The February meeting was hosted by Janet. We were a small group, Colette, Janet, Marg, Michèle and Shirley. Janet provided us with a good array of cheese, crackers and smoked salmon and individual pavlovas with whipped cream and beautiful red strawberries from Mexico.
This month's book presented by Janet was On the Up by Canadian author Shilo Jones. This is his first novel. Mr. Jones worked in several areas and along the way earned a B.F.A. from Simon Fraser University and an M.F.A. from the University of British Columbia. He lived many years in Vancouver and now lives with his family in Kelowna, B.C.
It is safe to say that this book presents a very different side of Vancouver than that promoted by the Vancouver Tourist Board. Through the three main characters, the brothers Mark and Carl and the young journalist Jasminder it provides a very violent, seedy and criminal picture of the real estate market, mainly condo, of Vancouver or VanCity as it is often referred to by the characters in the book. Several of the chapters begin with a stream of consciousness rant by one of the characters. The story is filled with scenes of racism, violence, misogyny that Shilo Jones admitted were hard to write but he felt necessary to the story line.
It made the book difficult and for some impossible to read. It is the first time in the 21 year history of the Muse & Views Bookclub that the majority of our members did not read the book to its conclusion. The book is well written and if you can get through the first two hundred pages, the latter half is easier to read and you become intrigued and those who finished it, say you want to find out what happens.
Janet was brave to assign us this book. I don't think we will be reading any future novels by Shilo Jones.
At our last meeting we chose, Shirley's book of 2018, A Gentleman in Moscow is the recipient for the first Jolene Bale Award. We were pleased to present Shirley with the certificate at this month's meeting.