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Fiction Read - Instructions For A Heatwave - Maggie O'Farrell

  • May 13, 2014 · 7:30 PM
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Thanks to Mala for nominating and leading the discussion at April's bookclub - so many interesting themes and perspectives. 

May's read is nominated by Emma. 

It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.

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  • Mala M.

    Good to see everyone, really good and varied discussion! thank you to Emma for chairing and posing some interesting questions! :-) x

    May 14, 2014

  • Louise O.

    Sorry I've got to cancel at the last minute. I read the book but despite enjoying the themes I could not get over the timeline problems. I found it hard to accept that Robert was giving the girl his sugar rations which started in Jan 1940 but got round to marrying her, be called up, trained and in France by June. The biggest problem is that Micheal was born at the earliest Feb 1946, he was at least 10 when Aoife was born, and if Aoife was 14 when Hugh was conceived he was 24 but what did he do between his degree and phd? Hugh is 9 so Micheal must be at least 33 in the book set in 1976 but born in 1946. This may say more about me but I found that Maggie O'Farrel forced too many time problems just to fit in Dunkirk and the summer of 1976.

    May 13, 2014

  • Kumar

    Hey folks, i am sorry to say i wont make it tonite. Ended up stuck at work longer than expected :(. Looking forward to the next one!

    May 13, 2014

  • Steph B

    I'm sorry to say I now can't make tonight. I was really looking forward to it, hope to make the next one. Steph x

    May 13, 2014

  • Jacquie

    Many apologies but unable to make it this evening. X

    May 13, 2014

  • Emma B.

    Hello Bookclubbers! Just wondering who is hosting now Claire is away with work? I have said I will do it but have not heard back from her yet. Has anyone else volunteered? If not, I don't mind doing it. Also, I know it's a bit lazy repeating this as I did it last time I chaired a discussion but if everyone could think think if 3 words to sum up their opinions of the book, I though we could start the discussion by going round the cirle telling eachother our 3 choices. See you all tomorrow!

    2 · May 12, 2014

    • Mala M.

      Looking forward to the book club discussion tonight!! Fab book Emma, very heartwarming! No probs with helping out Claire! Will get there early and made some orange/almond cake for everyone to enjoy! Xx

      1 · May 13, 2014

    • Emma B.

      Hope Germany is fun Claire! Mala I am saving room for pudding tonight and cannot wait for yummy cake, see you soon xxx

      1 · May 13, 2014

  • Robert

    Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to say, having finished Instructions for a Heatwave yesterday, that I very much enjoyed it.

    Focusing on the elements I most liked about the book I was particularly impressed by the depth of each character and the utterly believable family dynamic that Maggie O'Farrell was able to portray in just over 300 pages. I loved the complex relationships between each of the characters, particularly those between the three siblings - the rivalries, similarities, etc.

    I also liked the fact that the story didn't feel the need to wrap up all of its loose ends with a neat bow, but instead left each character with their own dilemmas and issues yet to deal with, which felt like a more natural and relatable conclusion to me.

    There were of course elements to the book which I liked less, but those can be saved for another time.

    Anyway, I hope that you all enjoy the book club meeting this evening. I'm very much looking forward to the next meeting and book :)

    Take care,

    1 · May 13, 2014

  • Fiona H.

    apologies I'm working in Australia next week

    May 7, 2014

  • Robert

    So I've bought myself a copy of this for my upcoming work trip. Hoping to get through it during my 11 hour flight this Saturday!

    If I'm successful then I'll definitely post some thoughts and opinions early next week :)

    May 6, 2014

  • Sarah C.

    I hope to make as coincidentally I read this book over Easter....

    May 6, 2014

  • Fran

    I'm away with work so sadly can't make it - have read the book before though so will be interested to hear what people think. See you in June!

    April 23, 2014

  • Robert

    I'm sorry to say that I probably won't be able to make the next meeting. Rest assured that my non-attendance has nothing to do with any lingering bitterness on my behalf regarding my book nomination not being selected, but is simply due to work commitments ;)

    Out of curiosity I will still try to read the new book and will post my thoughts if/when I get around to it. Otherwise I hope to be present for the June meeting :)

    1 · April 22, 2014

  • John M.

    Oh dear cannot make another book meeting - counselling can be reached at www....... If you enjoyed The Shock Of The Fall you may enjoy Pigeon English ( of course you may not! ) by Stephen Kelman which should have won the Booker prize instead of the sanctimonious Julian Barnes - this book also has a strong emotional and literary integrity ( well for me anyway ). Read The Finkler Question for an online book club which is an intriguing book with many layers. I cannot describe it as an easy read but it is fascinating and looks at, from numerous perspectives, what being Jewish means. Having said that most of the other readers thought it was a self indulgent navel gazing middle class introspective bore. So reading it might be a test of my recommendation!! Have an enjoyable Easter break.

    1 · April 19, 2014

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