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Ivy Compton-Burnett
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C's > Ivy Compton-Burnett's A House and Its Head

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Proustitute (on hiatus) (proustitute) | 283 comments Mod
discussion for Ivy Compton Burnett's A House and Its HeadA House and Its Head, to begin Feb. 1.

message 2: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments Hi all, I have just started this one. It is the first I C-B which I have read. I quickly remembered why I had given up this book when I tried to read it before - it does require some effort, it is not an "easy" read - but this time I am determined to persevere, because I am sure that it is worth it. There is a great deal of wry, charged dialogue which is rather impenetrable in the early stages. It can be difficult to know who is speaking and who is where. Several characters are introduced quickly via rather odd and vague descriptive passages. I see from the cover that it involves abuse, adultery, incest and murder! So far I have no idea how any of that will fit into the drawing-room drama which I have been reading. So I am intrigued.

message 3: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments Correction - now that I look at it properly, I see that the blurb actually says that "[a]buse, adultery, incest, extortion and murder... are among the secrets guarded - or shared - by the respectable families at the centre of Ivy Compton-Burnett's" novels, not that all of that features in this one novel!

message 4: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments I am up to page 160 and am finding it easier to follow, although I am sure that there is at least some of that "abuse, adultery, incest, extortion and murder" festering just under the surface. Despite the formal and oblique tone of conversation, the characters really have become surprisingly blunt, I think. Am finding it a most worthwhile read.

message 5: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments I have finished this book. I have posted a "Thumbnail Review" at the link below. I look forward to discussing the book on this thread tho, because when everyone has finished it, we can talk without having to worry about spoilers. I'd love to know what you all think. I think we should start by discussing which of the characters to gas first.

Proustitute (on hiatus) (proustitute) | 283 comments Mod
Is Lesley the only one reading this? I had thought there were others... Sorry you seem to have been having a one-sided conversation here, Lesley!

I also planned to restart this book after abandoning it a few years back, for reasons similar to your frustration voiced above. But her style fascinates as much as it infuriates me, I think. Still, I haven't been able to read it this month as I would have liked...

message 7: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments Hi Proustitute, nice to hear from someone! I thought that Erik and Kris were joining in. Looks like they changed their minds. O well, it is a worthwhile read, when you get the time, Proustitute. I'm glad that this group "made" me stick to it. :)

message 8: by Erik F. (new)

Erik F. | 29 comments Lesley, I was planning to start it this weekend. I got my copy a couple of days ago but am waiting for a greater amount of free time. Hopefully I will add something of value to your "discussion." :)

message 9: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments Excellent, Erik!

message 10: by Erik F. (new)

Erik F. | 29 comments I'm about halfway done now, Lesley. I'm moving rather slowly (to be honest, it's not the most absorbing book I've ever read), but I intend to finish it. I like the tension simmering underneath everything, and the subtle, barbed dialogue that reveals more about the characters' minds than they realize. I wonder about what dark(er) corridors the remaining narrative may be heading towards ...

message 11: by Lesley (new)

Lesley (eeevanwok) | 121 comments All very well said Erik. I am interested to know what you will think of it when you have finished. And yes, I agree that it is not a page-turner! I think I will read another Compton-Burnett, but not for a while...

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