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Bellefleur
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message 1: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments This thread is for discussion of Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates. The current plan is to start reading May 20th.


message 2: by Cherie (last edited May 13, 2014 03:47PM) (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments I got my copy from the library yesterday - so I am ready to start. I know you will think I am crazy, but I had no idea what this book was about, nor that it was a chunkster. I was able to swap another book out of my Mickey's list and put this one in - so I am happy! I read the first couple of pages. Looks interesting.

I thought Joyce Carol Oates was a poet. I think I was mixing her up with Mary Oliver. I just looked at all of the books she has written. WOW! Maybe I recognized her name because I have seen it in books that she has written an introductio in. No worries - I am still willing to give her a try. This one looks like it would have fit into the Family Saga monthly read we did last summer that I did not get a badge for because I never finished the book I was reading. I loved that badge too!!!


message 3: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments I think the idea for this buddy read started when one or more of us got a great Kindle deal on either this or the next book in the series A Bloodsmoor Romance. I have never read anything by Joyce Carol Oates and figured I should give her a try. I have both Bellefleur and Bloodsmoor Romance on my Kindle, so I also can start any time. Currently I am reading books willy-nilly, and figuring I will find a way to connect a bunch of them at some point. I'm still trying to connect something to Fingersmith. I wonder if I can do something with modern writers tackle gothic. Would Daphne DuMaurier be modern enough to put in that category, do you think?


message 4: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Casceil wrote: "I'm still trying to connect something to Fingersmith. I wonder if I can do something with modern writers tackle gothic. Would Daphne DuMaurier be modern enough to put in that category, do you think? ..."

LOL! I don't know why not. I can't say I have ever really read gothic, but I did notice that Bellefleur has gothic as a shelf designation. I am not reading Fingersmith. Is it gothic? It sure is generating a lot of discussion, but I have not been reading any of the comments. I don't generally do dark and creepy and scary, but I can, as long as it is not bloody and gross and is going to scare me out of my witts. I like suspense and mystery as long as it is not horror too.


message 5: by Cherie (last edited May 13, 2014 04:31PM) (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments I looked at Fingersmith and it is listed as Historical Fiction and way down as gothic. I just don't think I appreciate Walters' style of writing as much as some of the others in the group do. However - I have not read any of her books either.


message 6: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Is gothic a state or time period? I guess I should look it up.


message 7: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46229 comments You could link Fingersmith and Bellefleur as one word titles.


message 8: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Janice wrote: "You could link Fingersmith and Bellefleur as one word titles."

Janice - you are the best! I should have seen that too!

Have you read this book?


message 9: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46229 comments No, I haven't. I read one of her books years ago and was underwhelmed. I'm thinking it's time to try again. I'll be interested in your comments.


message 10: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments One word titles is a great suggestion. Thanks, Janice.


message 11: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments I started reading this book today, a little bit early. I'm posting a link to the Wikipedia entry for anyone who wants to try to orient themselves a little before plunging into this. I am enjoying it, but there is a lot to take in in the first chapter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellefleur


message 12: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Hi Casceil,
I finished The Shadow of the Wind today and am ready to jump into this one with you. I think I read the first part of the first chapter when I got the book home from the library - the part about the house any way. Thanks for the link!


message 13: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Casceil - finished the first two chapters and am on page 35 in my book, which is the beginning of The Bellefleur Curse. Wow - this family is huge and they all live together in the same house. I had to keep looking at the family tree to figure out who everyone belonged to when each name came up.

It just seems sad that they are rich but cannot afford to put their money into the house to make the repairs that are needed. The rain storm and "the rat" was where I stopped the first time. LOL that it turned out to be (view spoiler). And what a name! I keep reading it outloud and rolling the syllables in my mouth, but I will probably use "M" as I read it from now on. Do you do that?

The Pond - that Johnny Doan is one SCARY guy! (view spoiler)


message 14: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments The "magic realism" bits seem to be kind of scattered in at random. I'm still puzzling over the part in Chapter 1 where (view spoiler)


message 15: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Casceil wrote: "The "magic realism" bits seem to be kind of scattered in at random. I'm still puzzling over the part in Chapter 1 where [spoilers removed]"

I think the pregnancy thing was a dream. I feel sorry for Gideon that Leah does not listen/obey him and he loves her so much.

