Monday, 27 February 2012
February Book Club - Jamrach's Menagerie
We agreed the book was split into three parts of Jaffy's adventure: 1) what did we lean about Victorian London, 2) Which sea-faring stories did the ocean adventure remind us of and 3) How would you cope with being stranded for so long?
1) We all liked the descriptions of Victorian London and it reinforced our image of a dark, gloomy and grim time to be living in. This part reminded us of a Charles Dicken's novel, in particular Great Expectations, as young Jaffy is involved in an incident and is given the opportunity which changes his life forever. We found attitudes towards women and animals very interesting.
2) The time on The Lysander felt very familiar to us with hints of Moby Dick, Treasure Island, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Life of Pi to name a few. The whaling scene was hard to stomach for all of us.
3) We agreed that we could never be sure how we would react in a situation like being stranded for so long, but could understand why the characters turned to such extreme measures to survive.
How did the author use the senses to convey imagery? Which was the strongest for you?
I found the sense of smell the recurring theme in this novel, from Jaffy's early days in Ratcliffe Highway to the smell of burning flesh. These were so strong to me, I could really get a sense of the surroundings. Others in the group felt sight, touch, taste and hearing just as strong. We could all see clearly what Jaffy was describing, could feel the salt clinging to them on the sea and could imagine the taste of the cups of blood. We also found the rhythm of the prose interesting, in particular one scene when something gruesome is happening to a crew member and Dan is making Jaffy and Tim sing a song, which is really effective in making you read the passage at a faster pace.
How does the author use foreshadowing?
What did you think of the title?