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#Toronto
review
batsy
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Pickpick

This book, published in 1980 when the author was 65, astonished me. It won the Toronto Book Award in 1981, but the book or the author are not well-known. Weinman in her afterword calls it an "interior feminist espionage novel", & because the protagonist Shirley, alias Lola, travels from city to city to meet her mysterious lover who works for an international organisation called The Agency, I thought this would be Graham Greene-esque territory.

batsy It was not. Instead, it was reminiscent of domestic gothic, & it was existentialist & absurdist. A kind of feminine Waiting for Godot, but with the conversation largely being between a woman & herself; the plot a sequence of events that is a fever dream of memory & imagination. Perhaps reality is always just that. It's a slim book at 146 pages but its scope feels large. I admire how Weinzweig played with the form of the novel to produce this work. 4mo
batsy There is also a deliciously discreet but ironic sense of subversive humour running through it all, best summed up for me in this line: "I was about to expatiate on the phenomenon of paradox, when I remembered that my philosophizing causes Coenraad to lose his erection." Truly a gem that I'm glad I read with the #NYRBBookClub @vivastory 4mo
TrishB Wow 😯 what a review! Brilliant as always. 4mo
See All 23 Comments
batsy @TrishB Thank you! ❤️ 4mo
Graywacke Terrific review! 4mo
Cathythoughts Great review 💫 4mo
The_Penniless_Author This book sounds like something I would love. Stacking immediately 😀 4mo
batsy @Graywacke @Cathythoughts Thank you! 💜💜 4mo
batsy @The_Penniless_Author If you give it a try, I hope you like it! It's definitely a unique read 🙂 4mo
MicheleinPhilly That is a line indeed! 😂 4mo
LeahBergen Fantastic review … but I still didn‘t like the book at all. 😆😆 I think I was in a cranky headspace when I was reading it and the absurdist element got on my nerves. 😆😆 4mo
charl08 Intriguing! 4mo
Billypar I really like the description "fever dream of memory and imagination" - that sums it up so nicely. Great review! 4mo
CarolynM Your quote made me laugh out loud🤣 Not sure if I could stomach a whole book of it, though🤔😆 4mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! 💜 I understand completely! I do wonder if I wasn't in the right mood if I would have struggled with it, too. 4mo
batsy @charl08 Yes! 4mo
batsy @Billypar Thank you! I love that it was such an interior novel played out entirely on the "outside" spaces, the streets, cafés, galleries. 4mo
batsy @CarolynM It's a good one, I couldn't resist 😆 But no, it's not a novel full of lines and quips like that. The humour is a lot more subtle 🙂 4mo
Hamlet Fantastic, nuanced review! This looks like quite a break from your Greek tragedy line up. You grabbed my interest; thanks for all you do here on Litsy! 4mo
batsy @Hamlet Thank you so much for your kind words 💜 I'm so glad to have read this with the #NYRBBookClub, I've discovered a lot of great titles that way. And yes, I'm doing all of the Greek plays this year based on an idea I saw on a blog I frequent, so it's one play a week 😅 I'm enjoying it! 4mo
Suet624 I‘m with @hamlet. Thank you. 💕 3mo
batsy @Suet624 And thanks to you, as well; I derive great pleasure from your posts 💕 3mo
86 likes6 stack adds23 comments
review
DrexEdit
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Pickpick

Thanks #NYRBBookClub for another really good read! This is definitely not a book I would have picked up on my own. While it's hard to say that this story is “enjoyable“ I did enjoy the feverish paranoid quality of the characters stories and imaginings. I started out trying to sort out what was true and what wasn't and then realized it would be better just to go with the flow. A truly unique and mesmerizing read.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

45 likes1 stack add
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#NYRBBookClub
And the final question:
According to Weinman's afterword, Weinzweig struggled with the ending of her novel for over a year. Did you find the ending satisfactory?

