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A Separation
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2017 SUMMER Bookclub > 1st Pairing: A Separation &/vs. The Night Ocean

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message 1: by Amy (last edited May 17, 2017 08:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments Space to discuss Ill Will and The Night Ocean, guest judge Victor LaValle and TOB host/commentator Rosecrans Baldwin's dialogues, the pairing theme(s) and any speculation about favorites for the TOB bracket.


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments Update today - Ill Will moves to July & A Separation replaces it for the June match-up.
Topics for individual book discussions also available.


message 3: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Amy wrote: "Update today - Ill Will moves to July & A Separation replaces it for the June match-up.
Topics for individual book discussions also available."


Thanks, Amy! Really appreciate all you do to set these up and keep us connected!!


message 4: by Kristel (new) - added it

Kristel (kristelh) | 27 comments I've ordered the books from the library. Excited to see a summer event from ToB.


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna | 5 comments Excited to get started !


Bryn Lerud | 24 comments I just started A Separation and am really enjoying it. Suspense!!


message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments all three of the first books have drownings and missing spouses (or missing, drowned spouses) --- weird coincidence!


Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments Still waiting for my copy of A Separation but have Night Ocean at home. Already falling behind. :(


Heather (hlynhart) | 298 comments So, I know Ill Will got moved to July, and one of the reasons they gave for the switch on the email was that Victor LaValle, the June judge, had previously blurbed Ill Will and they didn't want there to be a conflict of interest. BUT, my copy of The Night Ocean has a glowing blurb from LaValle on the back, which begins, "Straight up brilliant...". uh, how is that not a conflict of interest? I don't really care as I so far much prefer The Night Ocean to A Separation, but I am curious.


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments Heather wrote: "So, I know Ill Will got moved to July, and one of the reasons they gave for the switch on the email was that Victor LaValle, the June judge, had previously blurbed Ill Will and they didn't want the..."

I suspect the primary reason was to avoid matching multiple white male authors against each other.


message 11: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments So has anyone read both books now? I just finished Night Ocean and it did not hold onto the warm spot in my heart that it had when I started reading it. I won't get to start A Separation until the end of the month, if then, but it's sounding like either book could take this round. Anyone want to make a prediction?


message 12: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments I should be done with both by this weekend. The responses are pretty lukewarm for both but I'm suspecting The Night Ocean will take it. It just seems more La Valle wheelhouse-adjacent.


message 13: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Amy wrote: "I'm suspecting The Night Ocean will take it. It just seems more La Valle wheelhouse-adjacent."

Sure seems like it to me too. I'm a bit surprised at how open VLV toward Kitamura and A Separation...I like that he's reserving judgment till he finishes the book because it seems like a book he might have rejected quickly (just going by second-hand comments from reviews and people here).


Heather (hlynhart) | 298 comments I've read both, and would pick The Night Ocean to advance, and predict LaValle will too.


Ellen H | 704 comments I agree, Heather.


message 16: by Sara G (new) - added it

Sara G I wonder if he'll actually be more critical of Night Ocean, since he's reading it as an expert in the field.


Beverly | 298 comments I have finished A Separation and definitely not my cup of tea. I really wanted to like this book.

Will start The Night Ocean later this week.


message 18: by Drew (new) - rated it 3 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments I haven't even started NO and now someone has a hold on it so I can't renew! Looks like I chose the wrong book to take on my train trip over the weekend.


message 19: by Jan (last edited Jun 12, 2017 01:06PM) (new) - added it

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments I am hoping LaValle will talk about whether he sees issues of cultural appropriation in NO. I am not clear what La Farge gained by making Charlie mixed race, and I'm not sure La Farge dealt fully with the attitudes and experiences Charlie would have encountered.


message 20: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments Jan - I'm tempted to feel that Charlie's race was chosen to "forgive" Lovecraft some of his worst qualities. Sort of a "see!? The black guy can value the art over the troubling artist ... y'all should too!" Which frankly, is gross. I certainly believe anyone can be a Lovecraft fan, but they have to either ignore that piece of the author (and their own conscience) or they have to address his issues (which IMO Charlie does not). The failure of the latter is compounded by Charlie's race because it takes additional blindness and deafness to accomplish.


message 21: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (janrowell) | 1040 comments Amy wrote: "Jan - I'm tempted to feel that Charlie's race was chosen to "forgive" Lovecraft some of his worst qualities. Sort of a "see!? The black guy can value the art over the troubling artist ... y'all sho..."

Good insights, Amy. No wonder that aspect made me queasy. :-(


message 23: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments Week Three commentary w/Victor LaValle: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


Jaylynny | 21 comments Well. I would have chosen NO also, but I didn't love either book, liked parts of both books and actively hated parts of both books. I had a little Lovecraft fascination as a teen/young adult and now if I try to read him I seriously can't get through the first page.

I feel a toddleresque tantrum coming on about wasting my summer reading time reading stuff I just don't like. Will put myself in time out and try again next round.


Ruthiella | 330 comments I would have chosen A Separation over The Night Ocean in a heartbeat.

I only just read A Separation (library issues) this week and I expected to dislike it (was not a fan of Outline, read all the gripes about Kitamura's writing style, etc. on the TOB site) but I totally dug it. I liked her internal monologue and introspection. I felt like I was a passive observer observing her while reading. I read it in two days.

The Night Ocean, however, I only finished because I actually paid for it. I came to it with no expectations at all, but found it tedious and dull to read. I just did not engage with the characters or the story unfortunately.


message 26: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1617 comments I will grant that I am more forbearing with an audio-book, especially if I don't have another in the queue, but I finished A Separation and I put down The Night Ocean even though it had an interesting premise. So I would vote for A Separation


message 27: by Kristel (new) - added it

Kristel (kristelh) | 27 comments I didn't get to A Separation but did finish The Night Ocean and agreed with the choice. But not qualified to...


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