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Vet's Daughter
Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
29 posts | 15 read | 25 to read
The daughter of a bullying veterinary surgeon, Alice Rowlands lives in the oppressive world of Edwardian south London. In her own vivid uneducated words, she here relates the story of her girlhood and the growth of her fatal occult powers.
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review
Cathythoughts
Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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Pickpick

Brilliant images and a dreamlike quality to all of this story , I felt I was floating myself , surreal , strange. I loved the image just before the very end .
She felt a ‘ strange homesickness for no home I‘d known‘

I‘m so glad she got to feel rapture :

“ He put his arms round me , and once he pressed his face against mine so that the sides of our faces touched. It was only for a moment, but then I knew what the word rapture meant “

TrishB Lovely review Cathy ♥️ 4w
LeahBergen What a great review! Now that you‘re finished you can check out the #NYRBBookClub chat about it. 😊 (edited) 4w
erzascarletbookgasm Sounds lovely! Will put this further up my tbr. 4w
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Cathythoughts @erzascarletbookgasm it‘s actually quite a terrible tale … but I found it powerful 4w
Cathythoughts @TrishB Thanks Trish 😘 4w
Cathythoughts @LeahBergen Thanks Leah , I‘d love to have a look at that chat. It was a strong story, upsetting… and with ancient depth 4w
batsy Love your review, Cathy! There *is* something ancient and timeless about it. 4w
Cathythoughts @batsy Thanks Suba , it‘s still going around in my mind .. a sign of a good book 4w
Centique Congrats on the rugby Cathy! Did you watch? It was too early for me - 4am. But I‘ll go watch the highlights. 4w
Cathythoughts @Centique Thanks! I only caught the end of it as we were out for afternoon tea… I heard the commentator saying we will be going to you guys next & that Ireland will receive a warm welcome in New Zealand ❤️ 3w
58 likes10 comments
review
batsy
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Pickpick

This is like a dark fable, a self-contained nightmare of decay, disease, doom, & death. There's an undercurrent of witchy energy & a sly, winking humour that makes it worthwhile, despite it being a tough read because it's very grim. This is my first book by Comyns, & it's like if Flannery O'Connor & Angela Carter had a baby. The Virago edition has an intro by the author that made me love her instantly; the same energy infuses the narrative voice.

