Books & Meetings

Next book:

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Meeting at Mary and Keith’s on Tuesday January 21st 7.30 pm

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a sub-continent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety— in search of meaning, and of love.

In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around one another, as though they have just met.

A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation—a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in—and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender.
Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness/arundhati-roy/9780241980767

The books after that:

1/ Cannery Row by John Steinbeck together with
2/ Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Date – to be arranged

1/ Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

One of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’

‘Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.’

Meet the gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists of Cannery Row in Monterey, California, during the Great Depression. They want to throw a party for their friend Doc, so Mack and the boys set about, in their own inimitable way, recruiting everyone in the neighbourhood to the cause. But along the way they can’t help but get involved in a little mischief and misadventure. It wouldn’t be Cannery Row if it was otherwise, now would it?

Packed with a ramshackle joi de vivre, Cannery Row is Steinback’s high-spirited tribute to his native California.

‘Uninhibited, bawdy, compassionate, inquisitive, deeply intelligent’ Daily Telegraph

https://www.waterstones.com/book/cannery-row/john-steinbeck/susan-shillinglaw/9780141185088

2/ Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

In Monterey, on the California Coast, Sweet Thursday is what they call the day after Lousy Wednesday – one of those days that’s just bad from the start. But Sweet Thursday is sunny and clear, a day when anything can happen. Returning to the scene of Cannery Row, Steinbeck brilliantly creates its bawdy, high-spirited world of bums, drunks and hookers, telling the story of what happened to everyone after the war. There are colourful characters old and new, all united by love, laughter and tears: Fauna, the latest madam at the Bear Flag brothel, Doc, still there for everyone else but feeling strangely sad himself, and Suzy, the new hustler in town who might just be the girl to save him.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/sweet-thursday/john-steinbeck/9780141185521

For more information about the book club and the books:

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