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The Bone Mother
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Discussion > Buddy Read for July 2018: David Demchuk's Bone Mother

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Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1461 comments Please join Marie-Therese and me for July's Buddy Read: David Demchuk's The Bone Mother!

The Bone Mother was nominated for the Shirley Jackson award for best novel of 2017:
https://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/...

A couple reviews:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-...
https://www.cbc.ca/books/the-bone-mot...


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Looking forward to this!


Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1461 comments Finally dived into this, really enjoying it so far. The fragmentary approach might bother some people, but I like the magic when not everything is spelled out. We keep getting disturbing little details and hints in the fragments, until we see a somewhat more consistent picture in Katerina's extended section; even then our ideas of what's happening keep flaking away.

The sections are framed by what look like old photos. If you're terrified that this is another Ransom Riggs (I was), well there's nothing to worry about.


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Sounds good! I'll start this in a day or two.


Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1461 comments Randolph wrote: "I’m doing this mainly via audiobook which works rather well for this since the narration, well you just have to experience it to know what I mean."
Interesting. I can see this working well as an audiobook.


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments I started this last night and stayed up way too late reading. Enjoying it immensely.


message 7: by Marie-Therese (last edited Jul 26, 2018 11:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments I am loving this book! It's one of the best "horror" novels I've read in quite a while and is really just a beautifully realized piece of fiction.

I feel like the fragmentary nature of the narrative (short stories that only sometimes coalesce and, even then, only slightly) echoes effectively the breakage/break up/diaspora of Jewish and other minority ethnic and religious communities in Eastern Europe. There's no overarching narrative but the cumulative effect is very moving. I find that the more of these little stories I read, the more I'm moved, sometimes to the point of tears. And the language is just beautiful but so clean-there's nothing excessive here, nothing too lush and never trying too hard.

I'm amazed this is Demchuk's first novel. I hope he writes many more.


Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1461 comments I finished this yesterday; it was kind of over before I knew it.

I really liked the clean, simple language as well. The intermingling of dark political realities and folklore elements is also very nicely executed.


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Finished late last night. I just absolutely loved this book. 4.5 stars from me. More later.


message 10: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1461 comments Randolph wrote: "I’m still only a little over 50% but this is a marvelous use for the audiobook format."
I'm curious to experience this as an audiobook sometime. But how can you see the old photos?


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments Randolph wrote: "The groovy thing about the Kindle app on iPad (or iPhone) is it pauses reading when ever I reach a picture and asks me via text box if I want to jump to the next page with text. I’d have to screen cap or YouTube to give you an idea of how it goes.

That's pretty nifty! I'm not an audiobook kind of reader (I hated being read to as a child-I think I knew I could always read faster and better than any adult reading to me), but this is nice.

I really felt like the photos added a lot to this novel. They were so atmospheric and so touching. Maybe because I'm an auntie (now even a great-auntie), I find photos of children enormously affecting. I think Demchuk's choice to focus so many of his tales around children was deliberate-their clear eyes and open hearts force us as adults to see things afresh, make the horror more explicit and more terrible. I really admire the way he was able to give voice to so many young voices without any of them seeming twee or improbable, or too knowing.


message 12: by David (last edited Aug 03, 2018 06:26AM) (new)

David (daviddemchuk) | 2 comments Hello everyone--I don't want to intrude, but I did want to say how delighted I was that you chose The Bone Mother for a buddy read, and of course I'm overwhelmed by your many kind words about my book. I'm so glad it found a home in your hearts.


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments David wrote: "Hello everyone--I don't want to intrude, but I did want to say how delighted I was that you chose The Bone Mother for a buddy read, and of course I'm overwhelmed by your many kind words about my book. I'm so glad it found a home in your hearts."

David, hello and welcome! I noticed earlier that you were a member of the group and I'd hoped it would not be too awkward for you to have us discussing your first novel as our buddy read. Thanks for your gracious response.

Dare I hope that you're working on another novel?


message 14: by David (new)

David (daviddemchuk) | 2 comments I am! I’m about 2/3 done at this point, and hope to hand it in by the end of the year. For those who are wondering, it is indeed horror (nasty nasty horror), it again has a historical element, a diverse cast of characters and a large canvas, and it employs some unusual narrative elements.

I also have a short story in an upcoming anthology (titled War on Christmas) that complements the Slavic folktale underpinnings of The Bone Mother. Fun for the whole family!


Marie-Therese (mariethrse) | 550 comments David wrote: "I am! I’m about 2/3 done at this point, and hope to hand it in by the end of the year. For those who are wondering, it is indeed horror (nasty nasty horror), it again has a historical element, a di..."

Excellent news! I will keep an eye out for this and the short story too.


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