batsy Thanks for hosting a fantastic discussion @LeahBergen @vivastory I could only catch up this morning but enjoyed seeing all of the comments! #nyrbbookclub 1mo
merelybookish Wonderful review! The FO + AC= BC is so smart! 1mo
batsy @merelybookish Thank you! I owe it to Lucy Scholes for comparing her to Carter and it's spot on; a minimalist Carter, in a way. And the domestic Gothic tone of O'Connor kinda present... Just from a writing POV I admire how Comyns crafted the narrative voice. 1mo
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merelybookish @batsy I love Lucy Scholes. I am going to listen to Backlisted today where she's the guest talking about this book. 1mo
batsy @merelybookish Yes! She's great. I love her Re-Covered pieces for the Paris Review. 1mo
GatheringBooks This is the edition that I also have! 💕 1mo
batsy @GatheringBooks I love NYRBs and Viragos 💚 1mo
Reggie You had me at undercurrent of witchy energy. Lol great review. 1mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I‘ve started this one .. and I‘m interested to see what happens next … I‘m reading on 1mo
LeahBergen Wonderfully reviewed! 😍 And “witchy energy” … yes! There‘s was something in the feel of it that gave me slight Lolly Willowes vibes. 1mo
batsy @Reggie Thank you! It's pretty bleak but I think you'll like it :) 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks Cathy, I hope you find it a worthwhile read! 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! Yes, there's a little bit of Lolly in there 🖤 1mo
vivastory A stellar review. Thanks so much for your contributions to the discussion. Great insights as always & the O'Connor + Carter comparison is spot on. I can't wait to read more Comyns. 1mo
vivastory @LeahBergen Agreed! Both writers were fascinating individuals 1mo
batsy @vivastory Thank you! And yes to more Comyns 💜 1mo
kspenmoll Love your review! 1mo
Reviewsbylola That is such a lovely cover!! 4w
BiblioLitten I love everything about this… your review, the cover! 4w
batsy @kspenmoll @BiblioLitten Thank you! 🙂 4w
batsy @Reviewsbylola I love it, too 💚 4w
DivineDiana Agree with @BiblioLitten 🙂 4w
Nute I hate when I miss your reviews. There is something so exquisite about them! 4w
Centique A baby of O‘Connor and Carter? That is the most enticing comment ever! Also I‘m a bit scared😳😳 Definitely stacking 💕 4w
batsy @Nute Oh, thank you! That's lovely of you to say ❤️ 3w
batsy @Centique Haha, yes! It is grim! But also kind of great! My exclamation marks maybe indicate that Comyns is a super interesting writer 😁 3w
102 likes1 stack add27 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Liz_M I was definitely surprised by the introduction of Alice's levitation in what I was reading as a realistic novel up to that point. I am not sure what “certain elements“ are made clear in the final section, though....? 1mo
vivastory I have to admit that I was. I was unsure if this was a case where the levitation would be left as ambiguous or not. The sense I had when I first started reading it was someone who was escaping into an imaginary world due to trauma & I thought that the levitation might be a manifestation of it 1mo
vivastory I love the graphics you used BTW 1mo
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LeahBergen @vivastory Thanks! I had fun hunting them down. 😆 1mo
LeahBergen @Liz_M @vivastory I initially thought the she might have been suffering from some sort of epilepsy; remember the first time she falls down/faints in the kitchen and hits her head? And then I thought it might be some sort of psychological dissociation from trauma that was making her feel as if she was floating. 1mo
vivastory @LeahBergen @liz_m I was wondering if she had epilepsy too. I listened to The Backlsited episode about this months ago & immediately ordered it afterwards. I don't recall if they avoided saying if she literally levitated or not 1mo
quietjenn @vivastory Yes - I knew from the back copy that something was afoot, but I suspected that the entire story from the time she leaves to stay with Mrs. Peebles would end up being a hallucination, and the levitation just an element of that fantasy. 1mo
vivastory @quietjenn In one of the articles that I read after finishing when the BBC adapted it they tried to make the levitation as dream scenes & Comyns explicitly told them no. That they really happened & their adaptation needs to treat them as reality. I do think it puts the book in a different perspective knowing that it really happened. 1mo
Liz_M @vivastory Ooooh, interesting tidbit. 1mo
DrexEdit It took me by surprise too. I also thought it was an hallucination or fantasy of escapism until it wasn't. I wasn't even sure right up until the end if she would be able to levitate on command. @LeahBergen I also like your images. So many women levitating! 😀 1mo
Leftcoastzen I was on that same page , that maybe hitting her head or Psychological detachment from trauma caused her to imagine she was floating, then the ending!😳 1mo
merelybookish By the end, I also assumed it was really happening but I didn't understand why, or what Comyns was doing with it. Maybe her spirit was trying to fight against her downtrodden life? Like even though she is powerless, she has this weird power. But even that is eventually used against her. 1mo
Leftcoastzen Yes ! What @merelybookish said . There was a part of me that was thinking her special power would end up being more positive for her,revenge on those people, but it was not to be. 1mo
quietjenn @Leftcoastzen @merelybookish yes! I kept hoping that maybe she would just float away from them all. @vivastory thanks for sharing that! I wouldn't mind hunting down an adaptation. Kudos for the images, @LeahBergen and thanks to you both for the discussion! 1mo
batsy It took me by surprise but I also appreciated how skillfully it was woven in; by the time it happened it didn't seem as out of place as all of ways in which life is grotesque, absurd & plain incomprehensible 🙃 I admire Comyns for how she balanced the elements of realism and magic/enchantment. I recently finished Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger which had a lot to say about the restless energy within people that escape physical boundaries & 1mo
batsy that made me think of Alice & her special ability. 1mo
merelybookish @batsy Gosh, you're on 🔥 with your comments! Given me more to think about and appreciate about this book! 1mo
merelybookish @vivastory Thanks for mentioned the Backlisted episode. I am excited to listen and it's with Lucy Scholes whose criticism I really enjoy! 1mo
GatheringBooks I loved the introduction of the levitation as a surreal, otherworldly, gothic component that rendered some “black mirror” elements to it. The sense of floating/flying away from all the undesirables on the ground, and this form of release was even used as a form of exploitation by the master abuser, the father. 1mo
vivastory @merelybookish I will have to look into Lucy Scholes. Do you have a particular recommendation. That episode remains a favorite! 1mo
LeahBergen @vivastory That IS an important bit of info! 👍 1mo
LeahBergen @DrexEdit And there were even more levitating images I could‘ve chosen from. 😆 1mo
LeahBergen @merelybookish @Leftcoastzen I was really hoping that there might be some sort of Carrie at the prom moment, à la Stephen King. ? 1mo
LeahBergen @GatheringBooks Good points. And that “release” ended up being no release at all for her. 1mo
LeahBergen @batsy I really like your comparison to The Little Stranger! 👌 1mo
Reviewsbylola I actually was pleasantly surprised. I typically don‘t care for magical realism, try as I might, so the way the author paced it really worked for me and made me appreciate that aspect of the story. 4w
