Emma Washburn watched the small figures across the mouth of the river. There was no change. Not that she could see from where she stood in the front room, which served as dining and sitting room for the Pines.
Prudence by David Treuer
We’ve agreed to only bring one (or one and a back-up in the event your one is suggested by someone else) suggestion to next month’s meeting to select our 2016 Brooklyn Book Club reading list. As one of the people who brought more than a dozen ideas last year (and the year, and the year before that…), I’m taking this need to winnow down my list very seriously. It has me wondering about what sort of a book makes the best Book Club read? I don’t expect it is the same for all groups, so I should be more specific, what is the best type of book for us? Non-fiction that makes us think, perhaps even debate? Light novels that result in friendly conversation? Heavy stories that we want to know how they impact other readers? Books that will result in philosophical discussion or ones that will make us all start reminiscing about our childhoods (this has happened more times than you’d think in our group)?
For example, I would recommend Prudence because I have questions that my Brooklyn Book Club co-members might be able to help answer. I’m going to attempt to phrase these in a way so they aren’t spoilers, but if you haven’t read it and you want to know nothing going in to a story, don’t keep reading.
Why did the author spend most of the first 153 pages on a particular character that didn’t make an appearance in the other 100 pages? What happened to Emma and Jonathan; did Mr. Treuer expect us not to care or to be able to assume the rest of their story line?
The prologue starts with this sentence: Everyone remembers that day in August 1952 when the Jew arrived on the reservation. It seems likely that the Jew was the stranger who visited Gephardt, but I didn’t understand that entire section so knowing that didn’t help me understand the significance to the mention of the Jew. Unless it was about secrets; although Gephardt doesn’t show up until page 215 and I didn’t care about his secrets.
Did Prudence die (this is revealed in the 4th sentence of the prologue) because she realized Billy was telling the truth about Frankie?
A funny thing happened as I wrote this post, I think I understand the story more than before I wrote it. In fact, I had to change the questions because as I wrote them I gained understanding of the story and answered the original questions myself.
So I may not be able to bring a dozen different titles to book group next month, but I’ll still have this blog to help me sort through any book I read.