The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series:The Hill Country Authors Series will feature Air National Guard major MJ Hegar on at the library. She is author of Shoot Like a Girl and we will be discussing her novel at the event. Please help us publicize this fund raising event and plan to join us at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W 8th St. The doors will open at for a delicious dessert from the Red Poppy Cafe, with the talk beginning at Tickets will be available for $15 beginning at Second-Hand Prose bookstore on the second floor of the library and online at www.folgeorgetown.org/calen
Monday, March 19, 2007
Catch the Song
Today we discussed The Songcatcher, by Sharyn McCrumb. Everyone enjoyed the book, and there was plenty to think and say about it. We are becoming such experienced critics! We know how to find the themes that carry through, such as the subtle examples throughout the book of the McCourry curse, where parents slight the firstborn child. We noticed that a couple of things didn’t quite fit, such as the question as to why the spirit of Fred, the pilot of the airplane that had crashed long before the story, still was hanging around, when spirits aren’t supposed to need to stay unless there is unfinished business, and there didn’t seem to be any for Fred. We noticed that some of the characters’ stories didn’t get resolved, such as Lark’s and the relationship between Lark and her father, and also Becky Tilden. There was no indication as to what would happen to Becky later. Did she inherit Lark’s father’s property? Of course, Lark wouldn’t want or need it, but things were left up in the air. Someone suggested that relationships are not always completed in real life, either.
Although we found the weak spots in the book, that didn’t mean that we didn’t also notice stengths. We enjoyed the history and the descriptions of life in this special part of the country both for the time of the modern story as well as for the various historical times. McCrumb covered many generations in this story, weaving them all together with several simple themes. We liked the subtle hints and ideas that were but left to the reader to figure out, eg, that the young lady toward the end whose boyfriend had mentioned the “stained” petticoats suddenly realized that the boyfriend had been the murderer. And the salt that Nora put on the front step…ghosts can’t pass across salt. (I hadn’t known that.)
Several of us had read more than one of Sharyn McCrumb’s novels and told us that the characters Nora, Spencer, and LeDonne are recurring characters…always pivotal but never really main characters. There were a lot of characters in the book! They were all connected, but some more loosely than others. Some of us tried to keep track of the connections and/or genealogy.
Discussion also centered on some of our own experiences traveling through Appalachia or knowing people from there. It always enriches our discussions when some of us tell about their personal connections to what we are reading!
One other author was mentioned who has written some good stories about Appalachia: Lee Smith. Her book that seemed most recommended by our members was Fair and Tender Ladies. If you are interested in this book, you may want to look at it and think about nominating it sometime.