LeahBergen @Reviewsbylola I‘m not much for magical realism myself! 4w
39 likes1 stack add27 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Liz_M Well the sailor (especially the gleaming image of him riding the horse) is certainly a Prince Charming figure, even if Alice wasn't the chosen princess.... 😂 1mo
vivastory I think that the presence of the animals, even if they were being terribly mistreated, added to the sense of it being a dark fairytale. Also, I couldn't help but wonder if Comyns didn't name Alice after Carroll's heroine. I couldn't find anything to support this, but the book had a through the looking glass feeling to it at times. (edited) 1mo
Liz_M @vivastory I also wondered if using Alice was a reference to Carroll's work 1mo
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LeahBergen @vivastory @Liz_M Ah, I never even thought of Carroll‘s Alice! 1mo
quietjenn @Liz_M Even Blinkers has a bit of a Charming feel, in the way he sweeps in to “rescue“ Alice, at least temporarily. Even if he doesn't fit the mold in lots of other ways. 1mo
quietjenn The caravan in the woods where escapes to dream has a little bit of a fairy tale feel to me. And the way that the evil or grotesque is often lurking below the seemingly good or normal elements, if that makes sense. 1mo
merelybookish @vivastory Yes to the animals and especially the birds! The crow (raven?) that won't fly away even though he could. The poor parrot stuck shrieking then pecking away at the floor. Also, not a bird, but the seamstress friend who is deaf. The descriptions of them signing also felt bird-like. Also intrigued by the Alice in Wonderland idea 🤔 1mo
batsy Yes, there's so many layers here and it's maybe hard for me to pinpoint specific fairytale/folklore elements but the whole feel of it had the energy of a dark, nightmarish fable. The animals, the beasts lurking (ordinary men), Alice herself being a kind of mistreated Cinderella figure, the gobliney Gowleys! 1mo
batsy @vivastory I did wonder about that, too! Something about Alice's experiences (and her very self) being somewhat enchanted lends that through the looking glass vibe. 1mo
GatheringBooks How about the nearly-stepmother, wicked in her entirety, setting up Alice to be raped. 1mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks She definitely fit the role of the wicked step-mother! 1mo
LeahBergen @batsy Good one! Cinderella and her drudgery. 1mo
LeahBergen @GatheringBooks Yes! Rosa does seem to be a bit of a “wicked stepmother” archetype. 1mo
Reviewsbylola This is a tough question for me but I‘m loving the comments! 4w
30 likes14 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Liz_M I don't know about the first part, but I do agree that the novel is about the evil that can exist in ordinary people. 1mo
vivastory Absolutely. It's rare that in lit fic that you meet characters who are outright villains, but Rosa & her Father definitely seem to fit the bill. Especially her father. 1mo
LeahBergen @Liz_M @vivastory And Rosa DOES seem to redeem herself a little in the final chapter, unlike that horrific father. 1mo
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quietjenn Yeah, the father is maybe the most casual evil I've encountered in a long time. And the “head waiter“ is a pretty good example of it too. But even the a character like Nicholas who initially seems like he might be a good guy, turns out to be a bit an arse (which, granted is not exactly evil, but still). 1mo
Leftcoastzen I kept waiting for the father to be less evil , it never happened. when he tells her off when she‘s leaving, I was probably reading with my mouth open & a little gasp! I used to have a friend who had a constantly angry mother , felt sorry for her & wondered why , also wondered doesn‘t that just take too much energy? 1mo
vivastory @LeahBergen There for a minute Rosa seemed like she might be the real villain, but that def passed. I also could never shake the images of what the father did to some of the animals. 😬 1mo
vivastory @Leftcoastzen I'm sorry to hear about your friend & her mom. That would be so difficult 1mo
DrexEdit Yep. Evil people are everywhere in this book! Ordinary, everyday evil people who only see others as a means to their own ends. 1mo
merelybookish @vivastory @quietjenn @DrexEdit Men! Men are evil. In small.and big ways. Peebles might be the exception but he still fails to be a force of good. I came to feel sorry for Rosa by the end. Another woman stuck relying on men to get by. Although the married housekeeper at the Peebles house was pretty terrible. 1mo
batsy Yes, I agree. The banal evil that the father embodies as @quietjenn points out was so hard to take! The enduring image is the one of Alice's mother climbing up the stairs. 1mo
batsy The final scene is chilling in its depiction of how selfish people in search of a spectacle and who can't make sense of what they see spontaneously generate an evil social situation; a tale as old as time (people gleefully viewing burnings and hangings and beheadings in the past) or a metaphor for modern politics, in a way! 1mo
GatheringBooks Agreed with all you mentioned here. All the men here, notwithstanding their best intentions, are evil in their banality - as @batsy pointed out - even the man who “hired” Alice as a companion for his mother - turned out to be passive and not much help in the end. (edited) 1mo
vivastory @batsy Chilling is absolutely the perfect description for the ending. Comyns conveyed so much in just a couple of pages. 1mo
Reviewsbylola I absolutely agree with Graham‘s assessment. Sometimes it‘s the people that appear most normal that are actually the most depraved and unfeeling. 4w
31 likes15 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Liz_M If the tone wasn't detached, it would have been too intense and emotional. And I feel like detached is a convention of the time (and the literature it harks back to). The hyper-emotional, hyper-personal seem more modern? (I am specifically thinking of, even though I have read neither 😁, A Little Life or the My Struggle series) 1mo
vivastory I agree with this assessment & the narrative is actually one of the most unusual things about the book considering the ending. I think the detached voice is a way for Alice to keep her emotions under control. It's a coping mechanism for how she is handling her trauma. 1mo
vivastory @Liz_M That's a good point re: it being a convention of the time. When I first heard about Comyns someone had compared her to Jane Austen. Having read Vet's Daughter I didn't really understand the comparison, but I do think that Comyns is part of the tradition. Even if she is working against it at times. 1mo
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LeahBergen @Liz_M @vivastory Good points about the intensity of emotion and keeping it under control. Alice narrated in such a ‘flattened affect‘ way which seems understandable when we read the extent of her lifelong traumas. 1mo
LeahBergen @vivastory I really don‘t get the Austen comparison (especially for this novel). I‘ll have to read more Comyns, I guess. 😆 1mo
Leftcoastzen I agree with everyone, if she didn‘t have a somewhat detached storytelling technique we would be in the more modern unreliable narrator territory.Keeping the emotions under control & a more controlled narrative can put to an extent the emotions on us . 1mo
