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Join Katarina Mazetti to talk about BENNY AND SHRIMP, our May book of the month on Tuesday 14 June, 7pm

(69 Posts)
JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 23-May-11 10:21:00

For our first Book Club webchat, we've got Katarina Mazetti coming on to talk about Benny and Shrimp. She'll be joining us on this thread on Tuesday 14 June at 7pm

The book was a runaway bestseller in Mazetti's native Sweden and over a million copies have been sold worldwide. Benny is a gentle, overworked farmer, who lives in a chaotically untended farmhouse; the woman he calls Shrimp has a minimalist apartment in the city and intellectual friends. Will love overcome their differences in temperament and the habits of half a lifetime? Or is it all too much a case of Mars and Venus, and are they doomed to stay in their separate orbits?

Put your thoughts about the book here, or any questions you have for Katarina - whether you're nosy about her writing habits and where she gets her inspiration, or about her her own experiences of love against the odds.

You can also read more about the book here or order it from Amazon if you haven't read it yet.

eGJ Tue 24-May-11 19:08:27

Just finished Benny and Shrimp; I wouldn't have chosen it at a bookshop as she is an unknown author although the blurb on the back of the book is intreging. It takes a while to adapt to the rythm of the alternating voices, but its gentle pace draws you in. However I feel it slows down even more part way through and loses the reader, but I kept reading gamefully to the conclusion (no I won't reveal it!!) Is Katarina a country girl or a townie? I'd love to know; her sharp observations of the hardworking life in the country leads me to imagine the first.

mollie Tue 24-May-11 21:51:25

I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed it very much. It wouldn't have been my choice if not for Gransnet but I am pleased to have read it... I liked the double voice format and found myself cheering on Benny and getting cross with Shrimp. As a character he seemed more insightful and self-aware than she but that may have been my hindsight view based on a fast reading ... the ending wasn't satisfying (no, I won't reveal it either...) and left me with more questions than answers...

eGJ, I'd agree with you, Shrimp was a townie and lusted after Benny but not his lifestyle...

fallon8 Wed 25-May-11 14:16:21

My copy has arrived today!! Im thrilled.

SeasonofJoy Thu 26-May-11 11:09:03

Ordered my copy of Benny and Shrimp from local library. It came in yesterday and i've read over half already. Keep being drawn to pick it up but am going to slow down and think about these two love tangled characters. Will they make it together or not? What can I say, this book is in one word refreshing.

proudgrandma2005 Thu 26-May-11 18:44:59

First of all ,thanks to Gransnet for the free book !
I certainly would not have chosen this book for myself ..even after reading the outline on the cover .However ,never one to waste a gift ,I felt I should read it anyway. Once started on the book I was hooked and just had to carry on reading .The characters were plausible , the plot believable and interesting which all made for a quick read . I will certainly look for books by K.Mazetti in future .

JonFlorrie Fri 27-May-11 23:34:10

I was so glad to have received this book as a present courtesy of Gransnet. It was certainly a refreshing read and I finished it in two days (couldn't wait for bedtime to have a read!). I loved the format, and the clues of a patterned line or a line of cows at the start of each chapter to denote who was talking. I did notice that at the beginning the thoughts of Benny and Shrimp were well paced, and they speeded up later on with a jumble of events and thoughts pouring out, before slowing down again. My book had "book club Q and A" in the back, which answered some of the questions I had already started to form; do people expect their lover to change? why introduce Inez to the story? does class affect lovers so much? It would be so interesting to meet these two in ten years time and see how their lives have moved on, especially as they are obviously so special to each other. Would their relationship make you think about your own? Do you ever wonder if your partner has chosen you as second best?

Yiayia Mon 30-May-11 13:52:21

Not had a chance to start reading the book yet - as have to finish my current book - but looking forward to it. Always nice to receive something for free!

eGJ Wed 01-Jun-11 20:40:50

Question for KATARINA

Are you a country girl or a townie? I'd love to know; your sharp observations of the hardworking life in the country leads me to imagine the first.


goldengirl Wed 01-Jun-11 22:55:06

Didn't get a freebie sad but sent off for it from Amazon and it came today, so off to bed now to begin the read. At least it's not as long as Testament of Youth which I've just finished -phew!

