Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why did the Anarchists drink herbal tea?

Because all proper tea is theft!? BOOM! BOOM!

From which you may gather that I have finished reading "Winter in Madrid". MacGuffin: a passionate Communist in the International Brigades who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

Briefly, I thought that the covers of this book were too far apart and the plot was strangely dependent on characters coincidentally bumping into each other , but that the denouement and epilogue were neatly done. Beyond that El Grupo omerta applies until July 13, but the publishers do helpfully provide their own reading group questions:
1) Does C.J. Sansom lean more towards the historical side of the novel, the fiction or create a delicate balance between the two?
2) Have you read any Spanish civil war literature before (Orwell, Auden, Spencer, Day Lewis)? If so, how does Winter in Madrid compare?
3) Sandy and Bernie are strikingly different characters. Why does Barbara end up in a relationship with Sandy? Can you sympathise with the reasoning behind her actions in the novel?
4) What did you think about the conclusion of the novel? Did you think it was fitting?

I am off to Birmingham in a minibus later today so I will slip a copy of "Slaughterhouse 5" into my pocket. Once I've read that again, I'll have finished the syllabus for the next meeting

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