arubabookwoman I thought the detachment was because she had so much to be afraid of. She also had such limited experience with life, she had no way of knowing which experiences/feelings were usual/normal and which were unusual/abnormal, so it was almost like she was afraid to say anything that might be a value judgement or opinion. I also don't get the Austen comparison (& I've read several other other books). 1mo
quietjenn Yes to what everyone has said. It seems a very natural response to the trauma of pretty much her entire life. Detachment helps her cope and there is little in her life that has ever indicated that she's entitled or worthy of her own thoughts/feelings/destiny. 1mo
quietjenn @arubabookwoman @LeahBergen @vivastory I've only read one other, but the Austen comparison makes no sense to me at all! 1mo
vivastory @arubabookwoman The limited life experience was striking. Like when she asked another character if they ever levitated. 1mo
vivastory @quietjenn @arubabookwoman @quietjenn The *only* part of the book that struck me as anywhere in the same vicinity as Austen was when she levitated in front of Nick (I think that was his name) & he became embarrassed & worried that someone would see her. 1mo
DrexEdit @arubabookwoman Yes! I got this same impression. I felt like Alice had very low self-esteem and was afraid, mostly, of saying anything that would appear to be impolite or unconventional lest people think less of he for it. 1mo
merelybookish Plot-wise, I don't get Austen but her ability to say a lot about a character in just a few sentences has an Austen flair to it. The scene where she was riding on the train and describes the other women in the car with her and how they shame her for trying to throw out her sandwich really struck me. I could immediately picture the woman dressed in lolly pink. 🙂 1mo
merelybookish @arubabookwoman @DrexEdit Definitely! And I also feel like her detachment reflects her lack of agency. Why attach when you have no say in anything that happens to you? 1mo
merelybookish @arubabookwoman Do you have another book by Comyns you'd recommend? 1mo
arubabookwoman @merelybookish I read The Juniper Tree last year and really liked it. It's based on the fairy tale of the same name. I also liked Sisters by the River, semi-autobiographical about her childhood, and Our Spoons Came From Woolworths, semi-autobiographical about her young adulthood, 1st marriage. These two are more realistic, but still with lots of quirky elements.👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 1mo
arubabookwoman I also liked Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, which is at least as dark,if not more dark, than The Vet's Daughter. These last 3 I read many years ago, so my memory might not be the best. 1mo
quietjenn @arubabookwoman @merelybookish I just read Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead last month and quite liked it. It felt like a sort of British Flannery O'Connor. I love the sound of Sister by the River and think I'm going to try to get my hands on a copy. I have both of the others that you mention and may give them a go, as I really like the way she writes. 1mo
batsy Love all the points made here and that's a really astute observation, @arubabookwoman . The detached voice is not just as aesthetic choice but makes sense for a young girl coming of age who seems utterly bewildered by what the world throws at her. An emotional or overly involved voice might have rendered this a true melodramatic Gothic, as opposed to the late modernist Gothic vibes it gives off. 1mo
merelybookish @Liz_M @quietjenn Thanks for the recommendations! I think I have a copy of 1mo
GatheringBooks Rather than a sense of detachment, I felt that it was more a reined-in terror conveyed with utter subtlety and simplicity and matter-of-factness that increased its surreal, otherworldly, but painfully-traumatic elements that has emotional abuse, domestic violence and exploitation as the cornerstones. 1mo
Reviewsbylola I agree that the detachment is a defense mechanism. Alice couldn‘t cope otherwise. 4w
33 likes22 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Liz_M The ironworks house that suffered a fire, for sure. The creepy caretakers. The narrator's precarious position, both in her father's house and out in the country. 1mo
vivastory I agree with @liz_m about the ironworks house. Also when she described one part of the house being burnt, that had a very gothic feeling. This often felt like an Edward Gorey book but I would be startled by some of the more dramatic elements that made it more gothic, more sinister 1mo
LitStephanie What does NYRBBookclub stand for? 1mo
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Liz_M @LitStephanie nyrb is a publisher: https://www.nyrb.com/ and this bookclub reads exclusively from their (extensive) catalog 1mo
LeahBergen @Liz_M @vivastory Yes, wasn‘t that ironworks house something else? 1mo
Leftcoastzen The grim description of her parents gave me gothic feeling , her mom scraggly hair , moving along the wall like a frightened mouse , and her father who seems intense & angry . I was already thinking this poor girl ! I think that a lot in this book club!😄 1mo
LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen We‘ve certainly read some grim ones, haven‘t we? 😆 1mo
quietjenn Agree about the ironworks house, particularly the burnt out portion of it, just locked up and left to further rot. I also think the tone, overall, is quite gothic, as is Alice's paranormal ability, which is just accepted, but not really explained or interrogated. 1mo
quietjenn @Leftcoastzen excellent point about the descriptions! Very true. 1mo
vivastory @quietjenn Good point about her ability not being explained/interrogated. 👍 1mo
DrexEdit I don't have much to add to what's already been said. But I do think there was a rather sinister atmosphere through much of the book that felt gothic. Either through descriptions of locations or people's actions. The men in this book were all rather sinister too, from the very beginning and the man with the ginger moustache. 1mo
LitStephanie @Liz_M thanks! 1mo
merelybookish @Liz_M @vivastory @Leftcoastzen @quietjenn @DrexEdit Agree with everything that's been mentioned. Both the houses she inhabited felt dark and macabre. Also the menagerie of animals and animal skulls added to the gothic feel. They seemed trapped and as unsafe as Alice. 1mo
batsy Yes, agree with what's said above and also wanted to mention as @merelybookish did that Alice's own home felt like a disturbing place; the shrieking animals, things out of place, the sense of Alice and her mum being held captive by a patriarch. Decay, darkness, etc. Lots of unsettling imagery: the ironworks house, but also early on when her mum is on all fours climbing up the stairs 😩 But also the heavier themes of abuse & male power. 1mo
GatheringBooks Love what @batsy mentioned regarding abuse and male power. The ironhouse detail escaped my limited attention span, but it all felt very dark, with a sense of foreboding embedded thruout. 1mo
Reviewsbylola Omg I‘m such a slacker Leah!! I read the book weeks ago and yet here I am, days late to the party. 😩 Answering the questions now! 4w
Reviewsbylola Def had a strong gothic feel for me too, for the myriad of reasons listed above. I remember as I was reading it thinking that it was a great pick for this time of year, with its creepy, gothic atmosphere. 4w
LeahBergen @Reviewsbylola Hey, no worries! Everyone gets busy. 😊 4w
34 likes18 comments
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quietjenn
The Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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Taking a little time to finish the #nyrbbookclub selection, before running a few errands later this afternoon.

