Blog Image

L'après-midi des lecteurs

Lecteurs de livres bilingues

The love of literature, of language, of the mystery of the mind and heart showing themselves in the minute, strange, and unexpected combinations of letters and words, in the blackest and coldest print—the love which he had hidden as if it were illicit and dangerous, he began to display, tentatively at first, and then boldly, and then proudly.”
John Williams, Stoner

July’s meeting and details of August’s meeting

Novels Posted on Mon, July 22, 2019 14:18

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

We liked the novel, a page turner, and the discussion was interesting especially from the point of view of the final outcome. Was she a ‘poisoner’ or were the ‘men’ paranoid, one suffering a brain tumour and the other young, unsophisticated and naive. Phillip was shaped by Ambrose with no mother to guide or to influence him. Ambrose’s misanthropic lifestyle and Phillip’s very first memory of Tom Jackson the ‘murderer” hanging by the road, gave him the dark and gloomy side of his nature.

Well, you loved Daphne’s du Maurier’s descriptors of the Cornish countryside, the landscape, the sea, you could almost smell the scent of the flowers. You felt you were kept in suspense throughout the novel and it’s peculiar ‘Victorian’ ambience was enjoyed. The servants characters and relationships between master and servants was also liked.

What was Rachel playing at? Was she a mother, friend, lover or a fantastic actress? A book full of emotion, fear, obsession and jealously. Also avarice, greed and confusion. Did Phillip ignore the clues left by Ambrose? Did Rachel seduce him? There was no clue as to what Rachel thought, nothing was seen through her eyes.

You acknowledged that for a woman like Rachel who had had a difficult, had faced hardship in her younger life, using men to obtain money was her only option. Acquisitiveness was a means to bettering oneself there was no other way of making money.

Some of you felt the novel Rebecca had more suspense. The atmosphere of My Cousin Rachel was felt to be oppressive. Sometimes the story was dragged a little.

So the outcome: 5 of us found Rachel guilty of murdering Ambrose and trying to poison Phillip whilst three of us decided she was innocent. We decided that Phillip was definitely a ‘murderer’.

Meanwhile lots of other books to read by Daphne du Maurier and many written about her, biographies, etc. can be found written both in french and English.

August 14th is the date of our next meeting, and the book to read is:

Naufrages or Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura.

Janyvonne has kindly agreed to take the meeting which will probably be in Carine’s home as the Chateau may be closed in August. We will let you know.

list of books to December 2019

Novels Posted on Sat, April 06, 2019 18:15

May Collette le Chat/The Cat

June The Map the Territory/Le Carte et le Territoire Michael Houlebeque

July Daphne Du Maurier My Cousin Rachel/Ma cousine Rachel

August Akir Yoshimura Shipwrecks/


September Broken Glass/Vere Case

Alain Mabanckou

October Donal Ryan The Spinning Heart /Le Coeur qui tourne

November Celeste Ng Little fires Everywhere/Le Saison des Feux

December Alice Walker – The Colour Purple/La Couleur Pourpre

In a Nutshell

Novels Posted on Tue, January 22, 2019 08:40

Apres-midi des lectures – In A Nutshell by Ian McEwan

The dislikes were that it was repetitious and too long. Missed the some of the Shakespearian lines and alignments, ie to Hamlet, There were some very boring pages and it would have made a good short story. You had mixed feelings and were not sure if you liked it. It was verbose, and the author was listening to himself. A lot of ‘lyrical nonsense.’ The passage about the sea food was not liked, and totally ridiculous. The story a highly illogical concept! Not enjoyed because it was too sophisticated, snobbish, wine and food references ridiculous, ranting about the state of the world and listening to podcasts thought too absurd . You missed the Hamlet references. Elaborate and artificial with too much poetry.

