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The Night Ocean
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2017 SUMMER Bookclub > The Night Ocean book discussion

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Space to discuss The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge


message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna | 5 comments Looking forward to reading this.


message 3: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (tnbooklover) Got my copy yesterday. Next up after Ill Will.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 642 comments I picked up my copy today. I do remember seeing the very striking cover going around social media, so I'm interested in starting it!


message 6: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 2 comments Almost half way through and loving the way these characters slowly become flesh.


Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments I have a train trip coming up 6/9-11 (4 hours each way) and I think this book will be perfect for that.


message 8: by McKenzie (new)

McKenzie | 5 comments I may be in the minority here, but I just could not get into this one. I've never read Lovecraft, which may have contributed to my lack of caring whether he had secret trysts with young men. I don't give many books up, and am really looking forward to these discussions, but had to abandon this novel after 50 pages.


Trish | 33 comments I'd like to respectfully discourage you from stopping after only 50 pages - the book isn't really about Lovecraft's lifestyle. It's more about the pursuit of truth, and the book takes a lot of twists and turns as you read on. But if it's just not your thing, I get that too.

I also knew next to nothing about Lovecraft or early Sci-Fi celebs, and do think the book would be more enjoyable if I had been a Lovecraft fan. Even so, the over-arching themes of the book seem ultra relevant given today's "fake news" society.


carissa I'm not a Lovecraft fan. I am an anti-fan actually. I had a bf in Jr. High who was a fan, so read him and well, blech. On so many levels blah and BLAH...so much over-the-top no.
Lovecraft the human does intrigue me. What a weird dude.
I enjoyed the beginning and the ending, but the middle "real" part bored me stiff. I made myself read the middle, rather than skim.
Overall I thought it was a fun read and a bit different, so I enjoyed it. A good summer read, for sure.


message 11: by Jan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments I'm just getting into The Night Ocean but am loving it so far. The playful meta fictional aspects are reminding me of Dodson's Bats of the Republic from a few years back. Anyone else seeing that connection?


Heather (hlynhart) | 322 comments I"m about halfway through this and really enjoying it so far. I never did read Bats so can't speak to any similarities there. But I would definitely pick this to advance over A Separation.


message 13: by Ruthiella (last edited Jun 08, 2017 11:08PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ruthiella | 366 comments I just finished The Night Ocean and honestly I found it boring. I kept waiting for it to get "Lovecraftian" and for me, it never really dipped into the weird. Or rather, it took far too long to get there, so by the end, I didn't care who was calling to Marina from the beach.


message 14: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Ruthiella wrote: "...I didn't care who was calling to Marina from the beach. "

oh! I was wondering what her name really is! Just started Part III & so far it's just been "Mar." So, "Marina" an allusion to all the New England beaches and seasides? (since the book already commented on the to-good-to-be-true names Lovecraft & Loveman)


Ruthiella | 366 comments Amy wrote: "Ruthiella wrote: "...I didn't care who was calling to Marina from the beach. "

oh! I was wondering what her name really is! Just started Part III & so far it's just been "Mar." So, "Marina" an all..."


Good point, there probably is some connection to her name and the ocean/body of water=giver and taker of life and the great unknown.

At some point Marina makes the tentative connection between herself and a Lovecraft character named Marinus (which made ME think of David Mitchell and the 1000 Autumns of Jakob de Zoet/The Bone Clocks and Dr. Marinus - coincidence or design?).


Ehrrin | 114 comments I loved The Night Ocean. I've never read Lovecraft, but now I think I'll have to at least read a short story. It did drag a few times for me in the minutae of nerd culture, but I loved the story (-ies) and the telling so much that I stayed with him.

I drove alone to visit friends this weekend--about four hours each way. I listened to the audiobook, and really enjoyed it.

(I wondered at the Marinus reference, also.)

