Thanks Ruth for hosting a lovely and very busy anniversary meeting on Friday.
Review of the book first: we had all enjoyed The Hare with Amber Eyes, a really fascinating slice of 19th/20th century history told through the collection of netsuke, and Edmund’s family, the Ephrussi banking dynasty.
The first section was probably enjoyed least as it told the story of Charles, art collector and man about town in Paris. A lot of detail about the art and objects he collected which, whilst less interesting than the following section of the book, set the scene well. The book was at its best in the second part in Vienna, as it headed towards the dark days of the late 1930s and the inevitable outcome for the Jewish Ephrussis. Very moving, and with lots of interesting information about what happened in Vienna in those times, this section was gripping and very emotional. The ending was probably a little less successful, but Edmund himself says that he needed to stop his research and writing, so perhaps didn’t find the best way to end the book. But overall what a wonderful story, told in a simple style and fresh voice, and full of wonderful, real people like Elisabeth and Iggy. If you didn’t get round to reading it, highly recommended! And thanks to Ruth for photos of the Palais Ephrussi in Vienna.
Lots of other business to get on with, firstly congratulations to Candida, raffle winner, and recipient of a £12 book token.
Review of the year was interesting to see that this year we had not read a lot of fiction — poetry, short stories and non-fiction all featuring. Best book of the year was the very deserving The Hare with Amber Eyes, with A Severed Head and The Slaves of Solitude in joint second place. At the other end, the wooden spoon winner was Paying for it, with Underground, Overground in (a slightly harsh) 11th place.
Finally the all new picture quiz — Gillian retains her title as GGBC quiz champion with a worthy win, enjoy your prize. Anyone who wants to have a go, the quiz and answers are here.
And reading for next time was revealed, I have swapped with Sian as she is away in Namibia for the next few months, look forward to hearing all about it on your return!
March 14th – Youth by JM Coetzee, chosen by Sean.
April 11th – Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara, chosen by me.
Choosing next — Steve – your first choice….