GrannyK Thu 02-Jun-11 22:28:04

Unfortunately I will not be at home on the evening in question, but I would be very interested to know whether Katarina always intended the finsh the book with the current ending or whether she considered other outcomes for the pair?

(I will obviously rush back and look at the thread much later on !)

GrannyBusy Sun 05-Jun-11 15:01:56

V excited to have received my copy, thanks GNHQ
Just wish I'd remembered to take it on holiday with me. Have got a week to try and read it before the chat though.

GrandmamaCrevix Sun 05-Jun-11 15:59:40

Read this on holiday last week (thanks for freebie - much appreciated). Thoroughly enjoyed it and will pass it on to mother (who is the real Granny).

I'd like to see a sequel - Any plans for one? The next chapter in their lives?

Nannyjo Sun 05-Jun-11 22:21:48

I'm looking forward to mine arriving courtesy of ebay, hope it arrives soon so that I've finished it by the 14th. What's the next book if the month so I can get it ready?

GrannyTunnocks Sun 05-Jun-11 23:14:38

Thanks for the freebie gransnet. Enjoyed the book and read it in 2 days. Is there to be a sequel?

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 07-Jun-11 17:00:41

I still haven't received my book!

JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 09-Jun-11 15:20:07

Hopefully that's all sorted now, BecauseImWorthIt. Hope everyone's enjoying it so far!

BecauseImWorthIt Thu 09-Jun-11 17:46:20

I am looking forward to it! Thanks, JosieGransnet

Gamma Fri 10-Jun-11 10:43:54

Sorry to say that I just can't find any reason to continue reading this book. I am not drawn to either character and the question of whether or not Katarina is a city girl or country girl is not strong enough to keep me going.

As a former publisher, I have read hundreds of manuscripts and learned a long time ago that life is too short to finish a book just because I started it.

But a huge thanks to Gransnet for sending me the book. One never knows where the next 'great read' will come from. Please keep on recommending titles. Also a huge thumbs up for offering a book in translation.grin That is not done nearly enough.

jackie51 Fri 10-Jun-11 17:04:11

thank you gransnet for sending the book to me. read it on the plane to oslo to visit me son ..I liked the he,she format but probably would not have finished it if i hadnt been on the plane.couldnt get into either benny or shrimp or inez
Thank you again for thr copy,my swedish daughter in law had read the book too and had seen the movie and enjoyed both

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 10-Jun-11 18:56:39

My book has arrived! Hurrah, and thank you. I will try and finish it over the weekend.

marjorie Sun 12-Jun-11 12:34:59

Thanks Gamma, I was beginning to think I was the only one who was completely unmoved by the characters. I did finish the book, but was disappointed by the ending, particularly as I had taken the trouble to finish reading it. Had anyone else given me this book I certainly wouldn't have had the patience to finish it
.But Thanks Gransnet, you can't be expected to please everyone every time. I am looking forward to your next choice.

goldengirl Mon 13-Jun-11 12:27:19

I enjoyed the book as a quick non thought provoking read but can't believe it's been made into a film! I do like Scandavian writing though - at least the ones I've read so far as it doesn't spend time with oodles of description yet still manages to convey atmosphere and scenery. The chapter format is not original but I liked it. I too found the ending a let down and can't find much 'meat' to discuss in it.

The emphasis for me, appeared to be initially on Shrimp, but 3/4 way through I felt I understood and empathised more with Benny which is strange because in a similar situation in real life I would probably have behaved the same as Shrimp. She comes across as quite emotionally immature [what does that say about me????] - or is she a more realistic character? Is Shrimp really feeble and fragile, even though she says she isn't?

I found Inez rather spooky and wondered why she was brought in - and left?

SophiesMum Mon 13-Jun-11 14:56:31

Thanks for my free copy - a lovely surprise.
I too liked the format of the alternating voices and thought the book started very well. I was beginning to lose interest half way through though and felt it needed a little more going on. For instance I would have liked to learn more about the other characters such as Inez and Marta. This is not the sort of book I would have bought in a book shop, however having received a free copy I read it. Not too sure if I would buy another book by Katarina Mazetti, but I think I enjoyed it enough that I would at least pick one up and take a look.

Bay Tue 14-Jun-11 12:33:02

I'm afraid I didn't really like this book at all. I felt no empathy for the characters and the plot was a bit weak. However thank you for a free copy and I look forward to something more taxing next time