We are definately being set up for all of the misery? to come after the introduction and all that stuff about their luck and unluck and their "moods". I like it!


message 16: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Okay, the family has a curse but no one knows what it is, exactly. Hmmm. Didn't' seem like it needed a whole chapter for that. I'm reading about Gideon and Leah in The Pregnancy, but I can't keep my eyes open.


message 17: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments I made no progress on this book yesterday. I can relate to "I can't keep my eyes open." Life is being awfully busy this week, but apart from that, there is something about Oates' writing that does make it easy to fall asleep reading. I don't mean that as a slam against Oates. There are other authors who have this effect on me--Proust, Virginia Woolf, Henry James. I think it has something to do with very long sentences. Oates does write some astonishingly long sentences.


message 18: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments I finished the chapter called "Pregnancy." (view spoiler)


message 19: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments Things are starting to make a little more sense to me now. I'm reading this on Kindle, and the family tree in the front was terribly hard to read, so I ordered a used copy from Amazon. That came yesterday. Now that I can study the family tree a bit, I'm having much more luck sorting out the characters. I've also concluded that the best way to deal with the prose is to just keep reading, and after a while things start to come together.


message 20: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Casceil wrote: "I finished the chapter called "Pregnancy." [spoilers removed]"

Still reading this chapter. I didn't make it more than four pages before my eyes closed, if even that. I woke up, put the book mark in the book and turned off my lamp. I will make a better effort tonight.
I thought it was interesting that Gideon and Leah can talk about everything but their "bedroom life and their needs/feelings" there. I did not get to the part about Mahalaleel yet.


message 21: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments Cherie, sorry to have dropped out of sight on you. I've been out of town for days, with spotty internet access until yesterday. Worse, I have been unable to read Bellefleur. I have been down in Tucson (about 100 miles south of Phoenix, where I live), trying to get my 22 year-old offspring packed up and moved out of one of the filthiest houses I have ever seen, with much high drama due to problems with a dishonest, manipulative, thieving roommate. So I have been reading pure fluff. I've still got two three more days of this, but I hope to get back to Bellefleur by later in the week.


message 22: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Don't worry about the book, Casciel! Sounds like you have bigger priorities to worry about! I have only been reading it a little at a time. I am only just starting on The River. I finished "Power" on Friday and haven't touched the book all weekend.

Hope all goes well with the moving and "the drama" and all gets better for you and your offspring.


message 23: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments Cherie, since neither of us seems to find this book compulsive reading (I'm at "Horses," about three chapters past "the River"), and since both of us want to read Jamaica Inn starting two days from now, I suggest we suspend the Bellefleur buddy read indefinitely. I do plan to finish the book someday, but right now just not seem to be the time. What do you think?


message 24: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie (crobins0) | 19336 comments Casceil wrote: "Cherie, since neither of us seems to find this book compulsive reading (I'm at "Horses," about three chapters past "the River"), and since both of us want to read Jamaica Inn starting two days from..."

Whew - this works for me, Casciel. I just renewed my library book. I checked and do not see it on hold, so I don't think there is too much interest in my area. That gives me plenty of time to get through the toppler and see what is waiting for me next. Thanks for letting me know.

Since you are three chapters ahead - do you see it picking up or is it still plodding along the same way? LOL! "compulsive reading" it is not.


message 25: by Casceil (new) - added it

Casceil | 2611 comments It seems to alternate between parts that are interesting and engaging, and parts that are a real snooze fest. Also, while I am mostly reading the book on Kindle, I can't get far from the the huge, heavy hardcover because I need the family tree so often. Sometimes a chaper will discuss several generations pretty much in the same paragraph, so you have to stay on top of how the characters are related. I get the feeling that the way to approach this book is to just keep reading, and after you have read quite a bit, stop to think about which pieces fit together into something meaningful. I am wondering why Joyce Carol Oates is so well-regarded as an author.


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