GatheringBooks The open-ended nature of the ending, the many questions it engenders, and the bated breath that seemed to follow it is fitting I thought for such a surreal narrative. 4mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I completely agree. I found the ending appropriate & immensely satisfying, despite the “closure“ 4mo
sarahbarnes I did like the ending as well. To me it seemed to signify that she had found a relationship in which she could be her authentic self rather than meet societal expectations. 4mo
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DrexEdit I did like the ending. The choice of a new dress with color and her choosing a new relationship (probably) where she wanted to be seemed satisfactory to me. Like things were going to get better. 4mo
Sapphire I thought the color of dress was interesting as well. But for me it seemed like another “put on personality “. Maybe a more sustainable one. It does hint at the schizophrenia potential. But also a more feminist comment on the roles women are forced to take on for survival or belonging. 4mo
quietjenn It did feel fitting to me. And, even the change of dress does mean that she'll be embracing some other alternate identity, it was enough to make me hopeful that this one may be more satisfying and “true.“ 4mo
batsy @GatheringBooks @vivastory Yes, I agree! The ending was fitting & it held both hope & possibility, but a sense of potential unease, as well. Is Shirley able to incorporate her various fragmented selves or will it fracture into another identity? I was really taken by how Weinzweig maintained the sense of mystery till the end without having to resort to trite resolutions. 4mo
41 likes7 comments
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#NYRBBookClub
It has been posited that Shirley is suffering from schizophrenia, but as was the case in the April NYRB selection, it is evident throughout the book she has a curiosity in & appreciation for art. Do you think this was autobiographical? Or do you think there was something else at work?

GatheringBooks If it was autobiographical, then Weinzweig managed to create a feminist metafiction filled with allusions, lyricism, and sufficient obscurity to enable her to disclose her heart without revealing specifics or identities, elevating her experience to one of poetic form. 4mo
sarahbarnes I think art is one way to transport yourself to a different reality, away from the one you are faced with. Maybe she appreciates art for the same reasons she is wandering around the world - seeking a different reality. 4mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes Well said 👏 👏 It definitely offered a freedom for her. I *almost* watched Children of Paradise yesterday. I watched a different movie. I now wish I had watched Children of Paradise. (edited) 4mo
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sarahbarnes @vivastory yes! And I haven‘t seen the film but am definitely intrigued now having read this book. You can still watch it! 😃 4mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes I plan on it this week. Looking forward to it! 4mo
Sapphire @GatheringBooks wow. What a fascinating and intriguing comment. Just wow. Stopped me. 4mo
quietjenn I definitely think that she incorporates a lot of what is familiar to her. Is that enough to make it autobiographical? 🤷🏽‍♀️ 4mo
merelybookish Wow I like what @GatheringBooks posits! 🤔 Raises this book to a whole new level. I think she drew on aspects of her life. She was married to a renowned musician in Canada 4mo
merelybookish Sent send too soon. 🙄 They stayed married but who knows if she was happy with him tho? She definitely wrote a real Toronto! I have only been a few times but I can recognize it. I wonder who all the gentrification plays into her own sense of shifting identity. 4mo
vivastory @merelybookish I agree. I also really like @gatheringbooks comment & I read a similar statement in a review (I forget which one now) From the little that I read, it seems like she had some dissatisfactions with her marriage but nothing terribly dramatic. It seems like there were autobiographical elements incorporated into her fiction, but I wouldn't call them autofiction. 4mo
batsy Well put @GatheringBooks ! There seem to be some definite autobiographical elements, like the bit about growing up in poverty & Shirley's projection onto the girl in the painting. I also shared this tweet with @Billypar earlier when he was musing over the painting scene https://twitter.com/AEAkinwumi/status/1363917510626709506?t (I'm really taken with the fact that she produced this at a late age—the "late bloomer" aspect of it is v uplifting!) 4mo
39 likes11 comments
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#NYRBBookClub
Shirley has several unusual encounters in a series of vignettes throughout the book. What did you make of these encounters? Are there any that struck you as particularly memorable or unusual & how did they change your expectations of the novel?