On the whole it was enjoyed by over half the group. You said that there was suspense, it was a thriller, you needed to read to the end to find the outcome and most of you said that McEwan’s writing was brilliant. It was clever and funny, and a ‘page turner’. The concept , original, thought provoking and brilliant. It was based on the theme of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but that was missed by most of us until we had read the reviews! The character of the brother in law or Beouf, and of course, lover, was thought to be delightfully obnoxious and villainous. with John the foetus’s father more complex and interesting. You were amused that the foetus already understands everything and speaks like a middle aged man who also tries to commit suicide as did Hamlet. The foetus loves his mother and obviously needs and relies on her. You liked the first and the last sentences ‘Here I am” and the last Chaos!!! The foetus discusses and rants about the state of the world, loves very, very good wine and food. You suggested that it was a viciously cruel novel. Some of you felt that it was the just the right length, the dialogues rich, and that McEwan was making fun of the satire of his own culture. Wine descriptions interesting. A story which makes you think and read twice by some of you. Ian McEwan at the ‘top of his game’ .and can do anything with language! We wondered how much we knew before our birth but this was not discussed in great length. The foetus’s listening and learning from ‘podcasts’ extraordinary, contrived but fun! You loved loved the description of the ‘awful house’. How could such a perfect person (Trudy) live in such a hovel? Most of you enjoyed the novel from beginning to end. You thought he was a learned foetus, and very sophisticated. You mentioned that you liked it when he said ‘Dear Father before you die’, and that in-spite of what he knew he still wanted to be part of ‘it’, his life to be. You thought his mother, Trudy, was unfeeling and with no love for him, but that she was the victim of the selfish Claude because of her sexual needs. Prey to Claude who only loves money, sex and wine. Of course Trudy and Claude cannot escape the baby is almost ready to be delivered! A clever and pessimistic story, but sad at the same time. Perhaps Trudy doesn’t really like Claude. Was her behaviour the effects of her hormones in pregnancy. John had really loved Trudy and his letter about his love for her was touching. You noticed that McEwan seems only to write about privileged, rich and successful people who live in central London!!!!

Hamlet dies, you hoped they lived.

There is a book by Carlos Fuentes’s, Christopher Unborn, book written similar concept, foetus speaking.

“Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space–were it not that I have bad dreams.”

February’s book is The Plot Against America by Philip Roth and will meet on February 13th, The Chateau in Saujon, Salle Aramis.

2019 reading list to March

Novels Posted on Mon, November 26, 2018 08:06

Wednesday January 9th 2019: In a Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Wednesday February 13th 2019: The plot Against America….Le complot contre l’Amerique

Wednesday March 13th: Imperium by Christian Kracht

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Novels Posted on Wed, October 03, 2018 15:16

On the whole the book was not really liked by everyone. Nearly everyone thought it was not as good as some of Rose Tremain’s other novels, i.e. Music and Silence.

You said: A Good story…too good to be true…good looking hero, hardworking, comes to London, makes good by hard work and enterprise. Learns by watching. Goes home to help his family and friends and then make good in home country (not actually given in the book, but could have been Poland, if you look at the acknowledgements). You felt that not many emigres have a path ‘strewn with roses’, with nothing too bad happening in between.

Story boring at first but becoming more interesting. All the characters were ‘positive’, lucky character, meeting positive people. Easy read. Situation of immigrants well described..

Not a book that will ‘remain’. Christie, a real Irishman, described well and liked. Hero not interested in anything but ‘work’. Not interested in ‘culture’….? You wondered where he would find the time, he was working extremely hard! Wondered what the people around him were thinking ….some of you liked the importance of food. You suggested that Lev was going through a mourning process.

Some of you said it was a ‘page turner’, raising ecological and political points. Hero, Lev, learned to survive without his family around. The point that he was a legal immigrant but perceived by the indigenes and by other immigrants as an illegal immigrant was interesting. You felt he was violent to Sophie but tried to control his feelings, ‘follow a good way’

Was communism still present in his country? Could it ever be eradicated. The village having to be submerged by the dam was mentioned, but this was also cited as having happened in capitalist countries too. An economic rather than communistic issue. Political! Raising issues on immigration, the hopes of immigrants and the feelings of the families left behind. A simple story, man making good with a happy ending. Life is never pure happiness. Hero was numerically adept…saving money. Interesting comments about immigrants from fellow immigrants. Vodka drinking surprised some.

