West Cheshire Rural

Pageturners (Reading 2)

A review from Marian Hagan of the latest book - The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy:
The World's Wife is a collection of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy published in 1999 written from the perspective of the wives of the famous men portrayed in fiction, legends and history. These clever and humorous poems send a clear feminist message and add a novel twist to stories we already know.

The themes of the poems cover the complexities of gender relations and the roles of women with a focus on their ill-treatment and how this has endured through the centuries. As the female characters tell their own side of the story, the poems tackle a variety of every-day issues such as marriage, sex, love, motherhood and a range of emotional experiences including jealousy, desire, loneliness and self-loathing.

The title "The World's Wife" is a joke and a comment on a commonplace expression - The world and his wife" to denote that it is still a man's world.

Our third book was "The Land Agent" by J David Simons. I chose this book because it is set in 1920s Palestine and I was interested in learning more about the British presence there.

On a simple level this is a novel of passion and action and is full of suspense. The plot is gripping and fast-paced and introduces us to a variety of well-depicted characters, who represent the diverse population living in Palestine at that time and bring the narrative alive.

Lev is the principal protagonist for whom you feel sympathy from the start, when abandonment by his father leads him to leave anti-Semitic Poland for Palestine, following Sarah and her friends from the Zionist Young Guard, parting company with them there because he doesn't share their ideology. However, his future life is shaped by events over which he has little control.

The novel deals with a variety of themes such as identity, anti-semitism, idealism, community, displacement and alcoholism. It is written from a Jewish perspective, but one which recognises the rights of the Bedouins and the Arabs I felt, epitomised by the character of Sammy, the chief Land Agent, who tries to be fair to all sides. The central plot revolves around the struggle for ownership of an uncharted strategic piece of land with access to river water, vital for the neighbouring kibbutz, where Lev meets and falls in love with Celia. The author uses Celia's letters to her friend Charlotte as a device to describe the toll of everyday life at the kibbutz and the disputes between Zionists, Communists and Socialists there. The deteriorating security situation and increasing enmity between Arabs and Jews really drives the tense narrative.

The author creates a vivid picture of Palestine, a land of stark beauty and amazing light, riven by disputes and mistrust which continue into modern times.

Contacts for Linda
By e-mail - please click on the mail icon and follow the instructions.

More Group Pages
Art Appreciation Chapter chat (Reading 1) Cryptic Crosswords Dining 1
Dining 2 Discussion Drawing Historic Houses
Home Cinema1 Home Cinema2 Map Reading for Walkers Music Appreciation
Our Photo Album Pageturners (Reading 2) Plants and Gardens Poetry for Pleasure
Sunday Lunch Group Ukulele Walking Group
More Group Pages
Art Appreciation Chapter chat (Reading 1)
Cryptic Crosswords Dining 1
Dining 2 Discussion
Drawing Historic Houses
Home Cinema1 Home Cinema2
Map Reading for Walkers Music Appreciation
Our Photo Album Pageturners (Reading 2)
Plants and Gardens Poetry for Pleasure
Sunday Lunch Group Ukulele
Walking Group