Attendees : Vic, Heather, Sharon, Lynette, Gabrielle, Beverley, Ros, Heidi, Mary
Apologies : Margaret (hope you are feeling better), Catherine, Katie
1. Trish’s choice : in past years, Trish’s choice of book has not been her own, a couple of meetings ago it was suggested that perhaps, if Trish doesn’t want to make a choice of her own, that either she is not included in the reading lists, or that each other member puts in a suggested book title for Trish to pick out of a hat. The proposition was put to Trish who opted to pick a title out of a hat. ACTION – each member to bring a book title to the next meeting to put into the hat for Trish to pick.
Mary learned the hard way this meeting not to be late for book group. For those of you who missed all the hilarity, we began to discuss what we were going to do about Trish’s choice before Mary arrived and quickly got side tracked thinking up Faraday titles to pick out of the basket masquerading as a hat. Amongst much giggling we came up with The Faraday Girls : The Twilight Years | Friends, Lovers and Faradays | The Faraday Girl with the Dragon Tattoo | The Faraday Girls Christmas | Out and About with the Faraday Girls | To Kill a Faraday | The Life and Times of Monica McInerney by Monica McInerney | The Faraday Girls Guide to the Galaxy | The Faraday Girls : a picture book by Sean Tan (taking in Mary’s other not favourite book) | The Faraday Girls : The Next Generation | Monica McInerney : A Taste for It
When Mary arrived we went ahead with the selection, giving Mary the opportunity to quickly make her own suggestion on a square of paper which was quietly pocketed before handing the basket to Trish to make the first selection. Mary was horrified for an instant before using an expletive noun for the collective members and undoing the other squares to see what else we’d come up with.
Other activities for the evening include coming up with the Faraday Index to assist/augment our scoring system (see widget to right) and substituting Faraday for expletives as in “I don’t give a flying Faraday!”
Beverleyhad done some extra research for this discussion of Miles off Course by sending an email to author Sulari Gentill who had made a comment on our last meeting’s post. Beverley had some questions for Sulari to assist us with our understanding of the book. Thank you to Sulari for entering into correspondence with us.
As is usually the case, the group was divided between those who thoroughly enjoyed the book, and those who had reservations. The latter wondered why almost half the book was spent getting to the mystery; the story took them from one place to the other without their knowing why and there seemed to be some characters who did not serve any obvious purpose and some characters could have been developed further – they couldn’t understand for example why one would send Rowland, the flaky black sheep of the family on such an important mission. Beverley told us she chose this book after doing a search on a crime writer website for crime in the Blue Mountains so she was disappointed in that respect – the time spent in the Blue Mountains in the novel is very fleeting.
Those of us who have read the other Rowland Sinclair books (A Few Right Thinking Men and A Decline in Prophets) agreed that this one is probably the weakest of the three so far and that it does not seem to stand up on its own as the other members would have benefitted from understanding the background of the characters better. We think we have managed to convince the others to go back to the beginning of the series and give it another go.
Miles Off Course is the third in the Rowland Sinclair series set in 1930s Sydney and one observation is that this series has parallels with Kerry Greenwood’s Phrynne Fisher books set in 1920s Melbourne. Fans are looking forward to the fourth novel which is called Paving the New Road.
Scoring : a respectable 3 out of 5. We had 1 abstention and 2 who had not read the book.
Who Would Play Who in the Movie?
Sulari had also been playing this game online (see here). Her choices were shared after the group had made their nominations.
- Rowland Sinclair, gentleman artist – Hugh Jackman, Ben Wishaw, Noah Taylor Richard Roxburgh. Sulari cheated with this one and chose Ernest Hemingway who is both dead and not an actor. However, the two photos of him on her website do concur with at least Gabi and Heidi’s picture of Rowland.
- Edna, sculptress and Rowland’s muse – Cate Blanchett, Sigrid Thornton (when younger), Kate Winslet, Asher Keddy, Essie Davis (Phrynne Fisher). Sulari chose Anna Buckley who appeared in the Ziegfield Follies in the 1920s – also dead and not an actor.
- Milton, communist poet – Guy Pearce, Johnny Depp, Hugo Weaving. Sulari thought Noah Taylor would be good for this role.
- Clyde, artist and Rowland’s responsible, thoughtful friend – Hugh Jackman. Sulari had forgotten him!
- Wilfred, Rowland’s stuffy older brother – Colin Firth, Geoffrey Robertson (if Sulari can nominate a non-actor so can we). Sulari nominated Shaun Micalleff and Hugo Weaving here.
Next Meeting : Go Goth for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley at Heather’s house.