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July book club - Holding by Graham Norton

(71 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 05-Jul-17 16:56:36

All the details about the book right here

If you receive a free copy don't forget to leave your thoughts and questions for Graham here. As he has a particularly heavy schedule at the moment he won't be able to answer all questions but we will pick out ten or so and send them over at the end of the month.

hulahoop Sun 16-Jul-17 15:42:42

I have found Holding a easy book to read when reading I could visualise this village and the characters in my minds eye .

Question to Graham
Do you keep to set hours when writing or do you have a more relaxed approach.

Waveney Sun 16-Jul-17 17:06:14

I have just finished reading this book. If I had posted after the first few chapters I would have said it was the best book choice GN had sent me, but, although I enjoyed it, I felt that it lost some of it's charm after PJ's encounter with Bridie. Graham Norton did capture the atmosphere of the village well, making it feel almost claustrophobic. Although I had guessed the culprit early on, I had not anticipated the other twists. I wonder if any of the characters are based on people Graham has met?

craftygran Mon 17-Jul-17 11:15:35

I really enjoyed the style of writing and loved the descriptions of Ireland and the village. The plot was involved enough to keep me interested but not too confusing.

Purpledaffodil Mon 17-Jul-17 20:19:17

I really enjoyed this book and found it a page turner. For a first novel it was very skilfully written, what a versatile man Graham Norton is!
I did find there were some little niggles when I finished the book, possibly because I read it so quickly and so will be rereading it soon.
I can see this book as a film. Does Graham think it might happen?
I would also ask Graham which he prefers, acting, singing or writing very entertaining novels?

mischief Tue 18-Jul-17 08:30:19

I hoped I would enjoy this book and I did. At first the depth to which the characters was examined was a bit annoying but gradually I began to love the well-observed insight into each character. You realise that the face a person shows to the world is but one facet of a person's life.

We all have our secrets, big or small, but this gentle, charming, little page-turner shows that secrets can have catastrophic consequences when they come out.

The only criticism I have is that the book that I received was of poor quality. Every page I read curled making it hard to hold with one hand.

Question for Graham: When I was introduced to Mrs Meany, I thought her name was a nickname, giving us an insight into her character (i.e. Mr Happy, Little Miss Naughty) but it turned out to be her actual name. Why did he choose this name?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 18-Jul-17 09:40:45


Another super choice for us GN readers. I really enjoyed the picture of village life that Graham painted so vividly. A well written tale that developed interesting characters and documented their interaction. Graham really knows the secret heart of the village, the gossip, the recluse, the nosy neighbour are all depicted.
Into all this is interwoven a murder mystery which made me want to read more.
I have a question for GN. How do you choose the books? Is it on recommendation from the publisher and do you read each one yourselves?

Hi Gilly

We take a look at all the books coming out over the year and try to choose a range that will appeal to most if not all (we appreciate that we all have different tastes). Oh and yes, we read all of them ourselves.

chelseababy Wed 19-Jul-17 05:33:02

I read this on holiday and it was perfect - easy to read and enough of a mystety to keep me interestef. Like others i found PJ a sympathetic character and hope to hear more of him.

Pittcity Wed 19-Jul-17 15:53:22

I could imagine the village and the characters inhabiting it as they are so well described throughout. The plot had enough twists to keep me intrigued, even though at times it was a bit far fetched.
I would recommend this as a holiday read and would love to hear about what happened to PJ afterwards.
Thank you Graham for showing us another talent.

gillybob Wed 19-Jul-17 16:24:11

As I said earlier I could really see this as a TV series. Grahams descriptions of the characters made them really easy to imagine. I almost fell in love with PJ myself.

Dadima123 Thu 20-Jul-17 21:16:34

Thank you, Gransnet, I enjoyed reading the book.
Holding turned out to be unexpectedly gentle - gently told, in a gentle, almost fragile setting.
The small village life described beautifully, the characters believable. In the telling of the tale, one had a sense of slight tongue in cheek humour, but at the same time one felt for some of the chatacters with a life not quite lived - I.e. the tragic characters - Lizzie Meanie and the Ross sisters.
Although gentle, the tale is well paced and keeps one well engaged throughout.
PJ is likeable and makes one feel sympathetic towards him.
The book could easily be a start of many more tales of the village. I can almost visualise a tv series in that setting, with more characters developed.
Mr Norton, are there plans for more Duneen tales?
Or, having told the tale, have you now moved on to other projects?
If so what? I'd be interested in reading more from Mr Norton.
Thank you.

Gagagran Fri 21-Jul-17 08:37:15

I have just finished this book and enjoyed it, particularly the way the characters were drawn with such understanding of human weaknesses and frailties. We once had a lovely holiday in a little village not too far from Cork, which was very like Graham describes his fictional Duneen so it felt very real to me.

I would love to read more about PJ - the Sergeant and wonder if he is going to feature in another book?

annemac101 Mon 24-Jul-17 13:36:08

I really enjoyed this book by Graham Norton. His characters are well written and there was enough in the book to me me turning the pages. Good twist at the end a great offering for a first fiction book. I'd like to ask Graham when did he start writing fiction? Have you always written it for yourself and a,ways had ideas in your head or did the popularity of your autobiographies spur you on to writing more as I suspect there's only so much you can write about your own life.

harrigran Mon 24-Jul-17 22:49:27

I really enjoyed Holding. Every character had their own story but PJ Collins was the larger than life character who brought it all together.
The story of Mrs Meany was particularly sad as she never was a Mrs and lived all her life without being able to acknowledge her son.
I would like to think PJ found love and settled down when he went to work in Cork, was the ending of the book a little hint perhaps ?

