The Seniors Book Club will meet Wednesday, November 12 at 2 pm in the second floor Training Room. We will discuss the novel The Confabulist by Steven Galloway, one of our recent StarFest authors. As many of you were at the event we should have an interesting conversation, enriched by your impressions.
Confabulation is the invention of imaginary memories to compensate for memory loss. It’s not lying because the confabulist is not aware the memories are false. This fascinating novel is narrated by Martin Strauss, who confesses to two things: he is the man who killed Harry Houdini (twice), and he suffers from a degenerative condition that affects his brain’s ability to store memories. Strauss tells a fascinating story about the unknown Houdini: stage magician—sure, we all know that—but also a secret spy for the U.S. Treasury Department, advisor to the American military, confidant of a Russian spy, faker of his own death. Strauss’ story so cleverly mixes historical fact with fiction that it is virtually impossible to separate the two (and, remember, Strauss believes it’s all true). Author Galloway will often take a real event, such as Houdini’s escape from a prison transport in Moscow, and layer on fictional elements, but it’s done so seamlessly that it’d be easy to think the whole episode really happened (as Strauss, in fact, does). The book’s title itself could easily apply either to Strauss (for obvious reasons) or to Houdini himself, whose escape-artist persona, even his name, was an embellishment of the real man. A brilliant novel, and one that virtually demands multiple readings to pick up all the subtleties (especially concerning the end of the book, and enough said about that).
The Monday Evening Book Club will meet November 10th at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall to discuss the intriguing historical novel Life after life by British author Kate Atkinson.
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its destiny? And if she can–will she?
Kate Atkinson’s homepage
New York Times review
Youtube video of an author interview
Chatelaine Q & A with Kate Atkinson