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June Book Club - The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

(169 Posts)
KatGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 04-Jun-14 12:22:36

This month's book pick is The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons, the captivating story of the life and loves of a woman who breaks free of her strict Jewish upbringing and joins the world of art and artists in sixties London.

If you received one of our free copies don't forget to leave your comments and questions below for the author. We'll be sending questions off to Natasha at the end of June.

Also - if you have a spare couple of minutes - do take the time to post your review of the book in our Reviews section: www.gransnet.com/reviews/books

Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:38

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:39

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:39

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:39

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Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:33:39

I absolutely love this book and felt it introduced me into the world of an artist in a very vivid way, enabling me to appreciate paintings just by her description and the struggles of everyday life in the 60's and the Jewish culture. Juliet showed her true self as a female and not just as a mother constricted by her religion and the life and behaviour that was expected of her. The expectations that to have any respectability she must adhere to rules of living made impossible by the non-conformance of a missing husband. Her persistance in proving her worth and living her life true to herself regardless of condemnation, whilst trying not to hurt or further damage the ones she loved.Accepting the consequences of anothers behaviour whom you have no control over and expected to show remorse for the rest of your life, is not an easy path to walk.
The world of an artist is self-absorbing and all consuming, with a passion that blinds oneself in a world of ones own. She evolved into this world and found her true self; a success, of value, needed, wanted, revered instead of the blacklisted failure who's husband had left in her limbo. I disagree that she was irresponsible with her children, remember it is 1960's, we had different parenting techniques in that era. How many people used to leave their children alone in a Pontins/Butlins chalet with the so called 'Minding service' where 'strange men' you had never met called 'security' walked around the holiday park and perhaps checked at half hour intervals and if children were heard crying made an announcement over a tannoy for you to return to the chalet?? I did this many times in the 1980's never mind 60's, but now it horrifies me and I wouldn't do it under any circumstances. It was widely accepted as safe parenting then and to be honest I would have thought the children were safer in the woods where nobody passed by,
than a holiday camp where unsavioury people could monitor which chalets had vunerable children alone and they had half an hour to do their worst and as long as they made sure the children didn't make a noise they wouldn't get caught...the things I have learned with ageshock.
Most books I tend to scan read if the sentence or sometimes paragraph has boring, bland writing to pad the story out , but I read every word of this book, slowly and savoured each sentence it was so absorbing with things to reflect on.It was a book I did not want to end.....smile

Spidergran Sat 28-Jun-14 19:35:40

OMG I am not very good with technology I have no idea why this has posted over and over again and I cannot seem to remove it, sorry...blush

Lotie Sun 29-Jun-14 17:09:32

I hope I'm not too late to say I am enjoying reading this book, and am finding it quite educational as I didn't know a great deal about Judaism. I would like to ask Natasha what her family's reaction was to the story. Thank you for the opportunity to discover a new author whose other books I shall hope to read.

Annie29 Sun 29-Jun-14 19:45:32

I could not put this book down and really enjoyed it.
I found it informative about Jewish family life.
I felt the females were stronger characters than the men, dont know If this is the case generally in Jewish families.
I found the length of chapters unusual and wondered why it was written this way.
Thank you for this book would read more books by this author

wallers5 Mon 30-Jun-14 10:55:46

Mine arrived earlier in super pristine condition. Lovely. A good old fashioned story. I was in London in the 60's so it rings a bell. My daughter will love it after me. She lives in Dorset so will know the feeling of never leaving the county.

appygran Mon 30-Jun-14 14:26:43

I found this book waiting for me on my return from holiday, thank you gransnet. I started reading this lovely book last night and am enthralled by the story. No questions yet but I may have one later in the week.

Ysgf24 Mon 30-Jun-14 14:38:14

Thanks so much for my book, it was enjoyable to be reading a book again, after being dedicated e- reader for the last couple of years. I thoroughly enjoyed, the book; it is a well-crafted page turner of a novel, with engaging characters that ring true (although my experience of the cultural background is limited). I felt for Juliet in her state of non-being ... Being an invisible middle-aged woman myself! There were many interesting questions raised to ponder .. The value of art vs. a fridge being only the first. However, the small paragraph which remains with me and which I will consider much in the future is about our perception of art and whether we actually all see the same picture at all. This jives completely with the experience of reading a novel ... Do we actually all get the same from a novel? No, of course we do not. Which is why 'the book of the film' so frequently disappoints. I wonder what Natasha Solomon's strongest picture of her book is? Juliet emerging as a strong, independent businesswoman? Her relationship with Max? Or her children? Or the power of the portrait?

Elsie10 Mon 30-Jun-14 14:58:38

I just loved reading this book. It arrived the day before we were due to depart for fortnight's holiday in Wales in our caravan and I packed it along with 3 others without much enthusiasm on first glance. Once I was into it I couldn't put it down - I liked the style of writing, the brilliant descriptions of commonplace things, the insight into jewish customs (I had wondered why my half jewish daughter-in-law always had chicken on Fridays and often brought me a seed cake!) I felt that the book was complete - and was left realising that the cataloguing of each chapter's picture related to Leonard's exhibition of his mother's portraits after her death. I was sorry to come to the end and will pass it on to another book loving friend when she visits me next week. A brilliant read.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 01-Jul-14 11:27:05

Just to say we have sent the questions to Natasha and will post the answers as soon as we can

lighty Fri 04-Jul-14 23:58:15

Firstly thanks for the book - first one I have read off kindle for a while - and so glad I picked it up - really enjoyable and what a different "plot" -there are so many books with a similar theme and this was completely different - well done and thanks again !!

keriku Sat 05-Jul-14 13:03:29

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I loved the insight into Jewish family life and felt so sorry that Juliet was ostracised through no fault of her own, due to her husband leaving her. Incredible from a people who have been so maltreated themselves. I liked the idea of trying to find her own identity via paintings, yet still never really being able to see the love that was right in front of her! A book that I will enjoy passing on to friends and discussing with them.

NatashaSolomons Fri 18-Jul-14 11:11:19

chloe1984

I really enjoyed reading this book even though it is far removed from the type of novel I normally read. Is the picture on page 342 of Rosie Solomons?

Yes, it’s a painting by my brother-in-law the children’s book author/ illustrator, Ross Collins.