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2018 Book Reviews

A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale - January 2018


At our January meeting we discussed A Perfectly Good Man” by Patrick Gale.  The novel is about Barnaby Johnson, a parish priest in a small town in the far west of Cornwall. 


The book starts with Barnaby being present at the suicide of Lenny, a young parishioner who was paralysed in a rugby accident.  The novel then recounts the story of Barnaby, Lenny, their families and of Modest Carlsson, a very unpleasant character.


The majority of the group enjoyed the book, found it to be an enjoyable and interesting read and would like to read another of Patrick Gale’s novels.


However as frequently happens in our group a minority didn’t like the book at all.


Andy Moir

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison - February 2018


At our February meeting we discussed The Silent wife”.  This is the only novel written by A.S.A Harrison, a Canadian, who sadly died of cancer shortly before her novel was published.


The novel is about  Jodi and Todd, an affluent couple who have lived together in Chicago for more than twenty years but who never married.

The book tells the story of what happens when Todd, who has had several previous affairs, decides to leave Jodi for a much younger woman, the daughter of his best friend.


The vast majority of the group really enjoyed the book and one member said, “I loved this book and once I’d started, looked forward to reading it more than any book I can remember recently”.   People liked how the author told us about Jodi and Todd’s earlier lives which help to explain their characters and actions.


People also found the novel very amusing in parts and the twist at the end was very unexpected and we had a discussion at the meeting about who was responsible.


However as frequently happens in our group, a minority of members didn’t like the book.


Andy Moir


The Beginner’s Guide by Anne Tyler - March 2018

Because of winter break holidays and members’ other commitments, those attending this month’s meeting, to discuss The Beginner’s Guide by Anne Taylor, comprised a much-depleted group. However, the combination of a lively discussion and the inclusion of written critiques by those unable to attend, ensured the book was fully discussed. As is often the case, there were sharp divisions of opinion


For some, the author’s writing style was pleasing, and this was reflected in their enjoyment of the novel. Amongst the comments of those in favour were ”The novel was very funny in places and very sad and moving in others”. Another comment was “A wonderful mixture of humour and grief”. However, there were those who felt that “The whole story seemed to be lightweight, unconvincing and as dull as ditch water”. Another view was simply “Not for me”. There were also those who neither enthused over nor dismissed the book. What was a common observation with the majority was that the central character, Aaron, seemed much older than the thirty-odd years given him.


Another enjoyable afternoon’s discussion.


Harry Franklin


Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf - April 2018


At our April meeting we discussed Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.  The novel, like all the author’s books, is set in the fictional town of Holt in western Colorado.


The book tells the story of Addie and Louis who are both in their sixties, retired and widowed.  They find an unusual way of cope with their loneliness.


The majority of the group really enjoyed the book and thought that  it was beautifully written with very believable characters with understandable motivations.


However as usually happens in our group we didn’t all agree and some members thought that the book was meandering and rather boring.

Andy Moir






This page last edited on 30 April 2018