GatheringBooks Perhaps the most poignant for me was her memory of her childhood - the sense of isolation, misery, despair and abject indifference from people who are supposed to nurture her and care for her. 4mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I read a few reviews & it seemed to me that there was war trauma underlying the book, but it didn't really show up in hardly any reviews I read. I found that really surprising...the lack of discussion about her experiences as a child 4mo
sarahbarnes I think for me the most memorable was the scene in the bakery. When she throws the coins onto the floor and then helps the woman pick them back up. And then leaves the bread she bought there in the bag. It was poignant how they seemed to understand one another. 4mo
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vivastory @sarahbarnes That was a fascinating scene! It made me uncomfortable at first, when Shirley was throwing the money on the ground but by the end of the scene it was for sure one of my favorite moments in the book. As you say, an understanding. 4mo
DrexEdit The encounter with the painting was the first turning point for me in suspecting not all that was happening was actually happening. The scene at the costume shop with the opera singers was a deja vu moment for me because when the singers started I recognized it as an opera I had seen. She doesn't identify it as a Bartok opera (Bluebeard's Castle) until the end of that scene. So then I decided she was communicating with me in code. 4mo
DrexEdit It was hard not to get paranoid in that way while reading this book. Every art or book reference she made seemed to mean something. If I had had more time while reading I would have been done a serious rabbit hole! 4mo
Sapphire @DrexEdit that is an interesting comment. If the author could make you feel that, then there was an effectiveness of mood! I wish I had more cultural references points for those details to have been clearer to me. 4mo
Billypar @DrexEdit I agree about the experience of reading some of those passages dense with references. The more surreal scenes also had me in one of those reading states where I forget everything going on around me because I'm so wrapped up the book, so it didn't seem far removed from Shirley's experience. 4mo
Billypar The scene with the crying woman was a flashback but it still reminded me of some of those other scenes. It also seemed like a rare moment that she mentioned the war, and the interaction with Coenraad that follows makes me wonder how much the trauma of her history plays a role in her delusions or paranoia. 4mo
quietjenn Like @sarahbarnes, the encounter in the bakery was the one I found most impactful, and it's the one that I most remember weeks later. I did love the costume shop scene when I was reading it, but it hasn't stayed with me the way that one did. 4mo
merelybookish Yes to the bakery scene! @sarahbarnes @quietjenn I also found her daily interaction with the waitress at breakfast weird and striking. She just never seems to belong anywhere or with anyone. 4mo
sarahbarnes @merelybookish yes! I‘ve wondered what the deal is with her and the waitress. 4mo
sarahbarnes Also, your comment @merelybookish reminds me of her occasional encounters with waiter types who seem to have been expecting her. Is this also a figment of her creation, part of the story she is building? 4mo
merelybookish @sarahbarnes I don't know? There's also that scene where she's the only woman in the restaurant. 4mo
Megabooks @sarahbarnes @vivastory I think the interaction with the bakery worker will be what sticks with me from this. So much was communicated- from frustration to anger to compassion to companionship. A really great passage. 4mo
Megabooks The interaction with the actors made such vivid pictures in my mind. They seemed so much more real than her. 4mo
vivastory @Megabooks I agree. The passage in the bakery was one of my favorite scenes in the book, as was the scene with the actors rehearsing Bluebeard. 4mo
batsy I loved the painting scene. It felt a little bit Yellow Wallpaper to me, & it also seemed to speak back to a trauma. (& of course, it was interesting to learn the autobiographical connection to that period of being "almost kidnapped" by her father). I also liked her interactions with the waitress, & her statement elsewhere that she's always always drawn back to poverty. It does suggest that Shirley has been trying to escape her past. 4mo
39 likes18 comments
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#NYRBBookClub
In the Chicago Tribune, Kathleen Rooney writes, “Perhaps better than any spy thriller, it invites readers to contemplate the mystery of how, in a society where the pressures and expectations put on wives and mothers are great enough to drive anyone mad, maybe so-called sanity itself is the greatest deception and putative normalcy the flimsiest disguise.“ Do you agree with Rooney's statement?

