Monday Evening Book Club November Selection

dictionary-of-mutual-understandingThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet in Forsyth Hall on November 14 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton.

About the book

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

About Jackie Copleton

Living in Nagasaki

A Richard and Judy Interview

A Youtube version of the interview

A Reading Guide

Reviews

The bombing of Nagasaki

After the A-bomb: then and now (photographs)

NY Times article about Obama visit to Hiroshima

Seniors Book Club November Selection

piano-makerThe Seniors Book Club will meet in the 2nd floor Training Room on Wednesday, November 9th at 2 pm. This month we’re discussing The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka.

About the book

Helene Giroux arrives alone in St. Homais on a winter day. She wears good city clothes and drives an elegant car, and everything she owns is in a small trunk in the back seat. In the local church she finds a fine old piano, a Molnar, and she knows just how fine it is, for her family had manufactured these pianos before the Great War. Then her mother’s death and war forces her to abandon her former life. The story moves back and forth in time as Helene, settling into a simple life, playing the piano for church choir, recalls the extraordinary events that brought her to this place. They include the early loss of her soldier husband and the reappearance of an old suitor who rescues her and her daughter, when she is most desperate; the journeys that very few women of her time could even imagine, into the forests of Indochina in search of ancient treasures and finally, and fatefully, to the Canadian north. When the town policeman confronts her, past and present suddenly converge and she must face an episode that she had thought had been left behind forever. The suspenseful, emotionally resonant, and utterly compelling story of what brings an enigmatic French woman to a small Canadian town in the 1930s, a woman who has found depths of strength in dark times and comes to discover sanctuary at last.
About the author

Kurt Palka was born and educated in Austria. He began his working life in Africa where he wrote for the African Mirror and made wildlife films in Kenya and Tanzania. He has worked on international stories for CTV and GLOBAL TV, wrote for American and Canadian publications such as the Chronicle Herald and the Globe and Mail, and worked as a Senior Producer for the CBC. The Piano Maker is his sixth novel. His previous work includes Clara, which was originally published in hardcover as Patient Number 7, and was a finalist for The Hammett Prize. He lives near Toronto. (adapted from  https://www.bookreporter.com/authors/kurt-palka and https://penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/23101/kurt-palka-1 )

A Globe and Mail interview

Publisher’s Reading Guide

A Toronto Star review

A Manitoban review

A Globe and Mail review

A London Free Press review