The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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April 2019 - Australia > How is it going?

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Put your thoughts below, ideally after finishing the book and beware if you not finished a book yet, you may get a spoiler. Ideally start each post by stating, what you read :)


message 2: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 51 comments I've finished The Strays and really loved it. Such a vivid portrayal of an unconvential family in the 1930ies Melbourne art community.


message 3: by Natalie (last edited Apr 22, 2019 12:36PM) (new)

Natalie  | 5 comments I have also read The Strays and did not really like it. The book is very readable and I did get the atmosphere at the house. The main thing that did not work for me is that I was not feeling the setting in place and time (1930s Melbourne). Sometimes it read almost contemporary.

I also struggled to understand the narrator and why the events of 50 years past were impacting her to such a degree. I kept expecting some big fallout, but is seemed that it was just life and a drifting apart. (also did not care for the narrator pitying the family that she seemed to have been envious of for most of her life. Maybe that was the point of the book?) Not sure, in any case, this book was not for me.

Happy to see that many of you love it, though!


message 4: by Barb (new)

Barb Dingwall I read The Strays & am perhaps still struggling with it, as in some ways it just hit too close to home. Viewing things through Lily's outsider eyes seemed the least interesting take on things that could have been presented. I didn't have a problem with the plot or the characterization- I just thought you only got a "dazzled outsider's" point of view when there was so much more going on beneath the surface. We got glimpses of this, but there was so much more of a meaty story that could have been told...in my opinion.


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Britta wrote: "I've finished The Strays and really loved it. Such a vivid portrayal of an unconvential family in the 1930ies Melbourne art community."

I really loved it as well, although the last third was not that brilliant, overall though a memorable book.


message 6: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Jenni wrote: "I read The Strays and really liked it. I can understand how Lily would be captivated by this family and would want to be a part of it. The Trentham’s bohemian lifestyle offers Lily an escape from h..."

I also have a penchant for stories about artists and artist communities... I wonder why that is.


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Barb wrote: "I read The Strays & am perhaps still struggling with it, as in some ways it just hit too close to home. Viewing things through Lily's outsider eyes seemed the least interesting take on things that ..."

Interesting thoughts! Did you grow up with artist parents? Sorry, I am such a nosy person.


message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 2 comments I read The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose. If not for participating in your readalong and the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I don't think I would have ever picked up this novel. Reading about the New York City art scene isn't all that appealing to me, but out of the two books I requested from interlibrary loan, this is the one that came in. I was pleasantly surprised to be immediately drawn into the characters and their situation. It is making me think about performance art in a different way. I have always thought it was...I don't know...sort of egocentric and just about the shock value. Now I have some understanding that it is creative expression and art, that the artist has something to say or explore about life and the world and this is a way they do it. The story had some nice tension about what was going to happen at the end of the performance art exhibit that is the center of the book and around which all of the characters rotate. It was an interesting use of an actual historical event with which to construct a character's dilemma. Would he or wouldn't he make an effort to see his wife?

A couple of years ago I read The Strays and enjoyed it. Like others have commented, I thought the beginning was strong and the ending wasn't very satisfying.


message 9: by Barb (new)

Barb Dingwall Melanie wrote: Interesting thoughts! Did you grow up with artist parents? Sorry, I am such a nosy person.

Ha ha... No I didn't have artistic parents, although I personally always loved various forms of art. But I did have one of those mothers that your friends all think of as "the cool mom" when in fact what they saw and what was really going on when she wasn't "on" for an audience were very different things. This is why I think, that, from Lily's perspective, we get the dazzle with tiny hints at some of the real drama that would be very much of the story told from any of the Trentham daughter's point of view.



message 10: by Jo (new)

Jo | 37 comments I read The Strays and found it very readable, I really enjoyed the picture of the whole artist commune side of it and the Australian art scene at that point in time as well as the way that the children were affected by that in different ways. I liked the perspective of Lily being both in and outside the community with the inevitable one sided view and this portrait of fierce teenage friendship between her and Eva. It didn’t wow me like it has done others and I wouldn’t have guessed it was a prize winning book but still a really enjoyable read.


message 11: by Amelia (last edited Apr 25, 2019 10:49AM) (new)

Amelia (sophron) | 17 comments I didn't stay with The Museum of Modern Love because I couldn't borrow it somewhere and I'm not buying anything new at the moment. But I had already read The Natural Way of Things last year or so, so maybe that counts. ;) It didn't convince me by the way, you can find my review somewhere here.
But I read four other books for #AussieApril, all by female authors, so I think I definitely did Australia justice this month.


message 12: by Justyna M (last edited Apr 26, 2019 11:21AM) (new)

Justyna M | 14 comments I read The Museum of Modern Love and didn't care about any of the (fictional) characters, they were all very blah to me, with privileged and passive Arky being just annoying, but what I appreciated about the book was that it introduced me to Marina Abramovic who I knew nothing about (and made me watch some documentaries and interviews with her- I actually had watched most of them before reading the book as a "preparation/ introduction") so for that reason I'm very glad I have read it.


message 13: by Jennie (new)

Jennie (jenniejohnston) | 11 comments After reading The Strays I found it lacking. It was fine, there were sweet moments but there was a lack of clear direction in what the underlying message/s were. Was it about female friendship/the women behind the men/modern vs. Conservative views/parental responsibility? All those points were mentioned but not brought to a peak or given depth. Lily kept lamenting being ordinary vs. Being exceptional and that theme stood out the strongest to me, and frankly was the most superficial. I wanted to love this, I didn’t hate it, but it missed the mark for me.


message 14: by Alice (new)

Alice | 5 comments Better late than rather. I actually really loved the Museum of Modern Love. I'm not a fan of modern art as generally rule but I was so drawn in. I think it had to do with the layers the author set out as the story progressed so you got a real look inside the meaning of the art itself.
I love how extremely different each of characters were but were connected through the almost obsessive visits to the exhibit. The art they can see how the art is helping them to learn more about themselves & impact their lives is wonderful to think about.
Arky is clearly not to everyone's taste. He is definitely selfish but this situation he was specifically told to be so can we really say we wouldn’t have a moments hesitation if we were given an out in rough place. He needed to grow & to scope out what he was actually feeling something I think he has avoided to do most of his life. Jane of course had to be his complete opposite, i really like that it wasn't a love story. I plan to read more of this author.


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