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review
merelybookish
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Mehso-so

Sucks to be a woman. 😑I haven't read Comyns before but I know a darkness runs through her novels. And it's definitely here. Women are at the mercy of men, and in the case of Alice, that means her cruel, drunken vet dad. Even to escape she's dependent upon a hero, one she finds kind but repugnant. Aspects of this novel I didn't get but the descriptions of characters and scene-setting are fabulous. A good book to discuss! #nyrbbookclub

vivastory Great review. I think it'll make for a great discussion! 1mo
LeahBergen I shall read this when I‘m done! 😆 1mo
merelybookish @vivastory Thanks Scott! 1mo
56 likes4 comments
quote
DrexEdit
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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A man with small eyes and a ginger moustache came and spoke to me when I was thinking of something else.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

review
DrexEdit
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Pickpick

What in the heck did I just read!? Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the #nyrbbookclub discussion!

LeahBergen Oh, good! 👏🏻👏🏻 1mo
37 likes1 comment
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Leftcoastzen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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#NYRBBookClub Usually I say death before decaf but beings how it‘s getting late & will need to sleep soon , I wanted the taste without the jolt !

LeahBergen And it looks tasty! 2mo
TrishB Love the pic ❤️ 2mo
Leftcoastzen @TrishB thanks 😊 2mo
50 likes4 comments
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Leftcoastzen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Yay! #NYRBBookClub I love it when someone uses the word strumpet !Comyns even gets rhyming with it !
the strumpet from The Trumpet !😄👏

vivastory 😂 I'm looking forward to diving into this one 2mo
sarahbarnes Loving this one so far too! 2mo
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LeahBergen I love the word ‘strumpet‘. 😆 And also ‘trollop‘ and ‘hussy‘. 😆😆 2mo
Leftcoastzen @LeahBergen indeed! I posted before I read on!😁 2mo
batsy 😆 This has now also made me think about The Hearing Trumpet so yay strumpets and trumpets! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy 😂makes me remember how many interesting books we have read in the book club! 2mo
42 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Leftcoastzen
The Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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Wow #NYRBBookClub look at the first edition dust jacket!

