The ending is the best part of the book for myself. Not because was desperate to finish, but I like books without a traditional fairytale ending; it is more real. I think the concept of the book was probably intending to get across that life in 80s and indeed subsequently does not run like a 19th century Austin novel but it is only on the last page that this really comes across.
The caption on the front cover likens it to One Day; it is not that good! The first few chapters jump about in time, so little hard to get into. It does get better, but it has not got the same humour on poingency as One day.
Overall although readable, but not a must read.
This book prompted some great discussion!
Naming of Character Ruth
On my way to book club I mentioned to my brother, I was going. He asked what book was, he likes giving opinions of books that he has not read, so I asked him whether Ruth was author. My brother said, no that author was just lazy naming characters. I asked others at book club whether they thought Ruth was author. Someone said yes and I made the flippant comment that otherwise author was lazy at naming characters.
The same person who said that Ruth was author, said book self indulgent. Apparently author has later spent 3 hours, looking at own face in mirror and written a book about it, so that sounds self indulgent.
The book was interesting in given an insight in Japanese culture. Apparently others are aware of how viewed as an outsider such as Nao may be ostracised as Nao was at school. There was debate about whether even teacher would do that and some thought he would.
Uncle and Crow
We talked for ages without mentioning Uncle’s narrative. I raised that fact; hypothesising that this meant it was not needed in the book. But some said, enjoyed his narrative and history was interesting.
Some thought crow represented Uncle, which blew others minds. It could be one explanation for how Uncle’s secret diary, got back to his Mother as crow could have taken it back.
When ending was first mentioned, I realised I could not remember how ended as ending was such non event for me. Others were similarly disappointed but, but it did prompt lots of discussion.
Some were saying that ending meant Nao had wrote Ruth rather than as, I had thought that Ruth wrote Nao.
Someone else said about how Dad’s computer program was explanation for some strange occurrences. In the book, it says the program , ‘changed origami of time’. So that could explain some pages of diary being blank at one time. If the program deleted internet files that could explain how article Ruth found on internet was later deleted. We talked about how you can now ask to be removed from google searches and such discussion of deletion of data brings to mind censorship of data and creation of alternative truths as in big brother.
This was a great book to prompt book club discussion. Someone at book club, liked it less and less as discussed it as had not spotted some of layers and more talked felt it was more and more pretentious. Some of these Japanese type books can seem pretentious, so can see that view point.
However, think this book can be read on different levels. I admire book and enjoyed reading to some degree and loved discussing it!
Anyone have anything to add to the discussion?
The app was free to download. I’m reading the one free story in the app which is called Stiff Drink. There are other stories in the app, costing 99p each.
There are 3 characters who’s story you can follow. I have started with Annie. Which was top of list of characters.
Every so often get to choose to respond. Sometimes just have one response to click on and untill click on can not see more of the story.
Texts are broken up at start of chapters.
Anyone fancy reading as well to see what happens, if choose different responses?
Anyone previous experience of digital fiction?
The first shock in this book, is that to live in the house at the centre of this story you have to keep possessions to a minimum, including no bookcases. Straight away that puts me off living there. Then you find that, the house is rented out by the architect who designed it and there is a questionare to complete to be eligible, 200 rules as part of application have to send photos and then the architect decides whether you can live there; he has a habit of choosing women, who look like his dead wife.
Other things that may be disturbing to some are it deals with sensitive subjects of rape, still birth and Down’s syndrome.
The architect is a Christian Grey type character; controlling and sinister. Like Christian’s Grey apartment the apartment is very modern with latest technology. The book mostly alternates between two narrations, one of Emma is past and other of Jane in the ‘now’. As the story goes on, the characters develop and you are taken round many twists. Like many reviews I have read, I found it to be a page turner.
It is one day to become a film.
A review that was very different to most others is the below. Also interesting mention of comparison of listening compared to reading the book; after listening to Cousin Rachal then I’m interested how different formats influence perceptions.
Source: The Girl Before – JP Delaney
Let me tell you about this book.
No. It is too much. Let me sum up.
Ruth, an author living on a remote island off the coast of Washington*, finds an odd piece of jetsam: a Hello Kitty lunchbox that contains a Japanese teenage girl’s diary, disguised as Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Much of the novel is in the bright, self-aware, vivid voice of Nao, who begins her diary like this:
My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.
A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be. As for me, right now I am sitting in a French maid cafe in Akiba Electricity Town…
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So it seems I could say, at first it seemed annoying that the blue character Dr Mahatten, kept changing size; he was a giant first time seen, I thought he was like a large statue. I know realise that changing size was one of his superpowers. The superpowers that also make him blue.
If you had a choice of super-powers, which one would you pick? Personally I’d go for Dr Manhattan’s, off Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore’s Watchmen. OK, it makes him look like a radioactive Smurf. But that super-power also makes him indestructible, immortal, and gives him total control over determinist (space-time) and quantum worlds, which means […]