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Book Club Reviews

Arnolfini Book Club and Becky Lees, Arnolfini Bookshop Assistant, review their April read - 'The Pier Falls' by Mark Haddon…

“Sometimes the joy of reading is your own personal experience of a story – how it moves you, how it makes you feel and this is an exclusive, unique memory for yourself. You can recommend the book to friends, but you don’t need or want to share everything. It is something you can keep for yourself.

The Pier Falls is a great book. Haddon definitely takes you on a journey – the darkness within his tales moves you, he has, perhaps unintentionally, full control over your sense of hope and despair and it will be an exclusive, unique memory… but you have to share it!

This book was unlike any the Arnolfini Book Club have shared before and personally, not something I would have chosen for myself – making April’s Book Club meeting my favourite so far! This is a book that only gets better upon being talked about. We cringed over the horrors included in this short story collection and marvelled over Haddon’s ability to write about perhaps every bad thing that can happen and yet create a book we could not put down!

The title of the collection (also the title of the first story) is typical of the book in that it pre-empts impending doom. Haddon frequently foreshadows tragedies to come and very cleverly influences emotions. Towards the middle of the collection is a story titled The Woodpecker and the Wolf and it has the potential to have a happy ending. But by this point, you have come to learn that this is unlikely. Haddon has not given you any reason to believe that good will happen in this book and once you come to accept this, you enjoy the dark, unexpected twists he takes you on in each story.

However, there is a glimpse of light saved for the final story, The Weir. The story follows a pair of characters who are thrown together in tragic circumstances but an unlikely and unconventional friendship forms. As a book club, we don’t know if Haddon wanted to impart a message to the reader from these stories, but this final tale may hold the key – that even in the darkest, hardest parts of life, something good can be found.”

- Becky Lees.

Join us on the 25th of May to discuss The Power, by Naomi Alderman - find out more by joining the Arnolfini Bookclub Facebook group.

Saturday 23 March 2019, 12:00 to 13:00


LYRA - BRISTOL POETRY FESTIVAL 2019 // Uprooted is a curated poetry film screening by Liberated Words ...
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