I've just started A Separation. So...


message 17: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Actually if there are any Lovecraft fans out there, I would love a recommendation for a short story as well. I have been pretty averse to Lovecraft as a person so I'm mainly looking for an example of either great writing or fascinating /trend-setting concept for a good feeling of his work. His Cthulhu story is the one I've heard about the most (and seen references to in Rat Queens or China Mieville... is that the one I should go with?


message 18: by C (new)

C | 557 comments I've been meaning to read more Lovecraft but the only one I've read is 'At the Mountains of Madness' which I loved a few years ago. It's also the only Lovecraft included in the 1,001 Books You Must Read list, so that helped me get to it sooner. Of course, the Cthulhu should probably be the next that I read, as it is mentioned so much. (I'm not even quite sure which stories are the Cthulhu.)


message 19: by carissa (last edited Jun 07, 2017 12:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

carissa The complete Cthulhu stories are listed here: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/s....

I think the first one is The Call fo Cthulhu.


message 20: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments thank you for the story references!
This book finally hooked me by dropping Portland local Ursula Le Guin into the tale (though her father features more). It pulled those threads of 'some of this is real' (I won't say 'based-on-a-true-story' because that always turns me off) that made me feel more connected to these characters... especially Barlow & Lovecraft.


message 21: by Amy (last edited Jun 08, 2017 11:10AM) (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments anyone else nagged by 'how do they pay for anything?' these men aren't making much money for their stories... are they mostly independently wealthy? Lovecraft obviously doesn't have a ton of money yet he seems to get around the country easily enough and most of the writers & fans they run into don't appear to have other vocations.


message 22: by Bob (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bob Lopez | 391 comments Ruthiella wrote: "I just finished The Night Ocean and honestly I found it boring. I kept waiting for it to get "Lovecraftian" and for me, it never really dipped into the weird. Or rather, it took far to long to get ..."

I'm with you. Just finished it today and honestly I'm so effing relieved. I read a review that said something like "I coulda stopped at ANY point of the book and I never woulda felt like I was missing out." My sentiments exactly. Much ado about nothing.


carissa Amy wrote: "This book finally hooked me by dropping Portland local Ursula Le Guin into the tale (though her father features more). It pulled those threads of 'some of this ..."

For me, it was his inclusion of other famous (possible) hoaxters like Barlow's assistant in Mexico ( Carlos Castaneda and his friend Don) and meeting up with and being swindled by William S. Burroughs. Those are the two characters that made me chuckle.

La Farge really did include a lot of famous people of the time as characters. It was interesting and fun, but didn't make up for the long-haul of the middle of the story.


message 24: by Jan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Amy wrote: "anyone else nagged by 'how do they pay for anything?' these men aren't making much money for their stories... are they mostly independently wealthy? Lovecraft obviously doesn't have a ton of money ..."

Haha, Amy, great question!


message 25: by Jan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments I just finished, and have very mixed feelings...Marina was an interesting character and I liked some of the themes, but a lot of the "documentary" sections were just tedious. Overall a three-star read for me.


message 26: by Nadine in California (last edited Jun 20, 2017 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments Amy wrote: "Ruthiella wrote: "...I didn't care who was calling to Marina from the beach. "

oh! I was wondering what her name really is! Just started Part III & so far it's just been "Mar." So, "Marina" an all..."


I also remember at some point toward the end the name 'Dr. Marinus" came up as a character in one of Lovecraft's stories. Also an important name in The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell -one of many allusions I'm sure I missed in the Mitchell book. Apparently Mitchell is a bigger fan of Lovecraft than I am. But I am a huge fan of Mitchell :) It's weird to me that an author I dislike so much is a touchstone for authors I love so much. Maybe Lovecraft is sticking it to me from the grave ;)


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments I had to force myself to speed read through most of Night Ocean. I think the only reason I didn't DNF it was because the story itself was so original, and the writing was good. I'm not a horror fan, so maybe I shouldn't haven fallen for all the superlatives in the author blurbs on the book jacket. Now I'm really looking forward to the Rooster discussion, to convince me otherwise, and make me glad I spent the time reading it ;)


message 28: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments I threw in the towel :) still interested in watching the conversation tomorrow but I won't have much to add!


message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisgitt) | 88 comments I didn't get the book from library until the discussion was finished. The first couple of chapters drew me in, but I'm also thinking of throwing in the towel. I realized I was skimming the Lovecraft parts because I just don't care. I have it from the library for another week, so maybe I will try again.


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