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October book club - Cousins

(44 Posts)
LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 05-Oct-17 10:03:30

All you lucky winners should be receiving your copies of Cousins shortly - more details about the book HERE. Please remember to leave your questions and comments for Salley on this thread by the end of the month.

Happy reading!

callgirl1 Tue 31-Oct-17 21:58:37

I`m coming up towards the end of the book now, and sadly, my opinion hasn`t changed, I just haven`t enjoyed this book, sorry GN.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 01-Nov-17 16:30:09

Just to say we don't have a December book club so it should all even out by January. But of course, more time to read this one not an issue

Skynnylynny Wed 01-Nov-17 17:45:00

Only just got the book so no chance of questions or review before October’s end. I have started to read it but am finding it hard going and not sure if I will persevere. Will let you know.

EthelJ Thu 02-Nov-17 10:52:44

I have just finished Cousins, and although I didn't find it an easy read I am glad I have finished it, also very pleased to have been given a free copy as it made me read a book I probably wouldn't normally buy.

Most of the questions I would want to ask the author were covered in the Q&A at the back of the book, ie what influence her own parents and experience of the Communist Party had on the characters of Betsy and Fred and how her work as a psychologist has affected the novel. Particularly as the themes of guilt and unresolved and buried issues seem to run through the book. I would however like to ask her why she introduced the character of Syd. She seemed to me to be superfluous while the othet family members have a role and play a part in the narrative. Syd didn't really seem to be necessary. Was she there to provide a balance and be a character outside of the conflict? If so I think Hetta carried that part better.

I can see why the author did it but I think the number of characters and jumping around with time zones made it a bit harder to follow eg in Hettas's early narrative I found I had to constantly remind myself how old she was she seemed to be drinking cider in a pub when she was about 15 and travelling alone to London at a very young age.

I was intrigued by the relationship between Betsy and Fred and Will and Ceal as both in a way seemed to be in abusive relationships. The first time Fred and Betsy consummate their relationship is described as almost rape. Betsy does not object but it's not really consensual. And Will manipulate Ceal throughout and especially at the end.

I know the author is exploring families and the affect of past events on future generations but I would like to ask her how important she thinks it is that Will and Cecilia and Betsy and Fred are cousins. It does seem almost like incest as they were brought up to be as close as siblings. Was this intentional and how does it change or enhance the story?

inishowen Thu 02-Nov-17 12:12:52

I have to admit I'm not getting into this book. I read late at night and this one was sending me to sleep. I'm going to take it on holiday in December and give it a chance.

mbody Sun 05-Nov-17 09:37:29

I have tried twice to read this book but have given up. Nothing to hold my interest, very slow and no sympathy with any characters.

Telly Mon 06-Nov-17 13:28:35

I have just finished reading Cousins and enjoyed it very much. It might be just me, but I could have used a family tree as I did get a bit confused as to who was who. I would say that I did think it was stretching it a bit to think that teenagers of the opposite sex would be sharing a bedroom! However a good read.

annsixty Mon 06-Nov-17 13:37:50

Another one here who is finding this book hard going.
I am getting a bit tired of reading about dysfunctional families, while accepting that normal families are boring to read about.
I am pleased that some readers are enjoying it, we do not all like the same thing, Thank goodness.

Pittcity Thu 09-Nov-17 16:38:23

I have just finished Cousins and found the family tree inside the back cover too late!
Found it hard to get into but was glad that I persevered. The story is told in quiet personal detail from several perspectives and in different time frames. The differences in life at different times and the similarities running through a family throughout the generations are explored.
A lot is explained at the back of the book so I have no questions.

Swanny Thu 09-Nov-17 17:21:23

I must apologise to Salley Vickers and to GN for not being able to review this book but I just could not get into it. I do try to finish every book I start (after all something about it must have attracted me), but in this case I felt life is just too short! I had to re-read the last pages I'd read before moving on, but fell asleep at the same point again! I will give it another go in a few month's time before passing it on to someone else, but at the moment it's a 'no' from me.

Moocow Thu 09-Nov-17 17:43:28

Just finished reading my copy. I deliberately didn't look on gransnet to say Thank you for the surprise as I'd forgotten about the chance to receive one of the books so I didn't want to see what other faster readers might already have written, as I had been away when it arrived. I must start by saying for me the beginning seemed like forced drama done to capture me but not sustain my interest firmly. It took more concentration than I would have liked for an easy read. However, I do like diary entries as a quicker way round a story so when that did happen they were very welcome It hasn't put me off checking out my local library for any Salley Vickers books though. I would question, why was the decision made to put the family tree at the back of the book? I rarely flick to the back of books I am reading in case I glimpse something which spoils my imagination of what is coming so seeing it at the very end was a tad annoying. I liked the book overall as the print type was good for me along with the spacing and length of chapters for being able to out down. I hate it when I have to stop mid chapter!

Moocow Thu 09-Nov-17 17:44:29

put down not 'out down', obviously.

annsixty Thu 09-Nov-17 18:16:34

Like Swanny I don't like giving up on books especially when they have been given free but I have given up on this I am sorry to say.
It has been sitting on a coffee table looking at me reproachfully but as others have given up on it I now don't feel guilty.

callgirl1 Thu 09-Nov-17 20:49:07

I did finish the book, but don`t really have any questions as I couldn`t get into it enough to make any questions necessary. Sorry.

notreallyagran Wed 15-Nov-17 21:49:57

First of all, thank you to GN for the book and for the extra reading time. I found it a compelling read, very moving and quite disturbing in places. I kept finding that I had stopped reading to think about my own family and the relationships within it, which to me is the mark of a really good book. I had the same thoughts about the family tree as other people - I wanted one all through the story and didn't find the one in the back of the book until I'd finished. I don't seem to have any questions either, having read the Q&A at the back of the book, but I'd love to hear anything else that Salley Vickers has to say about it.

Craftycat Thu 16-Nov-17 11:43:31

I was looking forward to reading this book as I loved Cleaner of Chartres & Miss Garnet's Angel but to be honest I found this book very hard going. I did not find the family tree until I saw it mentioned on this page! I wish I had as I had trouble remembering who was who- maybe as I was reading it in bed at night.
I found the main characters very self obsessed - in fact the relationships between family members were rather odd altogether- hardly a normal family but then that would not make much of a story I know.
I think it was a rather too long book about people I could not warm to. Thank you for the opportunity to read it but I would not say I enjoyed it.

patparti Thu 16-Nov-17 16:59:21

Thank you for my copy! I think I will be in a minority here as I really enjoyed it! I found it interesting having the story unfold through three different narratives and, unlike many other members, I thought it was difficult to put down!! Still we can't all like the same thing!

harrigran Wed 29-Nov-17 21:21:57

I am sorry but this is the poorest book I have read this year. The story does not flow and the flitting backwards and forwards just makes for confusion.
When I realised it was partly set in an area near me I thought it would be interesting but sadly not.
I will not be seeking out any more of Sally Vicker's books.