GatheringBooks Wow with “putative normalcy” - I don‘t even know what that means! 🤷🏽‍♀️lols. But just to attempt my two cents‘ worth, perhaps normalcy is overrated. Maybe Shirley‘s audacious adventures with all the codes and face-reading and lover-hunting-down-Canada is the way to go to transcend life‘s moribund drudgery 🌸🌸🌸 4mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I agree. Normalcy IS overrated & I can't help but wonder how gendered ideas of normalcy it is too. I think that Shirley is not suffering from schizophrenia or any other mental illness, rather she is a sort of domestic Walter Mitty. 4mo
sarahbarnes Wow. 🤯 I think this is spot on and agree with you both - I don‘t think Shirley was any more “mad” than any other woman given that label then, when they reached a breaking point with the responsibilities and burdens laid upon them. 4mo
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vivastory @sarahbarnes One of my favorite aspects of the novel is how few pages are devoted to her home life. A lesser writer might have been tempted to have her return home sooner. 4mo
Billypar I think the idea of the insane being sane and normal life being insane is a little too neat for it to fit as a core theme. That may not be what Rooney meant, but I do think what @GatheringBooks said about normalcy being overrated is closer to what I was thinking. And towards the end, I think Shirley realizes that her new life isn't as different from her old one as she thought, since both require her to wait for her man to dictate her actions. 4mo
Billypar I'm watching the show Killing Eve now, and this quote from Villanelle seems relevant to Shirley's situation: "Most of the time, most days, I feel nothing. I don't feel anything. It is so boring. I wake up and I think, again, really? I have to do this again? And what I really don't understand is how come everyone else isn't screaming with, with boredom, too, and I try to find ways to make myself feel something." 4mo
vivastory @Billypar I agree with your point about at the end Shirley realizing that her new life isn't as different, since it is still dependent on a man. What intrigued me was the idea of a fantasy life vs conventional ideas of mental health. I think Shirley found freedom in the act of constructing her fantasy that was lacking in her domestic life, even if there were somewhat similar outcomes. 4mo
vivastory @Billypar Definitely a case where the adaptation is leaps & bounds better than the source material. 👏 4mo
vivastory @Billypar On the point of normalcy being overrated, in the afterword Weinman mentions that it has been pointed out that Weinzweig was influenced by Margaret Laurence. When I read that I was pretty sceptical bc I didn't see any influence, but that *is* one area they have in common for sure 4mo
DrexEdit @Billypar That's a good point about her new life not being as different as the one she left. I wonder why the author did that though? She called herself Lola Montez. She could have been anyone, and she reinvented herself as a woman who is still waiting on a man? So is this really a feminist novel? Because Shirley seems just as repressed looking back at her relationship with Coenraad as she is married to Zbigniew. 4mo
Sapphire I kept waiting for the fact she was in Toronto to have some revelation beyond she thinks Conraed brought her back home to say goodbye. But that is when I thought she really had gone all the places the postcards represent. But hometowns as characters can be significant commentary on what restricts and what frees us, individually and societally. 4mo
vivastory @DrexEdit Although she is waiting on Coenraad, it did seem to me that Lola enjoyed more freedoms (visiting bars, art galleries, the movies) than Shirley did in her domestic space. Both were certainly trapped by the expectations of the men in their life, but IMO she had more freedom in her fantasy world 4mo
vivastory @Sapphire That is a good point. There is that line in the novel about you can never go home again, which is actually revealing in hindsight 4mo
Billypar @vivastory I haven't read Laurence before but I did think that the comparison to Wittgenstein's Mistress was spot on. Not in the sense that Markson was borrowing from this novel, but just a slight overlap in themes and style. 4mo
Billypar @DrexEdit I did see it as a feminist novel but one that critiques a more simplistic version of feminism- like, women should just emulate men, so if men can have affairs, women should too. But if someone chooses a relationship at all (which is too often forgotten as a choice), it's the more subtle dynamics within a relationship that make more of the difference for feminism because they're more linked to individual freedom. 4mo
quietjenn While I do think that normalcy is overrated and that there is much to be had from a pretty rich interior (fantasy) life, I'm not convinced that that's all it was for her. As pointed out, we get so little view of her “real“ domestic life and I guess, for me, what we do see isn't repressive enough to create a fantasy this elaborate, without something else going on. 4mo
vivastory @quietjenn I think there might be some war trauma that also contributes. 4mo
quietjenn @vivastory I suspect you're right about that. 4mo
merelybookish That is interesting that she was inspired by Laurence! I think maybe because she's trying to write truthfully about women's lives? Even if the style is different. Although characters in Laurence also have rich fantasy lives, so maybe she just opted to stay in that realm. I think there were several suggestions that Shirley had experience abuse and/or trauma. She seemed so attune to it in others. 4mo
merelybookish Oops meant to tag you Scott 👆 @vivastory 4mo
Liz_M I absolutely agree that sanity is a construct, defined by society/culture - not only what we think of as insane, but also how the disease manifests. American schizophrenics hear voices that are threatening, but African and Indian schizophrenics typically hear voices that are playful. So, it doesn't surprise me that the fantasy world Lola creates has many of the same constraints and gender roles as the culture she comes from. (edited) 4mo
vivastory @Liz_M If I remember correctly Yaa Gyasi speaks about the cultural aspect of schizophrenia in Transcendent Kingdom. (I might be misremembering). 4mo
Megabooks @DrexEdit that is an excellent point that she chooses to reinvent herself as someone still waiting on a man. Although she did have more freedom with Coenraad @vivastory but I just still wonder how much of that life with C was 💯 imaginary. 4mo
batsy I like Rooney's statement and think there's a lot of truth to it, especially for women in that particular generation. Most were raised to fulfil certain gendered expectations of normalcy, but 2nd wave feminism was showing a different way of being. I'm wondering if Lola was a role she could slip into and thus enable a different side of herself to energe (perhaps a self that Shirley wasn't ready to quite accept?) 4mo
44 likes24 comments
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#NYRBBookClub
There are no scenes with Coenraad present in the novel except as flashbacks. Do you think he exists?

