IBG Thursday Meetup - The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

Hi All,

We had a great meetup last week where we discussed My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki.

It had a mixed response which ranged from loved to tolerated to hated.

I loved it as a whimsical tale of how two women negotiate the challenges of modern life while internally battling societal norms and expectations. It was a sweet heart warming story of self identity and courage through ( for one of the women ) horrific challenges. It inspired hope and a love of humanity for me.

Please note though that for some members of the bookgroup it inspired nausea. I would throughly recommend it however as a quick intelligent funny and educational read that will make you reasses your perspective of belonging and identity and, of course, meat.

We then voted for our next book. All the candidates were from this year's Man Booker Prize Longlist:

Sheila - The Kills by Richard House  ( 1 vote )

Helen - The Spinning Heart  by Dona ( 2 votes )

Hannah - A Tale for the Time by Roth Ozeki ( 0 votes )

The winner was:

Gareth - The Testament of Mary  by Colm Toibin ( 4 votes )

Below is a synopsis from Waterstones:

"Colm Toibin's The Testament of Mary is the moving story of the Virgin Mary, told by a novelist famous for writing brilliantly about the family. From the author of Brooklyn, in a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.

Praise for The Testament of Mary: "This is a short book, but it is as dense as a diamond. It is as tragic as a Spanish pieta, but it is completely heretical...Toibin maintains all the dignity of Mary without subscribing to the myths that have accumulated around her". (Edmund White, Irish Times). "Depicting the harrowing losses and evasions that can go on between mothers and sons...Toibin creates a reversed Pieta: he holds the mother in his arms". (Independent). "A beautiful and daring work ...it takes its power from the surprise of its language, its almost shocking characterization". (Mary Gordon, New York Times). "

I've already started reading it and i'm enjoying it throughly.

See you then,

Hannah :-)

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  • Hilary s.

    Hi I'm sorry but will not be able to come today as I'm having to work late. I hope that you have a good meeting and I will see you all next time.

    November 21, 2013

  • Hilary s.

    great choice. I'm really looking forward to reading this,

    October 30, 2013

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