vivastory What a cover! Serious Lolly vibes! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @vivastory indeed! I am quite taken with it! 2mo
Tamra 😵 that‘s an amazing cover! 2mo
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Leftcoastzen @Tamra Heinemann , 1959 . Loving it 2mo
sisilia Wow!!! 😍 2mo
BarbaraBB A first edition. How cool 😍 2mo
Leftcoastzen @sisilia @BarbaraBB Yes , I was just curious, so I looked it up. There was not a copy on Abebooks , I found the image on Wikipedia, pretty amazing. 2mo
BarbaraBB I never do that but I should, it is very cool to know what a first edition looks like! 2mo
LeahBergen Ooo! I want it! 😆 2mo
batsy I love it 🖤 Yes @vivastory Lolly vibes! 2mo
Cathythoughts Great cover ! I think I ordered this one .. 2mo
47 likes11 comments
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vivastory
The Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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Due to Halloween falling on the final Sunday of the month the discussion for the October #NYRBBookClub selection will be 11/7 @ 11 MST. Join @LeahBergen & I as we discuss Barbara Comyns' novel!

62 likes5 comments
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Leftcoastzen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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#NYRBBookClub I need to get started on this , feeling behind! Did you ever have one of those days where you thought you slept well the night before but feel like for whatever reason it‘s like it didn‘t take ? Yep, that‘s today for me .

vivastory Honestly I feel that way most nights...& btw I'm about to make an announcement post regarding the discussion date/time (edited) 2mo
sarahbarnes Yes, all the time! 2mo
LeahBergen I feel you. This has been me lately, too. 🙄 2mo
37 likes3 comments
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BarbaraBB
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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I recently read this one so won‘t reread but will reshare my thoughts on this month‘s #NYRBBookClub choice ⬆️⬆️

LeahBergen Thanks for sharing! I‘m glad it was still a pick for you. 😊 2mo
vivastory Thanks for sharing. I've been very curious about this one for awhile now. 2mo
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen @vivastory It is an intriguing book, so much to discuss. I am looking forward to it! 2mo
sisilia Gothic meets magic 🥴 Not my fav theme hahaha.. 2mo
BarbaraBB @sisilia it‘s short and you may describe it totally different 🤞🏽 2mo
56 likes5 comments
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merelybookish
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Picked up a very battered Virago Modern Classis edition of The Vet's Daughter from the library today. Makes me sad to see it in such rough shape.
#nyrbbookclub @LeahBergen @vivastory

Leftcoastzen Wow that‘s a black Dial Virago. Poor old thing. 2mo
vivastory That is in rough shape. Maybe they will replace it with a new edition? 2mo
LeahBergen Poor old thing! 2mo
Cathythoughts Poor book ! Sounds great though & stacking 2mo
65 likes4 comments
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GatheringBooks
Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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#Haunted Day 6: #WitchyWednesday is perfect for this haunting book because umm… levitating? Paired with husband‘s roka salata that will put Cyma to shame. Caramelized walnuts, blue cheese, shaved parmesan, sundried tomatoes (plus diced fresh tomatoes), and greens. Homemade lunch is 💕 Also our #NYRBBookClub pick for the month.

BiblioLitten I have been wanting to read this book for so long! 🙂 2mo
Eggs Great book cover and ensalata ❣️ 2mo
46 likes3 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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#FallTreasures Day 21: This #NYRBBookClub pick for October is definitely #WaitingToBeRead - perfectly paired with Egentid peppermint tea with cocoa and of course the rapidly-disappearing truffles.

Michael_Gee Truffles!!! 😛 3mo
vivastory Wonderful picture☕📚 3mo
tpixie Lovely cup and saucer! 🤍🖤🤍 3mo
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LeahBergen Ooo, lovely! 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome photo ❤️ 3mo
catebutler Love everything in this photo!! 3mo
Eggs 🧡❤️🧡❤️ 3mo
60 likes7 comments
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vivastory
Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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There are a couple of members who have yet to vote, but as the votes currently stand Comyns' The Vet's Daughter will be the October #NYRBBookClub Selection. Join @LeahBergen & I next month as we discuss! I look forward to it. I have been meaning to read Comyns for awhile now & have heard nothing but praise for this work.