GatheringBooks I may have missed out on a blurb or a description to not have captured the possibility of Coenraad being a figment of Shirley‘s deluded mind. Now I am questioning everything I have read and what it all means if that were true. 🤯🤯🤯 4mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I don't think he was real. I found it suspicious that the name of the organization he worked for was called The Agency, which seems incredibly vague. Also, the codes themselves seem to be to be not actual codes but random passages that Shirley ascribed meaning to. 4mo
Billypar Yeah, I think there's plenty of evidence that he was imagined - e.g., mistaking strangers for him, the discovery of the Dutch Elm flyer, the general implausibilty of being with a mysterious spy. But I found myself wanting to believe he was real because of all the interesting details she describes about the relationship. 4mo
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vivastory @Billypar At one point I thought maybe his name was an anagram, especially after Andy was introduced into the book but I couldn't make it work. 4mo
sarahbarnes I also think he was imagined, but didn‘t come to that realization until late in the book. Then as I looked back on it, I realized how unlikely it was that the very opaque clues she was following to get to him could‘ve been anything other than a creation of her own mind. 4mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes I also didn't make up my mind until late in the book, which I think says a lot about Weinzweig's ability to construct a richly imagined inner world for Lola/Shirley 4mo
DrexEdit I'm on that making up my mind later in the book boat also. At first I took it at face value, then I wanted him to be real because that was interesting, and then I ended up on “she must be imagining him.“ 4mo
vivastory @DrexEdit I think that it helped that she set limits on what he could do & also with the (imagined) flashbacks... 4mo
DrexEdit I found it fascinating how the author took real things and incorporated them into the story, creating meanings around them. There really is an article about the common tern in volume 144, issue #2 of Natl Geo., the Bonnard painting, the Bartok opera the people at the costume company were rehearsing. 4mo
Sapphire That was the primary question in my mind. I changed my guess several times as the story progressed as to him being a complete figment or an enhancement of some brief encounter. The messages really I think were not real. But the second lover and the return to home with her husband and his new wife through me again as to the authors intent. If the husband just took the woman who showed up, is any of the rest not just required suspension of disbelief 4mo
Sapphire @DrexEdit those are rabbit holes it would be fun to pursue. 4mo
vivastory @DrexEdit That's a fun bit of info about Nat Geo! 4mo
quietjenn I think I was pretty skeptical of him from the get-go, as both the codes and the extent of his costuming abilities seemed really remarkable. But, I was willing to go with it for a good long while, because it made being in her mind interesting, even if I didn't really trust it. love the way @Sapphire phrases it - “enhancement of some brief encounter“ which seems entirely possible. And I love those bits of reality that @DrexEdit mentions! 4mo
emilyhaldi I started to doubt that he was real very early on… and also considered his name as an anagram!! With each additional encounter of Shirley‘s I wondered more if her entire story was a delusion and in fact she was dreaming it up from inside a mental hospital. 4mo
merelybookish I also decided he wasn't real, although I will admit to being disappointed. It was all so farfetched but who wouldnt want a spy & master of disguise as your lover? 😁 As outlandish as the locales and clues were the dynamics of the affair felt real. So perhaps she did have an affair at some point but even that proved boring in some way so she spiced it up. I liked the idea of his name being a clue @emilyhaldi 4mo
Liz_M I only considered the spy story as possibly real until I learned that Lola was just the lover of a spy, not a spy herself. And then I was stuck on, but wait, how/who is paying for all this international travel?!!? 4mo
Megabooks I was skeptical pretty early on as well, especially since her lover took different forms as far as eye color, hair, skin, etc. I began to think the whole thing was a flight of imagination because her existence as a housewife had driven her mad. 4mo
LeahBergen I thought that he was imaginary pretty early on and just a figment of her psychoses. And she DID seem to actually take home random strangers whom she had convinced herself were Coenraad, didn‘t she? For example, when the maid suddenly treated her better because there was evidence of a night of sex in her room. 😬 4mo
batsy I was also wondering about the existence of an actual lover when she had doubts about his physical traits which she tried to explain away as part of his disguises. Like @LeahBergen I was thinking that she might have multiple lovers, but that Coenraad is a figment of imagination in terms of trying to create a romantic, more respectable fiction she can live with, or the memory of one particular man/love affair that she still clings to. 4mo
38 likes19 comments
blurb
vivastory
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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The discussion will begin shortly. Discussion open to all who have read the book. Please comment when free today/tomorrow/following few days. I'm tagging below, but will not be tagging for separate discussion questions:
@BarbaraBB @catebutler @daena @arubabookwoman @emilyhaldi @quietjenn @sprainedbrain @mklong @youneverarrived @LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen @Liz_M @merelybookish @GatheringBooks @readordierachel @sarahbarnes @batsy @Billypar

