Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for March 2018
March 14, 2018
Bookclub members brought their personal choices in the area of fantasy to last month’s meeting. The initial selection was West Indian Stories, edited by Andrew Salkey. The discussion centered on a Jamaican tale of the interaction between an American white woman and a Jamaican black man. Since the narration included the characters’ thoughts and perceptions as well as the events portrayed, it led to a deeper discussion of prejudice, assumptions people make about each other, and how actions and reactions can lead people to question themselves in these areas, leading to more genuine understanding of themselves and others.
The second book presented was Sun Warrior by P.C. Cast. This book is the second of a series, “Tales of the New World”. Its setting is a post-apocalyptic world, where humans and animals struggle with and against each other, and appear in forms both familiar and altered. Discussion of this book led to an attempt to sort the characteristics of fantasy in general. Members felt that fantasy usually included imaginary characters and events with symbol and metaphor, an underlying message or moral, generally happy endings, and illustrations of the increased strength of groups rather than individuals (although heroes and heroines play a large role too). Fantasy is read often as an escape from real world issues and conflicts.
The Sight by David Clement-Davies was presented next, and tells the story of a heroine who can see and experience events through the perspective of animals, such as bird and wolf. The book is also the story of her journey. The reader described a spiritual allegory in the story of the white wolf, and themes of dark vs. light, good vs. evil presented in the story. The function of fantasy as both escape and an uplifting story was discussed.
The last book presented was Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. The book is the story of a group who had solved a mystery as teenagers, and re-unite 13 years later. It has a supernatural theme, as each of the former group members feel “called” back to the haunted house that was the scene of their former triumph, and each one upends his or her life to come back. The book includes horror, humor, fantasy, and tributes to former books in all of those genres.
Overall, this bookclub meeting included a wide range of books under the umbrella of the “fantasy” theme, and deeper discussions of topics generated by the books and their readers. A generous thank you to all who came and shared!