JByrnes appears on the Book Club stage, we all applaud as usual, except this time I don’t mean me and my vino, I am actually watching it LIVE with the real people in the real air. JByrne is sleeveless. It’s -2° outside and she’s sleeveless. I totally get why, someone has been working out and their delts are looking glorious but I’m going to have to put on a beanie if I can sit through such flagrant arm exposure in this weather.
JByrne’s tells us that the guests are Toni Jordan, Michael Williams and Virginia Gay, along with regulars Marieke Hardy and Jason Stegersaurussex. Turns out my phone has Stegersaurussex as predictive over Steger. It either knows me too well or it has a crush on Jason Steger. JByrne says that the new release to be discussed is LaRose by Louise Erdrich and it poses the question, “How do you make ammends, would breaking your own heart help heal others?” Sounds uplifting… But first, she will allow Toni to speak and introduce the classic.
Toni says she’s chosen Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. It’s a cosy-inkspilling-attemptedmurder-mystery. She’s a bit nervous because she loves it and doesn’t want to hear anything bad about it because she thinks it’s the greatest love story of all time. Rosie cheeked with glowing skin, she looks like a teenager discussing her first boyfriend. Gorgeous! Toni needn’t fear too much because Virginia is so overcome with emotion she squeals, “Me to.” They are now BFFs.
JByrne frowns at Virginia and cracks her whip, Virginia cowers suitably in fear. She has angered the overlord JByrne. JByrne permitted one person an exemption to speak. ONE! If Virginia goes missing… well, I’m just saying we might have our suspect.
JByrne regroups and begins the discussion of LaRose. It opens with a neighbour accidentally killing the 5 year old son of his neighbour and as is Native American custom he endevours to give his own son, LaRose, in return. It’s heartbreak from the get go. I have a five yearold girl and two year old twin boys so even the thought of being on either side of this has me in tears. You’d have to be a cold-hearted monster not to find this premise tragic.
Jason talks about the novel in terms of Shakespearean tragedy mixed with Native American custom. Virginia loves the book so much she literally kisses it. I like to think it kissed her back, she is just that divine. Toni mentions how the author uses magic realism in the novel to really make the cultural aspects come alive. And that this magic works seamlessly because it is so central to the belief systems depicted.
JByrne talks about Shakespeare again to back up the sheer scope of the tragedy… Michael says he was underwhelmed by the opening. He was a bit meh about the initial tragedy. If you want to impress the director of The Wheeler Centre you need to do more than kill a 5 year old in the first couple of pages. I love him so much, he’s just so blunt. He clearly has the man-flu and is feeling a little grumpy… Oh no. He’s right next to my dear Virginia, spray it with Glen 20 before it’s too late!
Marieke, who usually likes to be the voice of dissent can see that Man-flu Michael has that angle covered, so says how on board she is with the book. She even uses a metaphor about riding a plane in order to show her on boardedness.
Man-flu Michael points out this is Louise Erdrich’s 15th book and that she is quite excellent but seems to never get listed. He suspects it’s because she writes about marginalised cultures. He’s tired, he’s sick, and he is willing to dish the dirt.
JByrne says the book was amazing but she had to keep putting it down because it was just too rich. Now I want chocolate cake. Toni agrees. About the book, maybe about wanting cake too, but she doesn’t say anything about that.
Man-flu Michael says he liked the modern storyline so much that he sometimes resented the history stuff because he wanted to get back to the story.
Holy snapping dog poop, Man-flu Michael just randomly confesses he didn’t read the poems in Possession: A Romance. Virginia passes out. Toni clasps at her breaking heart. Someone needs to get Michael a lemsip. He’s delirious… yet I’m so in love with him and his snark. He’s seriously tempting me away from Stegersaurussex today.
Marieke thinks all the different voices are perfectly achieved. Virginia wants to read the other 14 books and JByrne wants to change cultures. She loves that they can apologise and make ammends whereas the Western world is so letigious that you couldn’t without risking financial ruin. Jason suggests that it’s also because young white kids are total whingers. They’d refuse to trade themselves and who would want them. He’s got a point.
People start talking about a character called Father Travis and how sexy he is. He appears in more of Louise Erdrich’s novels. Steam levels are rising. JByrne quickly starts talking about water in order to cool things down. She asks why there are so many water books and covers of late. Man-flu Michael says it’s because publishers are actually looking to capitalise on the last big thing rather than finding the next big thing. He is on fire tonight. More Michael! Jen says why are there so many death books, Michael responds with that it’s because the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. Oh, Man-flu Michael is even better than regular Michael. Who knew it could be possible? I have totally forgotten that Jason.
Onto the classic. Toni calls Gaudy Night her happy place. Virginia agrees that it is the greatest love story known to humankind. They’re obviously way too excited so Man-flu Michael will have to say something. I can pretty much hear Jaws music. Oh no, my bad, Marieke is back to her contrary form. She tells Toni and Virginia that their silly little book bored the pants off of her. The pants! She is literally pantless. I’m concerned that she is now in some sort of pants deficit where she can’t wear pants for another month. Marieke felt there wasn’t enough action, people went “ape shit over spilt ink,” and the love interest was a sex pest. There you go. Wimsey was just an “eloquent sex pest.”
Man-flu Michael sensing that he is being out snarked moves to strike. He calls Wimsey the most boring of all golden age detective. Virginia is so mad she can’t even speak.
Jason takes the middle ground, he said it was witty but needed a good edit. He always wants to give books a good chop. Pay attention authors, Jason wants less of you! The Latin also bothered him because he had to look it up because he couldn’t remember Latin as well as he would like too. Jason, keeping it real for the people at home.
Marieke says the women were all “biatches.” Virginia defends it by likening it to the feminist classic A Room of One’s Own. JByrne also liked the feminist aspect. Marieke points out that the lead character, Harriet Vane, gets MARRIED!!! And calls Harriet a “disparaging biatch.” Virginia says that maybe Marieke is the “biatch.” Marieke nearly dies laughing but manages to recover enough to say that all she wanted was “feminist Cluedo, without the sex pest,” and that’s not what she got.
Jason says he didn’t like Gaudy Night because he liked some other novel. Probably by Agatha Christie. JByrne points out that people can like more than one thing. This is like a revelation to Jason and his brain explodes. He begins talking to Virginia in Latin. She is charmed. And he’s won me back over from Man-flu Michael. I can’t believe I ever doubted you, Stegersaurussex. Let’s never fight again. Michael tries to get in on the gig but is simply quoting spells from Harry Potter. Let him take a nap! Michael, you have failed this romance.
Marieke thoughtfully adds that Gaudy Night could have used a good lesbian sex scene or two. I must read this book!
Onto Virginia pitching a book. It’s a cook book but not a cook book and it’s full of stuff… I’m confused. Hold me. I have no idea what is happening right now.
Next week will see Man-flu Michael return along with Rosie Waterland to discuss Before the Fall by Noah Hawley and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.
Can I just say…. BEST EPISODE EVER! That was fantastic. The drama, the passion. Death of a child through to sexy Cluedo, this episode had it all. Get these three guests on again. I am in heaven. HEAVEN. Book Club is happiness.
Catch up on last week’s recap here.
Watch on iView here.