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Archived | Regional Books 2018 > Jan/Feb 2018 | The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (new)

Anetq | 712 comments Mod
This thread is for discussions of out Jan/Feb 2018 read of The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah - Notice that there may be SPOILERS (there is a thread with NO spoilers too) - so feel free to discuss anything you like about the book: Here's a few questions to get you started:
How did you like the characters? The plot? The style? The portrayal of characters and their surroundings?


message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Crampton (cramptonmargaret) | 48 comments Sadly can’t find a kindle edition.


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 57 comments I'm waiting for my copy to arrive, but apparently it is traveling on a very slow boat. I'll join later this month when it's in-hand.


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 57 comments @anetq, are you able to change the bookshelf designations so that it indicates that we are currently reading HomeGoing and Beautyful, and have read the December selections? I believe only mods can make bookshelf changes or I would handle. I had myself forgotten that Beautyful was a Jan-Feb selection since it wasn't showing as such on the group home page. Thanks!


message 5: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (new)

Anetq | 712 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "@anetq, are you able to change the bookshelf designations so that it indicates that we are currently reading HomeGoing and Beautyful, and have read the December selections?"
Absolutely - Sorry It doesn't happen automatically, I'll go change it, thanks for letting me know!


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 57 comments Anetq wrote: "Carol wrote: "@anetq, are you able to change the bookshelf designations so that it indicates that we are currently reading HomeGoing and Beautyful, and have read the December selections?"
Absolutel..."


Thanks so much!


message 7: by George P. (last edited Jan 16, 2018 05:56PM) (new)

George P. | 191 comments As is probably true for many books written by African authors, they may be difficult for us to find in N America. As per my post on the no-spoilers thead, there were no copies of this in my local large county and city library systems. I just got a courtesy-residents card for the university library near me and they had 3 copies. I will be using them more in future, much quicker than interlib loan. I picked up a novel by a Cuban author on my to-read list while I was there (The Lost Steps by Carpentier).
Thrift Books has at least one copy for $11 including shipping.

I've read about a third of the novel so far. I'm finding that I often need to read the sentences more than once to try to comprehend what Armah was telling us. He writes like a poet, and I understand he is a poet also. I am liking that it takes some thinking to read this however, though I'm also appreciating that it isn't very long. I found many of the reader comments on the novel in the GR site to be well-written and of interest, and encourage others to read some.

My 1979-printing book cover said that Armah is presently living in New York- I'm wondering if that is still true? Apparently he is still living, about 80 yrs old.


message 8: by Nina (new)

Nina Chachu | 205 comments I believe Ayi Kwei Armah is living in Senegal, where he started a publishing house Per Ankh


message 9: by George P. (new)

George P. | 191 comments I don't know if anyone else has started this book- hopefully at least Carol will when/if her copy arrives. I'm 2/3 through now and plan to read more today. It's certainly a book worth reading, although I'm unlikely to rate it five stars. It's set in the time a little after independence of Ghana from Britain and is a rather a dark story of a man with a crappy life that maybe could have been better if his girlfriend -wife had not gotten pregnant while he was at university. All the unpleasant things about his life and about Ghana at that time make it a not-pleasant experience, though an interesting one.
I've been wondering why Armah chose not to give the protagonist a name, but rather to call him "the man..." Perhaps he thought the reader would identify with him more? Probably a male reader more easily could, but perhaps a female reader as well. Or another reason?


message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 57 comments George wrote: "I don't know if anyone else has started this book- hopefully at least Carol will when/if her copy arrives. I'm 2/3 through now and plan to read more today. It's certainly a book worth reading, alth..."

I"m waiting for my second purchase now. The first was lost and they waited 3 weeks to confirm that and refund me.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming ....