Decently written, intriguing moments. Tchevi, boring and repetitive. Death of the old lady sad. Fabricated story in need of pruning, lacked subtlety. Sentimental. Ideal foreigner…, plodding story…not a page turner. Suggestion that Rose Remain was caught in trap of the Anglo Saxon writing workshops!

Suggested read Short History of Tractors-Ukrainian- Marina Lewycka


Hope this is an accurate summary of a book, which, as always, raised a lot of issues and gave us plenty to talk about.

Our next meeting is Wednesday 10th October, Salle Aramis, Le Chateau in Saujon at 2.30 and the book to have read (but do come along even if you haven’t read or finished the book) is The Lost City of Z by DavidGann, la Cite perdue de Z.

Reading to November

Novels Posted on Tue, May 22, 2018 18:06

July 11th
Not that Sort of Girl by Mary Wesley

Rose, holy-nitouche

8th August

Moon Palace by Paul Auster in French, translated by Christine le Boeuf
Moon Palace in English

September 12th
The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Retour au Pays

October 10th
The Lost City of Z by David Grann

November 14th
Vera by Carl Geary and Celine Leroy
Monpelier Parade

Apres-midi 2018

Novels Posted on Sun, January 28, 2018 13:46

I have made a list of the Apres-midi group’s proposed reading for each
month in 2018. Hope everyone can buy a copy of the book in either
French or English, your preferred language, and that we find lots of
discuss. We are always interested in your own recommended books and
of course, a poem or two if you wish to share them with us.
We are, of course, reading The Surgeon of Crowthorn, Le Fou et le
professeur by Simon Winchester, for February!!

Amities Diane

The Book for March

Margaret Forster – Boite aux souvenirs

The Memory Box

April’s Book

Hisham Matar – Au pays des hommes

In the Country of Men

May’s Book

Delphine de Vigan – Nothing Holds Back the Night

Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit

June’s book

Sebastian Barry – Days Without End

– Des jours sans fin

Summary of 2017

Novels Posted on Sun, January 07, 2018 11:53

Report on activities of the Apres-midi group for 2017.

We are a small group of book lovers and we meet on the second Wednesday of the month in the Salle Aramis at the Chateau in Saujon at 2.30… The books we choose are always written in the two languages, French and English and are frequently translated into other languages enabling any member to read in their language of choice. Discussions on the books are often in English, but in French if you prefer. We also enjoy hearing of books read and enjoyed by members of the group. The list of books we read and discussed in 2017 is given below. New members will always be welcomed and also any suggestions happily received.Diane Collins 0546065982

Nous sommes un petit groupe d’amateurs de livres et nous nous retrouvons chaque deuxième mercredi du mois au Château de Saujon dans la salle Aramis…Les livres que nous choisissons sont toujours écrits dans les deux langues, français et anglais, et sont souvent traduits dans d’autres langues ce qui permet à chacun de lire dans la langue de son choix. Les discussions sur les livres sont souvent en anglais ou en français pour ceux qui préfèrent. Nous sommes toujours contents de savoir quels livres ont été lus et appréciés par les autres et la liste des livres discutés cette année est donnée ci-dessus. Nous seront toujours ravis d’accueillir de nouveaux membres et toute nouvelle idée.

Diane Collins 0546065982

We started the year by reading….Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov, proceeded by Readng Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi “Lire Lolita a Teheran”

“My Brilliant Friend, L’amie prodigieuse, Eleanor Ferante,

The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler “Le Tabac Tresneik”

The Narrow Road to the Deep South” by Richard Flanagan
La route étroite vers le nord lointain

A Street Cat Named Bob James Bowen

Mothering Sunday, Le dimanche des meres by Grahame Swift

Plague & Cholera, Pest & Cholera by Patrick Deville

Travels with Charley in Search of America, Voyage Avec Charley, John Steinbeck

All the Light we Cannot See, Toute-lumiere-nous-pouvons-voir, Anthony Doer

Things Fall Apart, Tout s’effondre by Chinua Achebe

For next years reading please follow the Apres-midi blog, which, hopefully, will be kept up to date.

Next »