets it, ooopsss, something new on sight!
Did you like the end?
Sep 26, 2014
How are you enjoying the book so far? Does Undine's level of ambition and self-centrism still have the capacity to surprise you? What do you think about how the whole divorce and Mr. Van Degen story ended up? Did you feel sorry for Undine…? And what/who else do you think Undine will try to manipulate next to pursue what she thinks is of her right?
The book is certainly full of surprises...
Aug 22, 2014
Undine's ambition, bad taste, and selfishness seem to be growing as we advance in the book and her life.
In these chapters, the marriage takes place and the marriage ends. Does it happen too fast, too slow, or do you find it has the perfect pace?
We get to know Undine as a wife and mother, and we see how these "circumstances" don't seem to change much her aspirations and rhythm of life.
Although the book is a constant critic of the American society it portraits, at one point in these chapters the author provides a direct and explicit analysis of the man-woman relationship and "the customs of the country" through the character of Mr. Bowen. Do you agree with his vision? Do you think it belongs to the old times or do you see something of it in nowadays society? What about his perception of the European marriage?
Looking forward to keep reading your thoughts!
Aug 4, 2014
Is it me, or this Undine girl we have actually met somewhere? It is amazing how real the characters are! What do you think of her? She is capable of manipulating her own parents, but once out in society she is copying every other "high society" lady... Will she grow and become a more mature person by the end of the book? To me, this smells tragedy!
What about the descriptions of society? Have we made so much progress? New York versus South?
I was surprised to see that the story moved fast, we get the romance and the wedding, and there is a lot of pages still to go! This is no Jane Austen (not I critic, I love Austen) but this is going much farther, reviewing maybe "the customs of the country"...
Jul 21, 2014
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Posted by No Cookies Book Club at 4:16 PM
Jun 20, 2014
Life got busy and I have been postponing too long the wrap up post of our last book together. That, despite the fact that I had finished it some time ago. Not as soon as Mr. J, but long before the suggested schedule times. Once I started, I found it difficult to put it down.
So, without further ado (and excuses), how did you like the book?
By now I guess you have already read the interesting, exhaustive, and thought-provoking analysis of Jorge, to which I have very few (or nothing) to add in terms of wrapping up the story.
I have liked very much the book despite the uncomfortable feeling it left in me every time I closed it and thought about the story, the characters, the fatal coincidences… The third chapter was so far the hardest to read. The confession of Perry with the details of the crimes, the description of the Clutter's fear, their suffering, the absurdity of it all...
In brief, there are two things I kept thinking about while reading and after reading the book:
First, when considering Perry's life and how bad it had treated him, his personality issues and instabilities were somehow "understandable". The bad feelings, resentments, hates.. At times, I felt deeply sorry for him. Having said that, her only alive sister is there to show how you can choose a different way of facing very harsh circumstances.
However, with Dick is different. He had a normal, nice family, who loved him and took care of him. Does that mean he is intrinsically bad? Was he born with a mean, cruel nature that would show in any case? It seems Perry and Dick are two perfect examples to illustrate the Nature or Nurture? eternal question.
Second, and despite what I said above regarding my own suffering when reading about the Clutter's suffering, and the disgust about the crime and murderers, I still can't believe in the death penalty… That is a too complex and long debate to start here and now, but it is certainly an issue the book brings up.
What a wonderful book.
Maybe in the future we can explore more of Capote with Breakfast at Tiffany's?
May 10, 2014
In the second chapter the crime has already happened and Capote presents us the community trying to live through it, describing how the drama has affected the families in Holcomb.
We are introduced to Dewey and his desperate need to solve the crime. Also, we get to know the whereabouts of Dick and Perry after the murders, as well as some of Perry's past and life story.
For me (Macarena), too many questions are raised here.
Why does Capote present so much information about Perry? How do you see the character? How do you feel about the crime and the criminals as the story advances? Can you think at this point of a motive for the murders?
May 2, 2014
Hello readers! How is Capote going? For those reading about vampires, please note that there was a mixing among titles, but we are reading Truman Capote, maybe vampires for the next one...
So, for all that I know, I'm the one really behind this time, as I'm not reading THE BOOK.
And why is that? I mean, shame on me, but, I have some sort of excuse, I read "In Cold Blood" a few years ago... so I felt that I would read something else in the meanwhile... and I'm reading a bizarre African novel, difficult to read even in my native in Spanish...
So I would ask for your help in leading this conversation, I don't have all the details in my memory, so what should be discussing here? Take the lead!
Apr 9, 2014
Mar 13, 2014
I have enjoyed the book, but in different ways as I was advancing on its pages.
I find the first half of the book as a nostalgic description of the mostly nice memories the author has from his childhood in Nigeria. The manner how he describes that time of his life and the feelings he had to the land and people there made me remember my own chilhood in a place closer to Africa in several senses than many of the people I met as a child would admit now. This part is mostly about the boy and the view, through his candid eyes, of the world (the people, the animals, the landscapes) that was in front of him.
But then, almost suddenly, we start to learn about the African, about war, loneliness, the unfairness and unjustices of the colonialism and how all of them left a deep scar in the personality of the writer's father. That changed the life of the family too, and Le Clezio masterly uses the book to try to learn, to try to justify, to try to forgive his own father while at the same time criticizes the behaviour of the colonial powers and the greed of its people in Africa, the absurdity of the war and the everyday fight against death that we can still find in many developing countries. Instead of the child, we hear now the voice of the adult, the man trying to understand his father in an uncomprehensible world.
I find this book amazing because the author deals with all that social, psicological, antropological and even political complexity easily, in a quite short book, seemingly without any effort, as talking to a good friend while drinking a cup of tea. But the memories, the sentiments and the realities described are far from simple, far from easy to write about.
I think I will read more books that came out from your typewriter, monsieur Le Clezio.
Mar 2, 2014
In the second half of the book, we read a more intimate part of the story. Le Clezio talks about his father, his personality, his relationships with his children, with the people he works. He searches for the causes of what made his father an unhappy man, unable to show love for his children, and he blames the war. What else is there? Do you agree with this vision?
Feb 13, 2014
According to Geoff Wisner, it is worth reading The African "to learn more about the author's childhood, personality, and relationship with his father… for the sometimes elegant beauty of the prose".
However, "don't read it for its insights into Africa and its people. Why?
The most efficient way to explain is to say that The African scores high on the criteria set out in Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina's essay How to Write About Africa".
Really worth reading the criteria analysis here:
Feb 10, 2014
We travel into the youth of the author, to meet a French family that lives in the depths of Nigeria, and not far from Cameroon. We meet the characters, our boy, the father, the mother, the brother, basically the family. Le Clézio presents the situation, why they were there, what it was to be there, the change of moving to Africa after the war, meeting his father, meeting severity and having freedom at the same time. Is this family different? Or no matter that they were in the middle of nowhere, a family is a family with the same kind of issues? What strikes you most in the first part of the book?