*************************
I'm always puzzled by longer novels where the author makes this choice. It's more offputting to me than the possible benefit of creating a sense of universality.


message 11: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (new)

Anetq | 712 comments Mod
I have my copy ready, I just need to finish Anna Karenina before I start anything else, but I am at 80% so almost there :)


message 12: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 33 comments No copy in my local library. But they can get a copy from the local library next door. Now I really want to read this book.


message 13: by George P. (new)

George P. | 191 comments Carol wrote: "I"m waiting for my second purchase now. The first was lost and they waited 3 weeks to confirm that and refund me. .."
Hi did you get your copy of The Beautyful Ones yet? Hopefully you have and have started it.


message 14: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 683 comments Mod
I just finished The Beautyful Ones, with some delay (first getting the book was not easy, then I was too busy to get started).

George, I had the same impression as you when in 2/3 of the book: a depressing story of a desperate man trapped in a system in which he refused to take part. But all changed in the last chapters when roles are reversed due to a regime change.
In the end, I enjoyed reading the book and appreciated the strong personality of the man to resist the pressures (also of his loved ones) to take the easy, rotten ways. Even not for the children's sake.

I recognize a lot of this in some West-African countries where I have lived: people truely are desperate, fed up with the system, but just don't have opportunities to get a better life.

I wrote a short review, you can find it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 15: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (blackhairbooklady) Can't seem to get past page 12. Why does it feel hard to read? Does it get easier? Maybe it's just me :(


message 16: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 683 comments Mod
Caroline wrote: "Can't seem to get past page 12. Why does it feel hard to read? Does it get easier? Maybe it's just me :("

No, it is not just you: the first chapters are hard to get through. I only started enjoying the book in chapter 4 when the man goes home from work to his family. Hang on!


message 17: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (blackhairbooklady) Thank you so much. Feeling more motivated now... thanks.


message 18: by Patrick (last edited Feb 25, 2018 07:45AM) (new)

Patrick Murtha I'm not participating in this read because I don't have a copy of the book at hand, but I am following the posts. Let me say this about difficulty in general. You have to allow modernist texts to teach you how to read them. It can take a while, but at some point things click into focus. This has happened to me again and again.

The great Polish modernist Witold Gombrowicz suggested that when approaching difficult texts, dance with them! Let them lead you. You will catch on to the steps.


message 19: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (blackhairbooklady) Patrick wrote: "I'm not participating in this read because I don't have a copy of the book at hand, but I am following the posts. Let me say this about difficulty in general. You have to allow modernist texts to t..."

Thank you Patrick. I appreciate that a lot.


message 20: by George P. (new)

George P. | 191 comments Wim wrote: "I just finished The Beautyful Ones, with some delay (first getting the book was not easy, then I was too busy to get started).

George, I had the same impression as you when in 2/3 of the book: a d..."


Wim I enjoyed reading your review just now, it seems our experience in reading it was very similar. I was glad to see another group member finish this significant novel. I would have preferred less feces in the story, but I understand Armah's decision to use it as metaphor.


message 21: by George P. (new)

George P. | 191 comments Caroline wrote: "Thank you so much. Feeling more motivated now... thanks."

It's a short novel Caroline, you can do it! I think you will be glad you read it.


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessica_peter) | 26 comments I finally finished this book but it took me a long time. I struggled to pick it up again when I had put it down, and often struggled to get through pages. That said, there were moments that truly sparkled and the prose was often like poetry.

As a more "plot-based" reader than "character/setting-based" reader, I ended up rating it 3/5 - I couldn't tell you what exactly the story of this book was in a couple lines. Or more like 3.5/5 if I was allowed to give my preferred rating. I did enjoy reading it despite the struggle, for the poetry, and for the scenes of Ghana. I lived there for a while, and even though this was written in the 1960's, there were descriptions that felt so familiar.


message 23: by Calzean (new)

Calzean I thought this to be a powerful book for all the things that went wrong in Africa post independence. It's not written in a typical manner with the third person narrative changed for a while to the first person at which time it was almost a documentary of Ghana in the 1960s. But the nuances of the writing is what makes this book.
My review is at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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