My book that I chose for October was one I tried to read for months and early motherhood days just kept pushing it back. Finally I got around to it and it did not disappoint at all. The book I read this month was:
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
I really liked the book…mostly. The way it’s written is so beautiful, Kate Morton really has a way of making a story completely tangible. She describes landscapes in such a way that it makes you feel sure you’ve been there before. She brings characters to life in a such a lovey way and it leads to you being so invested in each of their stories.
The way it’s written is from several different perspectives through a variety of different generations bouncing between present day, the mid 1800’s and the mid 1900’s. The common factor is a house that somehow keeps drawing people back to it. The story in essence (to me anyway) is about how the past and present can be bound by love and art. I found that truly this was a story about a past that was unsettled because a story didn’t get the right ending, or really no ending at all and so, a century later, it gets the conclusion it deserves (in theory).
I really recommend the book because it was very enjoyable to read. I did find it got a bit muddy in parts simply because there are a lot of characters and I at times lost a handle on what the primary story or narrative she was going for was. I love a book that twists at the end and oh man it is a doozy that I was not expecting – even though I was expecting it the whole time. Which makes no sense until you read it.
One of the most resonating takeaways I had from the book was through a mother character living through the second world war on her own with three kids. She’s struggling to not raise fearful children while they live through the most terrifying of circumstances. There’s one part in particular where she has self-dialogue about how she needs to put aside her inherent maternal fears so that she can raise brave kids not restrained by fear. This is something I regularly battle myself with as a person and so it was really nice to have a character I related with even though our life circumstances could not be more different.
Book Club Questions:
1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to “get into it”?
I can’t say I flew through the book to the extent that I did with ‘The Goldfinch’ from last month, however, I really enjoyed it. As I mentioned, she lost me at parts because there were a lot of characters introduced and sometimes that led me to lose track about what the primary storyline was, or rather, what the story the author wanted me to follow was. I think the novel could have been simplified by narrowing down to a few perspectives, but I found many of the characters so lovely that it’s hard for me to say which ones the story could stand to lose.
2. Describe the dynamics between characters (in a marriage, family, or friendship).
This novel consisted of many dysfunctional relationships in many different dynamics. She describes a character that has felt as though she’s been in the shadow of a successful parent her whole life, romantic relationships that perhaps are not working the way they expected as well as friendships that can be overwhelmed by not expressing true feelings. While there are many areas where she describes the complexities in relationships she also beautifully explains love. The all consuming love that can sweep you up like a wave and can leave a ripple effect that lasts a century.
“Human beings are curators. Each polishes his or her own favored memories, arranging them in order to create a narrative that pleases. Some events are repaired and buffed for display; others are deemed unworthy and cast aside, shelved belowground in the overflowing storeroom of the mind.”
“Being a parent’s a breeze,” came Alan’s cheerful voice on the wind. “No more difficult than flying a plane with a blindfold on and holes in your wings.”
“True fear is indelible; the sensation does not recede, even when the cause is long forgotten. It is a new way of seeing the world: the opening of a door that can never be closed again.”
“Parents and children. The simplest of relationship in the world and yet the most complex. One generation passes to the next a suitcase filled with jumbled jigsaw pieces from countless puzzles collected over time and says, “see what you can make of these.””
Stay tuned for November’s book….Amazon just dropped it off and I am PSYCHED for this one.