May’s book The Salt Path by Raynor Winn initially looked unpromising but turned into a positive delight, even more so if you know the South West Coast path. The book centres on the story of Raynor and her husband Moth. Their troubles start with Moth being diagnosed with a terminal disease, this is then followed by the failure of their business resulting in the couple having no money and no home.
What would you do? Well they decide to walk the South West Coast path, all 630 miles of it. To say that they are ill-prepared and pretty clueless as to what they’ve let themselves in for forms the initial part of the book. The story continues with details of their walk along the coast from Somerset to Dorset. Well written and surprisingly informative, definitely a book worth reading.
An impressively large number of our group members decided to take off on holiday in June so, although they would obviously be reading voraciously while away, we decided not to have a meeting this month.
Hilary Mantel’s A Change of Climate was our July read.
Enjoyed by everybody in the group with the additional advantage, given the author is Hilary Mantel, of not being an historical novel.
The novel centres on Ralph and Anna Eldred and their 4 children. A life defined by their desire to do good, the impact of their family’s missionary past, memories of their time as missionaries in Africa all of which continue to affect their lives lived out in a large house in Norfolk.
This book was a delight to read, a family saga written by a consummately skilful author that you will really enjoy.
In August our task was to read Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
A book that was not generally liked by the group. A convoluted plot, partly autobiographical, being based on an affair of Greene’s, while also wandering into issues that Greene had with his Catholicism made it a difficult read. It’s worth noting that most critics have a different opinion of the book but, as I’ve said before, we do not pretend to be experts.
September’s read was Ant Middleton’s First Man In.
The opinion of the group was that this book is a bit so-so. It’s the story of the author’s life in the military, especially his 4 years in the Special Boat Section, what happened to him after he left the forces and what he learnt from his life’s experiences. The group’s view was that although his experiences and views may be of interest we’re at a stage in our lives where we are happy with who we are and don’t propose to change anything.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan was October’s book. Although generally liked the view was that this is a book of two halves with a number of group members feeling that it would have been better if it had stopped halfway through!
The story initially revolves around Anthony Peardew the keeper of lost things, a position created by him losing, 40 years ago, a keepsake from his fiancé on the same day that she unexpectedly died. From that point he rescues lost objects, items dropped, left behind or mislaid, files them, writes stories about them. As he reaches the end of his life he bequeaths this treasure trove of objects to Laura, his housekeeper, with the instruction to try and find the owners of the lost things. So far so good, the remainder of the book, involves Laura, in conjunction with a varied group of characters, trying to fulfil Anthony’s wishes. It is this second half of the book which to some of us was a bit of an unsatisfactory mish-mash.
Group report by Colin Hewitt