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vicki (bibliolathas/skiourophile)

I found Heat of the Day really hard work; no room for mentally drifting off there. But I did think it repaid the effort, even if it was slightly too surreal for my tastes. I *enjoyed* The House in Paris more, though thought Heat of the Day the better book (if that makes sense!).


That's a funny coincidence, my copy of Bowen's Collected Stories is also falling apart! And I'm only just at her early years. So far, every review I've read of her 'To The North', has been rather glowing. Somehow, among all her novels, The Heat of the Day is the one I find least appealing even though it's said to be one of her best. I have not read it, though, so I could be very wrong.


Well, I absolutely love Bowen and loved this novel. I was quite surprised to see how many negative comments there are on the Readalong, which I didn't know about. I haven't read all her novels, but so far To the North has been my favorite. I suppose she is an acquired taste and not for everyone, but I'd say to anyone who hasn't yet tried her, do at least give her a go. I haven't read her short stories but you have made me want to. So thanks for this -- all very interesting. And a happy Easter to you.


I've only read A Day in the Dark. It's such a complex story, I even searched for academic interpretations and found a great one, read it and didn't bookmark it. A second reading would have revealed much more but I felt like cheating and reading what someone else thought.
The other sounds like one of her typical wartime stories.


You are right about needing to stay really focused. I think that is why it has taken me so long to read the book, as I started it earlier in March. If I am in the least stressed about something and find my mind wanders I just set it aside, knowing I will have to just go back and reread. I think you are right, though, that she really is worth the effort and I do sort of really like the challenge of reading her and trying to work out just what she is trying to do. I will have to try The House in Paris--I have a number of her books--many found at library sales.


Maybe it's just too big and the glue is getting old and no longer adhering? Anyway, pages are starting to come loose from it! I have heard many good things about To the North and will definitely try that one as well. I think it was last year that a number of bloggers were reading and talking about it.I actually find The Heat of the Day appealing, but it is taking me a while to orient myself and figure out just what is going on in the story.


I was hoping to hear some alternative opinions. I think with Bowen, readers either get on really well with her or not at all. It's been a while since I read any of her books, but I recall liking The Last September and Death of the Heart very much. It sounds like some of her books are much more accessible than others, so maybe it's a matter of which books a reader tries first, too. In any case I'm looking forward to finishing this and reading more of her work. I think she is a very good short story writer--definitely up there with Alice Munro and Katherine Mansfield in terms of weightiness. Hope you had a lovely Easter, too!


It really was a complex story and I, too, was looking for some criticism about it as I wasn't sure I was on the right track. I didn't find any online, but I'll see if my library has any books about her work. She is a very good short story writer and I want to read more of her stories, but I think maybe she is a writer to take in smaller doses since they are so thoughtful. I was thinking when I was writing this how I could really spend much more time on just one story, so I really was pretty lazy about it all, too!


What's her prose like in the short stories, Danielle? Only I feel sure that she doesn't always write in such a complicated manner. I thought I recalled reading books by her that were written quite naturally, without the torturous comma thing going on, and others where you did have to take a fair bit of time and trouble over her writing. I also began Heat of the Day too late to make the readalong and am not very far into it, but I do hope to finish it in the end!


I want/hope to finish The Heat of the Day, too. I can't seem to concentrate very well lately on books that are in any way challenging, so I haven't picked it up in a few days, but I hope to get back to it soon. Her short stories definitely do read much easier--it's more challenging in terms of just what she means by the things that happen. I feel like there is meaning hidden between the lines that if I find myself drifting I am going to miss the point. To be honest I don't always pay very close attention to actual writing style (or why something is complicated and something else not), but when I do get back to The Heat of the Day I am going to make a point of noting the way in which she writes and not just content. I sort of like the challenge she presents, though I have to approach her at the right time.


Oh I am so intrigued by what you say about Bowen. I have never read anything by her before. She's been on my radar but you know how that goes. Perhaps I shall move her up the list.


She is very good--but it sounds like her writing style does vary. I think if you don't mind a little challenge, you would like her very much. I need to get back to The Heat of the Day now that I've got a few stories under my belt. She has written quite a bit and I think her short stories are very good--maybe a good place to start with her work.

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