Group Read, March 2020: Sometimes a Great Notion

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Group Read, March 2020: Sometimes a Great Notion

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1puckers
Edited: Feb 29, 2020, 5:22pm

This month's group read is Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Please join in the read and post any comments here. This is the first group read in nine months that I haven’t previously read so I’ll be able to join in this time.

2JayneCM
Mar 1, 2020, 12:19am

>1 puckers: Getting very difficult for you to find a book you haven't read!

My library hold of this book arrived last week so let's hope that I can, for once, read a group challenge book in the correct month.

3annamorphic
Mar 8, 2020, 2:52pm

After about 100 pages I'm thinking that this is going to be a challenging yet also a wonderful read. The point of view keeps shifting without any warning, which was especially disorienting at the beginning. But the writing is amazing, rich and flavorful. Kesey's world-making ability is really something. And his characters kind of grow into being in your head.

4BentleyMay
Mar 8, 2020, 5:19pm

I'm looking forward to starting this!

5puckers
Mar 11, 2020, 2:36pm

It’s certainly an interesting read so far. The frequent changes in perspective mean you have to concentrate, and the multiple viewpoints scattered through single paragraphs make me glad I’m reading this as a physical book rather than trying it as an audiobook.

6puckers
Mar 12, 2020, 5:45pm

I had discussed in another thread my amusement at Meryl Streep appearing in movie adaptation of The Hours as the character who in the book is trying to get a glimpse of Meryl Streep. Similarly in Get Shorty a character is bemoaning how difficult it is to get Gene Hackman to appear in a movie, and in the movie this character is played by Gene Hackman. Well in this book I see the local picture house is playing a Paul Newman movie - I wonder if Hank, played by Paul Newman in the movie adaptation Never Give an Inch will be going to the show!

7puckers
Mar 17, 2020, 3:19pm

I am now 400 pages in. Finding it “messy” with the constant changes in time and perspective, but at the same time this can make the experience quite exhilarating. The first half concentrates particularly on the relationship between the two brothers Hank and Lee and the buildup of their complex characters is good, albeit the story moves along rather slowly. The recent introduction of cool and confident union boss Draeger in to the story moves the story along and starts setting things up for the showdown that opens the book but presumably ends the story.

Looking forward to how things develop.

8BentleyMay
Mar 20, 2020, 10:57am

I am having a really hard time getting into this book. I have tried a paper version and an audiobook, and both together too.

In general, though, I am having a hard time focusing for long-ish periods of time. I'm going to give it another go this weekend.

9annamorphic
Mar 20, 2020, 11:29am

This is not an easy book to read. It demands, really demands, a lot of attention, even while it seems so homey and descriptive. I also do find the character of Leland so selfish and annoying that it is hard to spend so much time with him. His brother keeps saving his life (literally) and all he can think about is revenge. It certainly never occurs to him that maybe his mother was not perfect either.

The book also vibrates with 60s notions of masculinity, and I find those annoying too.

Almost against my will, I still do admire the book. It's unusual and kind of incredible, in its own way.

10puckers
Mar 23, 2020, 7:07pm

I finished the book at last - one of the slowest reads I've done as you have to concentrate to work out who's head you are in from paragraph to paragraph. Certainly list worthy in its unique delivery and complexity, but not a book for a lazy read. Overall I liked it even though the tension between the two brothers forms much of the narrative and takes a long time to build towards a sort of cathartic resolution.

>9 annamorphic: Men certainly dominate the book, though Hank's wife Viv has equal billing in the second half, and Jenny the native American keeps popping in and out I don't think the women are as well drawn as the men.

11amerynth
Mar 27, 2020, 7:10pm

This book is waiting for me at my closed for the time being library. I'm going to get it at some point, though these comments aren't making me terribly excited to read it.