batsy I've yet to read any Comyns but I've been meaning to for so long... Excited for this! 3mo
vivastory @batsy Same here! It sounds promising. 3mo
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LeahBergen Woot! 👏🏻 3mo
vivastory @LeahBergen Great nominations 👏 3mo
rubyslippersreads I think I‘d like to join in, but before I decide, should I skip it if I want to avoid any animal cruelty? 2mo
vivastory @rubyslippersreads I can't say. I haven't read it yet. 2mo
rubyslippersreads @vivastory I realized after I posted the question that probably no one had read it yet. 😹 Oh well, I‘ll leave it just in case. 2mo
56 likes8 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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merelybookish Wow, I'm conflicted! But I think I'll vote for 3mo
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Billypar All three of these sound good, but I'm going with 3mo
catebutler All sound good! I‘m going with 3mo
daena I‘ll vote for the 3mo
sisilia The Vet‘s Daughter 💕 3mo
vivastory Thanks for posting! Although I have Vet's Daughter, I'm voting for Great Granny Webster (never heard of it) 3mo
Leftcoastzen I‘ve read the other 2 , but Webster I read long ago , I‘d reread either for the club 3mo
mklong I‘m torn too, but I‘m going with 3mo
Liz_M Tough choice! I'm voting for In a Lonely Place (but also will be happy if AVD wins). 3mo
sarahbarnes Great choices! I‘ll honestly be happy to read any of them, but I‘ll vote for In a Lonely Place. 3mo
GatheringBooks Thank you for putting this up early. All interesting choices! I vote for 3mo
BarbaraBB I LOVED In a Lonely Place and I hope that one will win. I also read (and was underwhelmed by) The Vet‘s Daughter so my vote goes to 3mo
emilyhaldi I think in the spirit of spooky October reading 🖤 I‘ll vote for 3mo
batsy Great picks! I'm going with 3mo
youneverarrived Great choices! I‘m going for 3mo
quietjenn After much back and forth, I'm casting my vote for 3mo
arubabookwoman If it's not too late my vote is for The Vet's Daughter. I've read it, but many years ago, and I love Barbsra Comyns. (I also loved In lonely Place), but not sure how much discussion it would generate). 3mo
sprainedbrain Sorry I‘m late! I will vote for 3mo
saresmoore Oh, gosh! I‘m sorry I missed the notification for this! What brilliant choices, Leah—of course! ♥️ I‘ll be delighted to read any of these. If I‘ve snuck in before the deadline, my vote is for 3mo
Reviewsbylola So sorry I‘m tardy! If it‘s not too late, my vote goes to 3mo
Tanisha_A Gosh! I haven‘t been following nyrb since a bit! But maybe I‘ll join. 3mo
LeahBergen @Reviewsbylola @Tanisha_A Scott has already tallied the votes and The Vet‘s Daughter won. 😊 @vivastory 3mo
Tanisha_A Lol! That says how absent I have been here! 😶 3mo
61 likes26 comments
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vivastory
The Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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A poor night's sleep would usually result in a mediocre day at best. Luckily my NYRB sale order arrived & my coffee is doing it's job (so far). I'm thoroughly pleased with my order.

MayJasper I like the look of them 😊 5mo
vivastory @MayJasper They reliably produce the greatest covers IMO. I've read a few that were forgettable but I have never outright hated a NYRB, they're def one of my fave publishers 5mo
sisilia I have only read Angel and I loved it. A different style from Taylor 5mo
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vivastory @sisilia It sounds really interesting, darker than the other Taylor our group read 5mo
vivastory @sisilia I've heard her stories are great too 5mo
sisilia Yes. I‘m not sure if the one NYRB published is the complete version. Virago Modern Classics has her complete short stories and I‘ve heard praises 5mo
erzascarletbookgasm These covers are great! 😍 5mo
vivastory @sisilia I somehow managed to forget that NYRB published a volume of her stories. Just added to my TBR. 5mo
vivastory @erzascarletbookgasm Aren't they? I suspect the stories inside will be equally memorable 5mo
LeahBergen Ooo, looky! 👀 5mo
Megabooks Gorgeous! 5mo
quietjenn Ha, Angel and The Vet's Daughter were part of my sale haul also 😄 5mo
vivastory @quietjenn Taylor's A Game of Hide & Seek was a real gem from round 1 of NYRB, so I'm really looking forward to Angel. Vet's Daughter sounds fascinating! Have you received your haul yet? 5mo
quietjenn I got that one, too! I've read a few things by her - and own even more on my Kindle - but none of the NYRB titles (although I see that they are doing an edition of Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont in the fall, and that's my favorite thus far). I did get my box. I spent entirely too much and would be ashamed if a) it hadn't been my birthday gift to myself and b) I hadn't promised to buy anything else for a while (already proving difficult!) 5mo
vivastory @quietjenn That's exciting to hear that Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is a favorite. If I remember correctly @reviewsbylola also said it's her favorite Taylor book. I will def. be checking it out! No shame in splurging on yourself, esp. for your birthday. I think that writer Olga Grushin outdid us all with her NYRB sale haul:
https://twitter.com/olgagrushin/status/1416134912927834113
5mo
quietjenn 😲 yes, mine was not nearly as grand as that! And it looks like she already had quite a collection! Now to read them all ... eventually! 5mo
BarbaraBB Wow, another Tove! 5mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB What can I say? She's a new favorite. Can't wait to explore more of her work 5mo
ShelleyBooksie What is NYRB? 3mo
vivastory @ShelleyBooksie New York Review Book Classics They publish some great work 3mo
Suet624 Wow. You got some great books. And those covers are just so seductive! 3mo
88 likes21 comments
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LeahBergen
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Thank you so much for this lovely Christmas gift, @erzascarletbookgasm ! It‘s been on my TBR for simply ages and I‘m itching to read it (and just look at that awesome Virago cover!).

