Meopham

BC2: The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Just like Kate Atkinson she won awards for this novel as a new and up and coming author. Her starting point was a visit to Holland where she saw The Outmann's Cabinet House in The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The Dutch were reportedly the richest European country at the time and would display their homes in such cabinets to "show off" their wealth. Some pieces costing extortionate amounts of money. But there is a twist to The Brant cabinet. You can listen to it on The Book at Bedtime BBC I- player and there is also an interview with Jessie on I- player too.

Thursday 28th February:
Every one present signed in - there were 10 of us. Jackie Day, Anne Oxteby, Barbara Levick, Sue White, Jane Self, Christine Clark, Alison Hillman, Moira Green, Nick and myself.
We all gave a brief summing up of what we thought of the book in turn which started mini discussions as we progressed round the table. This then led to further observations by various people which Nick and I steered into answering a few of the questions we had with us. As a whole, most of the group did enjoy the book with a few reservations about the character of the miniaturist. Some read it on one level and a couple thought there was a certain degree of fantasy/imagination involved.

We discussed how Dutch paintings of the time were reflected in the way of life depicted in the story, that of a Puritanical exterior for the ‘public’ and underneath the surface were strong emotions and events occurring that were considered unacceptable at the time. There was a discussion about black people and their situation within society at the time and about the pregnancy of an unmarried woman. We covered more or less everything, homosexuality, the relationships between the members of the household, even how shocking some of the events were at intervals throughout the book e.g. the killing of the dog.

When we had drawn things to a close, we distributed the new books and talked briefly about the book for April. When we mentioned 'The Siege’, there were seemed to be some resistance. After a quick search through notebooks to remember some ideas we had discussed at earlier meetings we made a short list to present to the librarian and she found the first on the list was available and ordered it, that was ‘Dead Simple’ by Peter James. It seemed to be a popular choice!
Gillian Noakes
(and Nick chipped in too)