Saturday, 28 February 2009

February read – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.

The February meeting of the book group was well attended, with nine keen readers making it to the Old Library Centre, despite the rawness of the weather. We all enjoyed a leisurely discussion of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. Jean, who had selected the book, introduced her choice with an outline of the story.

Questions of morality and responsibility occupied a great deal of the discussion – was David’s decision the night his twins were born simply morally repugnant or was it understandable, forgivable, even, given the prevailing attitude of the time?

We talked a lot about the likeability of the main characters and the extent to which that might affect our judgements of their actions and attitudes. Most of us found merit in Kim Edwards’ writing, especially her descriptive passages and her evocation of a strong sense of place. There was less enthusiasm about the narrative aspects of this novel, some of us admitting that we gave up on the characters and their troubles long before the end of the story. In particular, quite a few were frustrated by David’s sudden death before the issues raised by his actions had been resolved and felt that, although his life had been deeply affected by the snap decision to send Phoebe away, and to lie about it, he had never really had to face what he had done.

As is often the case, our discussions wandered off topic, perfectly enjoyably, onto quite unrelated subjects – New Zealand, emigration from Shetland, what drove people to leave, recent and upcoming films at the Garrison Theatre, Shetland during the Second World War, food security and traditional farming in Shetland (sorry, my fault, but thanks to all for your input).

On the tasty treats front, Marghie saved the day, and my tum from rumbling all the way through, by bringing some delicious biscuits for us all – big thanks!