Happy Holidays to you, Jessie! You‘ve brightened my day. 😘❤️😘❤️

ShelleyBooksie I cannot wait.to read your review of this one! I have never heard of this title before and it sounds very interesting. 11mo
batsy Oooh! I need to read this. And Viragos ❤️ 11mo
erzascarletbookgasm My pleasure, dear! 😘 I have this on my tbr, maybe we should do a casual read along next year @LeahBergen @batsy 11mo
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readordierachel That *is* an awesome cover. I have the NYRB version, but this one is 😍 11mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm @LeahBergen Ooh, yes! That gives me a reason to order a copy 😂 11mo
quietjenn What a pretty version! 11mo
LeahBergen @ShelleyBooksie It sounds great, doesn‘t it? 😍 11mo
LeahBergen @erzascarletbookgasm @batsy Let‘s do it! 👏🏻👏🏻 11mo
LeahBergen @readordierachel It‘s so pretty! 11mo
LeahBergen @quietjenn I love it! 11mo
MsMelissa Loving the cover on this one! 11mo
Reviewsbylola Amazing cover! 11mo
veritysalter I loved this book, I was sent it by Mr B‘s Emporium who I have a subscription with. 11mo
BiblioLitten Lovely cover! 11mo
87 likes3 stack adds14 comments
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BarbaraBB
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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#BookReport 42/20

It‘s been a real good week with four outstanding books. Books are so much of an escape for me these days and I‘m happy to have them around!

squirrelbrain Glad you had a great reading week! 😘 13mo
Megabooks Awesome week! You should get my BD package next week, and I mailed your card and bookmark yesterday. I hope it gets there in time!! #birthdaytime 🥳🥳 13mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Thank you so much Meg, my birthday can‘t come soon enough with all those surprises! It‘s great to have something to look forward to in these stay-at-home days 😘 13mo
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Cinfhen Yay that you‘re finding time and energy to read...did you enjoy 13mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Yes, I really liked it 🐳 13mo
Cinfhen I was surprised that my entire bookclub loved it - it‘s a bit gory 13mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen It is! Many people didn‘t like it because of that, I notice in the comments on my review. I don‘t mind functional goriness though 😂😉 13mo
Cinfhen Exactly 😜”functional goriness” is real..... by the way....you‘re up late!!! 13mo
70 likes8 comments
review
BarbaraBB
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
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Pickpick

‘If she had been a dog, my father would have destroyed her‘. This is Alice speaking, the vet‘s daughter. While her sick mother withers away, her father has the undertaker measure her for the coffin already.
Things don‘t get better after her mother dies. Yet Alice never complaints. She is detached in her narration. And she has a secret power.
Gothic meets magic in 130 pages. A great premise yet I felt let down by the last chapters. #NYRB

Cathythoughts Sounds good ... until those last chapters 🤷🏼‍♀️ 14mo
Tanisha_A Very intrigued! I am stacking 🙂 14mo
70 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
veritysalter
Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ An absolutely wonderful work of Speculative Fiction. Alice is trapped with her domineering and violent father by the constraints of society. For full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3184456258

Crazeedi Have been keeping you in my prayers ❤ 2y
LeahBergen I‘ve been wanting to read this one. 👍🏻 2y
veritysalter I think you‘d really enjoy it @LeahBergen 2y
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veritysalter
The Vet's Daughter | Barbara Comyns
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My in-laws got me a subscription from #MrBsEmporiumOfReadingDelights and here is my first book. (They originally emailed to gain my views on Shirley Jackson, and we had a conversation on which I‘d read), you fill out an online questionnaire about your tastes, then your bibliotherapist chooses for you. #Bath #UK #Subscription

TheAromaofBooks I had this subscription for a brief while and loved it - I had it for three months, and all three books they sent ended up being 5* reads for me! 2y
wanderinglynn That sound so cool! 2y
Mrs_B That sounds amazing - I‘ll have to remember that one! 2y
LeahBergen How lovely! I‘ve yet to read Comyns but I think I‘ll like her. 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome 💞 2y
55 likes5 comments
review
Jassinboots
The Vet's Daughter | Kathryn Davis, Barbara Comyns
Pickpick

A modernist gothic tale which serves as a profound metaphor for repression and female subjugation. Despite the seriousness of these themes, the prose is strong and clear and all characters evocatively drawn. It is a perfect read - no words are wasted, and the import of each scene is keenly felt. This is one of those sure things that has somehow slipped from being known as a classic. It is a peculiar tale, but a thoroughly deserving one. Read it.

Jassinboots The introduction is by Davis but he author is Barbara Comyns. 5y
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