‘Literary’ fiction is a strange term, both to those who don’t read this apparent non-genre, and those that do. Indeed, it’s something that seems to define itself as the things that it isn’t rather than the things that it is, and this most certainly is not always a signifier of being ‘good’. A Boy Made From Blocks, which came with a bold declaration on its cover as the ‘most uplifting’ novel of the year, was chosen by one reader as an assertion to test the groups conceptions of what is ‘good’ and what isn’t.
The novel centres on a father and son, the latter of whom has autism. Alex, the father, struggles to not just connect with his son, but his wife as well, and when we start the novel we’re seeing a breakdown in his marriage. It was noted though how the father and son relationship and its development was not instigated by the father, but instead by the son, Sam, and his interest in Minecraft; a dynamic not always seen in our mainstream culture. As a result the flourishing of their relationship was because of Sam’s direction. This was a powerful rejoinder to those who didn’t necessarily see beyond the literary quality to the work and as the debate centred around the idea of what makes a bestseller and indeed, what makes a book ‘good’, the anachronistic beauty of Minecraft represented itself as a potentially easier way to build bridges in our divides.
The group really has now opened itself up as a casual, but engaging way to discussing the literary world and of course, our own worlds. Next, we read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (1969: Vintage Classics, 192 pp.), his anti-war novel that borrows elements of science-fiction that tells of Vonnegut’s WWII experiences.
Please note that there has been a change in the scheduling. October’s book will now be The Disappeared by Ali Harper, a Leeds-based detective novel published by Harper Collins.
August: Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
September: At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien
October: The Disappeared – Ali Harper
November: Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord – Louis de Bernieres
December: The Hare With the Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal
For more information please contact Liam on Inkwellreadersgroup@gmail.com
Inkwell’s Readers Group meets at Inkwell every third Saturday at 11am. We hope you can join us at our next meet up on September 15th 2018