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Kshakal
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich | Julia Sarcone-Roach
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Eggs Yummy 🥪 1mo
Monica5 That looks good 1mo
26 likes3 comments
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TheSpineView
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich | Julia Sarcone-Roach
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Cute!! 🐻 🥪 1mo
Eggs Perfect 👍🏼🥪 👍🏼 1mo
66 likes1 stack add3 comments
review
galueth28
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Pickpick

The book was up to a nice start, and then the narrator brought up The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and I thought "Oh, this is gonna be good?"

Fifth book read for #scarathlon2022 #teamslaughter #scarathlondailyprompts #promptmaze #bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks #spookoween @TheSpineView #31by31 @Catsandbooks #pointsathon @DieAReader @GHABI4ROSES #outstandingoctober @Andrew65

DieAReader 🎉🎉🎉 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 2mo
TheSpineView Excellent 2mo
Catsandbooks 🙌🏼🐈‍⬛🧡 2mo
Andrew65 Great 👏👏👏 2mo
9 likes5 comments
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allureofbeauty
Supermarket | Bobby Hall
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Another stack of some recent Goodwill finds over numerous trips.

Chelsea.Poole Pretty stack ☺️ and love your pug wall art in the background! 4mo
allureofbeauty @Chelsea.Poole thank you. I love him. I saw it at TJ Maxx. Left it. And couldn‘t stop thinking about cause it made me happy so I went back and he was still there waiting for me. 4mo
18 likes2 comments
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mandarchy
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich | Julia Sarcone-Roach
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I love reading from alternate POV. The book I tagged is a favorite and apparently this is my 3rd post about it. 😆 #Two4Tuesday 😊 @TheSpineView
Have a happy Tuesday!

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! Have a great rest of your day! 5mo
35 likes1 comment
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. 6mo
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 6mo
TrishB Wow 😯 what a review! Brilliant as always. 6mo
See All 23 Comments
batsy @TrishB Thank you! ❤️ 6mo
Graywacke Terrific review! 6mo
Cathythoughts Great review 💫 6mo
The_Penniless_Author This book sounds like something I would love. Stacking immediately 😀 6mo
batsy @Graywacke @Cathythoughts Thank you! 💜💜 6mo
batsy @The_Penniless_Author If you give it a try, I hope you like it! It's definitely a unique read 🙂 6mo
MicheleinPhilly That is a line indeed! 😂 6mo
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. 😆😆 6mo
charl08 Intriguing! 6mo
Billypar I really like the description "fever dream of memory and imagination" - that sums it up so nicely. Great review! 6mo
CarolynM Your quote made me laugh out loud🤣 Not sure if I could stomach a whole book of it, though🤔😆 6mo
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. 6mo
batsy @charl08 Yes! 6mo
batsy @Billypar Thank you! I love that it was such an interior novel played out entirely on the "outside" spaces, the streets, cafés, galleries. 6mo
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 🙂 6mo
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! 6mo
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! 6mo
Suet624 I‘m with @hamlet. Thank you. 💕 6mo
batsy @Suet624 And thanks to you, as well; I derive great pleasure from your posts 💕 6mo
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
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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. 6mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I completely agree. I found the ending appropriate & immensely satisfying, despite the “closure“ 6mo
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. 6mo
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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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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.“ 6mo
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. 6mo
41 likes7 comments
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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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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) 6mo
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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! 😃 6mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes I plan on it this week. Looking forward to it! 6mo
Sapphire @GatheringBooks wow. What a fascinating and intriguing comment. Just wow. Stopped me. 6mo
quietjenn I definitely think that she incorporates a lot of what is familiar to her. Is that enough to make it autobiographical? 🤷🏽‍♀️ 6mo
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 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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!) 6mo
39 likes11 comments
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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. 6mo
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 6mo
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. 6mo
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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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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! 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
sarahbarnes @merelybookish yes! I‘ve wondered what the deal is with her and the waitress. 6mo
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? 6mo
merelybookish @sarahbarnes I don't know? There's also that scene where she's the only woman in the restaurant. 6mo
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. 6mo
Megabooks The interaction with the actors made such vivid pictures in my mind. They seemed so much more real than her. 6mo
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. 6mo
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. 6mo
39 likes18 comments