Maggiemaybe Tue 25-Jul-17 00:00:15

I really liked the book, which was a good holiday read with some well-drawn characters and interesting twists (though I did manage to guess them for once, so they can't have been too unexpected!). It reminded me a bit of the Fannie Flagg books. You say that Graham's very busy right now, so I'd like to know what he's up to (nosy old biddy alert!). What's so important that he has to leave his loyal Radio 2 fans to the tender mercies of Allan and Mel and their manic giggling for ten whole Saturdays? Is it another book? If so, I'll forgive him and look forward to reading it.

cornergran Tue 25-Jul-17 04:34:28

This is a book to enjoy on many levels. It is an easy read, good for a holiday or those times we want something to read fairly quickly. It is also a book to trigger thought about the characters and their lives, to consider what isn't quite spelled out. It is very descriptive, I could 'feel' the village. It does seem one that could easily turn into a series, I'm not sure about television and would be interested to know if Graham has considered either option. Thank you GN for the opportunity to enjoy this book.

Greenfinch Tue 25-Jul-17 07:03:21

I could not get into this book at first but by Part 2 I was hooked.I enjoyed all the characters but especially the contrast between Evelyn and Brid(is it pronounced Brid or Bride?)One had such a sad life while the latter seemed much more able to cope and was a much stronger character.I would like to ask Graham if any of the characters are based on people he knows and if he enjoyed writing stories as a child.

granh1 Tue 25-Jul-17 18:57:48

I liked this book. It was easy to read with a gentle flow to the story line, yet it had enough suspense to keep you reading a little more to see what happened next.

It was set in Ireland and had some excellent descriptive passages giving a picture of the rural setting of the story. Eg “the air was thick with a wet mist and the horizon was lost in the various shades of grey that blurred the sky and sea into a single mottled canvas. The small red car parked on the cliff looked like a wound in the vast bleakness”. Powerful, as well as descriptive!

The characters are all well portrayed, I could imagine them - the portly police man, the solid farmer’s wife, the rather eccentric, isolated sisters. There was a range of problem behaviour – excessive drink and compulsive eating, both triggered by poor self-esteem. Jealousy, anger, resentment simmering below the surface, over a man who two women love. The man disappears, has he run away? Then we have the discovery of two bodies, and the unearthing of long hidden secrets.

A question for Graham - any more books in the pipe line?

Mapleleaf Tue 25-Jul-17 21:58:48

I've really enjoyed reading this book. It has been an easy read - a book that can be put down but then picked up again without having to do a quick recap. The characters are believable and well portrayed.
Thank you GN for sending me another good read.
I hope that this is going to be the first of many fiction books that Graham writes - well done, Graham for writing such an engaging novel.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 26-Jul-17 17:15:21

Just a wee reminder to those who won copies...the end of the month is approaching and we will be sending questions over to Graham next week. So if you got a copy do add yours asap

annsixty Wed 26-Jul-17 17:25:36

Well I did post but didn't ask a question so here goes,
Graham, are you proposing to write more fiction and if so will it be set in Ireland again? You certainly know about village life. Were you brought up in that environment?
I would like to read a comedy by you, I think you would be very good in that genre.

weather Thu 27-Jul-17 12:56:58

This must be the place to say many thanks for this book which I took 2 days to read as soon as it came though the door...Interesting story but rather a lot of "F's" which I felt were unnecessary but quite a good read.

merlotgran Thu 27-Jul-17 13:25:04

I found the first part really slow and although it was necessary for the characters to grow, I found myself constantly checking back as my attention was wandering.

I'm glad I didn't give it the Red Chair though because the pace picks up in Part 2 and although it's not a gripping crime novel there's enough drama to keep the pages turning.

Graham, I'd also like to ask if you will be writing any future novels and what other ways of life inspire you?

Cherrytree59 Fri 28-Jul-17 17:54:28

Hi Graham
I sometimes have trouble sleeping and have recently discovered audio books which I listen to during the night.
Last night after having read the reviews on GN I purchased your book Holding.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that you were the narrator as well as the author.
How did this come about?
Was it your choice to narrate or was it suggested by your publisher?
I think your voice adds to the story as I can switch back to reading your book on my pad and will still to hear your voice in my head .

halfgran Mon 31-Jul-17 12:53:48

Finally got to read and finish this book after OH nabbed it first! His review - good read but not what he was expecting from Graham Norton - no further explanation as to what he did expect! I really enjoyed this book, especially so for the descriptive passages, made it very easy to visualise the places and characters. Cherrytree I had graham Norton's voice in my head without it being an audio book lol. I also, like some other readers thought it would make a good tv series. Question for Graham are there going to be any sequels to follow PJ's career paths?

obag Wed 02-Aug-17 09:38:58

Enjoyed the book, found it a little hard to get into, but glad I carried on. Like Annsixty I didn't find the characters held my attention and by the end of the book I was losing interest. I would however recommend the book as an easy holiday read.