From Hemingway to Flaubert, via Baudelaire

23 Oct

Last week’s classic bookclub, the Heminway-fest, went down very well. Up for discussion were Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. For some, this was virgin territory; I myself had never read any Hemingway, so it was good to see what all the fuss was about. Some people found his famously staccato style a trifle cold and unyeilding. I actually quite liked it, although having chosen The Old Man and The Sea first, I wasn’t quite sure what he was getting at to begin with. But by the end I was hooked. I didn’t expect there to be any sharks in it. I found that section pretty exciting. I also enjoyed Fiesta, but, as several of the bookclub members also felt, wasn’t quite sure what the big deal about Brett was. I couldn’t understand just how she managed to bed so many men without anyone getting more angry. And all the characters appear to be drinking non-stop. the whole way through the novel, though, I suppose, it is a ‘fiesta.’

For our next book, we have chosen Flaubert’s A Sentimental Education. I had originally suggested Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil, but realised soon afterwards that it is in fact a collection of poetry and not, as I had previously thought, a novel. Quelle ignoramus! And speaking of French, as a former Lyceen myself, I have decided that I have to read the Flaubert in French. If fourteen years in a French school is good for something, it’s being able to say: ‘Its much better in the French’ or something else to make people suddenly like me less. So I picked up an old, French language copy and about 7 pages in, have encoutntered about 200 words that I don’t know the meaning of. So, the story unfolds, albeit behind a slightly misty cloud of linguistic incoherence. Maybe by the 500th page, my French will have imporved. Here’s hoping…

The next classic book club meeting will take place on Monday 13th of December, at 7.30pm.

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