46 likes2 comments
review
Billypar
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
There's a certain kind of novel about a female heroine with mental health issues who sees the world differently and at first BBwP fits nearly into that literary box. When the novel opens with Shirley decoding messages from her spy lover, it seemed like par for the course. Yet, as it went on I started to question that assumption, almost like the opposite of a novel where you find at the end that a character hallucinated everything 👇

Billypar Shirley has an active imagination that is at the heart of why she leaves her family life of unrelenting routine for her travels with Coenraad, whatever the truth of those adventures entails. She gradually realizes how being trapped in a marriage isn't so different from perpetually waiting for a lover on an adventure. And she glimpses her own struggle in gorgeous, disorienting passages where she imagines the inner lives of women in similar traps. 4mo
Billypar I'm very much looking forward to the discussion today @vivastory ! 4mo
vivastory Excellent review! I couldn't agree more! Yesterday I went back & reread the last half. When I first read it a couple of weeks ago I was a bit distracted by construction outside of my apartment building. I'm so glad that I did. I think there will be a lot to discuss & it seems to be a hidden gem from the NYRB catalog. 4mo
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batsy Nice review! I found this really surprising in how Weinzweig played with the form of the novel and did so much within so few pages. And as Weinman says in the afterword, "interior feminist espionage novel" really captures the mystery; it's the self that's the puzzle that needs unravelling. 4mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! I liked seeing everyone thoughts yesterday - I wish I had more time to chat since there is so much to talk about. And I do think distractions can be especially bad for a novel like this. I would have preferred fewer and longer reading sessions given how much concentration was needed, but I still enjoyed it a great deal. 4mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I don't always connect as well to novels that are so deep in the character's head, but Weinzweig's experiments with form were done with such precision that I could follow it mostly if I slowed down enough. And it still managed to keep a sense of humor and light touch - you had a good example of that in your review 😅 4mo
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review
Megabooks
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Pickpick

I‘m very interested to read the #NYRBBookClub discussion of this one because I have some different ideas about it than the author who wrote the afterword. A lot of my thoughts are spoilers, so I‘ll keep them to myself for now. Glad I read this one!

This is my #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks 👍🏻

This hydrangea is new to the yard, so I‘m pleasantly surprised it has some color this year!

IuliaC Your garden is truly fabulous 😍 4mo
Dragon Love hydrangeas 💚🐉 4mo
Cinfhen One of my favorite flowers 🧡🤩 4mo
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Soubhiville I love the mix of pink and white. Did you change the soil pH to get better color? 4mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 4mo
Megabooks @IuliaC thank you!! 😊😊 4mo
Megabooks @Dragon same! It‘s one of my favorite summer flowers. 4mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I think I have spied these in your vases before! 🧐💜 4mo
Megabooks @Soubhiville since these are new this year, we haven‘t done anything to the soil around them. Over the past few years, all our colored hydrangeas have come up pink (light to medium). I‘m kind of ready for blue at this point so idk what we‘ll decide to do next year. But very pleased with these for their first year in the garden!! 👍🏻👍🏻 4mo
Megabooks @TheAromaofBooks ready for June now!!! 4mo
BarbaraBB So happy to have you join the discussion 🤍 4mo
Cinfhen It‘s a very short season here for them, but I try to get them whenever they are available. We had the blues / purples in my Philly garden. They attracted SO MANY 🦋🐝🦋🐝🦋🐝 4mo
Dragon I like all the different colours of hydrangea - they don‘t flower here till later in the summer 💚🐉 4mo
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