First Monday Book Club discussion

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Book Club Discussions > June 2016 Selection

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message 1: by Temple (new)

Temple Public | 34 comments Mod
This book inspired the movie Mr. Holmes. What are your thoughts on book or the movie?


message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy | 4 comments Thanks for the opportunity to join in, even though I can´t be at the meeting. Great idea to create this group! Here´s the review I wrote for the book. What did you all think?

I found this story of a fading Sherlock Holmes interesting, but depressing. He has outlived everyone important to him, and his memory is failing him. It was interesting because of the way it was structured, moving back and forth between his retirement in Sussex where he is working on a couple of books and beekeeping, and a trip to Japan soon after WWII where he is seeking information on a plant which he believes will help with longevity (along with the bees' royal jelly), and a story of a case he is attempting to write up himself (admitting that Watson was better at crafting an interesting story). For the first part of the story of The Glass Armonicist, I felt more on familiar Holmesian ground, but as it continued, it too seemed to fade away as his memory is fading. As for the rest of it, it was sad to watch a brilliant mind fade to the point where he would write notes and then find them later and not remember having written them.


message 3: by Anita (last edited Jun 06, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Anita (momsterbookworm) | 14 comments For me, it was difficult to reconcile the aged Holmes to the sharp-minded sleuth (I'm from the deerstalker and pipe-smoking camp) that he was. It's not unlike meeting someone you know, after a long absence, and seeing the ravages of time. It was made more poignant in the movie. The movie scene where the doctor opened the Holmes' diary, in which a mark was made for every incidence of forgetting and forgetfulness, made me gasp.

I generally do not like it when the movie deviates from the book, but (without spoilers) I feel that the adaptation for screen was a little more uplifting, especially the end. However, I felt that the book and movie both worked, respectively, the focus of each being slightly different. The movie seemed to have a more 'accepting' quality to it, focusing less on the trip to Japan, and more on Holmes making the best of things. The book evokes more of an air of desperation, as Holmes scours for remedies to stem his deteriorating memory. I can't say that I favored one over the other, but the movie evoked a little less distressing and heartbreaking sentiments.

In the book, the thread of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seemed to be a woven narrative to remind the reader that certain/historical events are fastened in collective memory. To me, it was also a contrast to Holmes' (personal) faltering memory, which unless written or passed down for posterity will cease to exist with the individual. That said, if a historical/cultural occurrence was no longer (frequently) referenced, the way the bombings and the effects thereof were interwoven in the recounting of Holmes' Japan trip, it too will be forgotten or eventually be buried in the annals of time. I liked ever-enthusiastic and eager Roger who, despite idolizing Holmes, would see and remember him as an individual, and not as the on-a-pedestal great detective. In all this, I finally understood the reason for the title of the book: the fluidity and impermanence of memory -- a slight trick of the mind.


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