The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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August 2018 - ZAMBIA > First half of the book

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
First impressions?


message 2: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin I think this is another great pick! The story and the story telling style makes it easy for me to get sucked into the narrative. While the first half focuses very much on Pumpkin's situation, it seems that we are now getting some political background of Zambia in the late 1970s. Looking forward to the rest of the story! Recently I have read more African authors and I have very much enjoyed the storytelling of this underrepresented continent. I think I want to read a book of each African country next year.


message 3: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Hi guys! What a great read. The story has sadness but it’s beautiful. It has great flow and is easy to engage in. What a relief after Notes of a. Crocodile! I’m 40% done. I hope you all are enjoying it too.


message 4: by Marie (new)

Marie (marieemonaghan) | 59 comments I agree. Really pleased this one made it through the vote.

In recent months I've read both Sing, Unburied, Sing and My Name is Leon, both of which have this same child narrator/neglectful addict mother premise. So at the start of reading Patchwork I admit I wasn't excited and felt kind of fatigued by this kind of story.

I needn't have worried, though. Soon got swept up in it. Pumpkin is such a realistic child voice. She is such a brat at times, but of course you sympathise with her all the while. It is so clear that she is still very much developing her inner morality and worldview. I love how she and her friends make all of these surprisingly astute observations about the adult world, but never quite put the pieces together to come to the right conclusions.

The portrayal of the adult characters is interesting. I found it very difficult to empathise with either Ma or Mama T, while Tata, although mostly absent, seems at least to be a generally caring adult figure, providing for Pumpkin on more or less an equal footing to his other kids, and the only one of her guardians who ever asks how she's feeling. But presumably these impressions are just because I'm seeing all these adults through Pumpkin's eyes and she doesn't understand how Tata has screwed over the women in his life and caused them both a lot of heartache.


message 5: by Marie (new)

Marie (marieemonaghan) | 59 comments Kathrin wrote: "I think this is another great pick! The story and the story telling style makes it easy for me to get sucked into the narrative. While the first half focuses very much on Pumpkin's situation, it se..."

If you are looking to read more African literature, I'd highly recommend Segu (and another woman in translation, which is nice!). It's a family saga set over 100 years or so in what is now broadly Mali, but was previously comprised of various different tribal lands. You get to see over several generations how African tribal traditions were threatened by the influences of Islam from the East, and slavery from the West. It gave me a much better understanding of the history of that part of the world, has good characters, and is beautifully-written.


message 6: by Candace (new)

Candace | 53 comments Quick reading, interesting characters. I am enjoying the story from Pumpkin’s perspective.


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