Gillespie and i book club questions
Gillespie and I, By Jane Harris | The IndependentYou see somehow I am going to have to no really, you have to make you read this and yet somehow tell you very little about it. Yes, this is one of those novels that once read you want to talk to anyone and everyone about it. But here goes anyway…. You instantly know there is a lot more to this tale than meets the eye, intriguing. Indeed, one might say, who else is left to tell the tale? That is really all I can say on the plot, however if you are a fan of Victorian sensation fiction and those eerie tales from that era then you are going to absolutely love this. One of the things is just how darkly funny the book is.
James & Joy Book Club: September Book Haul!
Gillespie and I
The opening of Jane Harris's clever and entertaining second novel gives little indication of how dark it will become. Harriet Baxter, a cultured and refined woman approaching her 80th year, sits in her London flat in writing a memoir of events that happened in Glasgow in We are addressed directly as "Reader", as in a Victorian novel, such words as "sojourn" are used, and the writing is measured and stately. Yet a faint tinge of something wild and overwrought underlies. This, we are told, will be a testament to her "dear friend and soul mate", the artist Ned Gillespie, who burned all his paintings and committed suicide. Now, for posterity, she will be the first to record the true story of this "forgotten genius". The back-story forms the main body of the book, but we never lose touch with its present-day narrator, whose situation will be revealed eventually as the last act of a chlling drama.
What a great start back from our summer break, a popular book with loads to get our literary teeth into, and two new members, Trish and Glenda — both are very welcome! We first went round the circle to see what everybody made of the book itself.
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J ane Harris's debut, The Observations , was a rollicking door-stopper of a novel that drew its inspiration from the Victorian Gothic tradition of Wilkie Collins. Both a critical and commercial hit, the book was distinguished not only by the skill with which Harris unspooled her labyrinthine plot but by the originality of its narrative voice. Bessy Buckley, the irrepressible Irish scullery maid, was an unforgettable character, blunt but vulnerable, sharp-eyed but tender-hearted, and inclined to a hilariously disparaging running commentary on the habits of her social superiors. Gillespie and I is also a novel dominated by its narrator. Harriet Baxter is an elderly English woman embarking in upon the memoir of an artist she describes as a "forgotten genius".