Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Lantern Group Read, Week 1 : Wherein Lari Gives Her Inarticulate Answers to an Otherwise Thoughtful Book Discussion

Disclaimer: I haven't finished the reading for the first part, but I'm nearly finished. 

This book discussion is hosted by Carl V. Over at Stainless Steel Droppings.

1. This may seem like an obvious opening question, but what do you think of The Lantern thus far?

I like it, but so far it is just "meh" to me. My husband and I read the beginning together, and I think he put it best when he described it as thus:

Description of scenery, doing things, French words. Repeat

The book is frankly, a little monotonous and the pace is nearly too slow for me to stay interested. . .

. . . except when they hinted at the buried treasure thing. The pirate in me always gets excited when she hears of buried treasure! Yarrr.

2. The book appears to be following the experiences of two different women, alternating back and forth between their stories. Are you more fond of our main protagonist’s story or of Benedicte’s or are you enjoying them both equally?

I like both equally. Though it is frustrating when it changes perspective without telling the reader, in any way, that it has changed perspective.

Also, I have not grown attached to either character. Eve bugs me with the way she takes such a passive role in her relationship, and the way she rushed into this thing with Dom, and I'm not sure why I'm supposed to care about Benedicte yet.

As far as I'm concerned, both characters could get hit by a bus, and I would remain emotionally unchanged (though the book would get spectacularly more interesting for me).

3. The Lantern is a book filled with descriptions of scents. How are you liking (or disliking) that aspect of the book? How do you feel about the lavish description of scents? How are the short chapters working for you?

I love the descriptions of scents in this book. I could absolutely "smell" everything Eve narrates in my brain. When she describes the redolence of traditional  foods, my mouth waters. This books is like my brain when I had super-smell during my pregnancy. Except that in the case of this book, it is mostly a good thing.

The short chapters are fine, I suppose. I think if the chapters WEREN'T short, I'd probably fall asleep reading it, as a change of scene is one of the few things keeping me interested. I'm getting confused when the perspective changes. I thought Pierre had happened with Eve, and later realized it was Benedicte. (No wonder I was so confused when I heard it was her brother.)

4. How would you describe the atmosphere of Parts 1 and 2 of The Lantern?

The atmosphere is extremely well done and well written. But while the atmosphere of the book is enjoyable to the kind of person who likes to savor a fine wine, well, let's just say I'm not a wine person. The pacing is too monotonous for my tastes. When Pierre first appears, it is given as much emotional weight as when Eve meets Dom in the labyrinth.

But while I think the atmosphere is quite powerful, particularly at first, I think it starts to lose its power as the book progresses and stagnates with the pacing. It's the only thing holding up the book for me at this point.

5. Has anything surprised you to this point? Anything stand out?

The hidden treasure! I'm hoping something really comes to fruition with the treasure.

6. What are your feelings about Dom in these first two sections of the story?

Dom sounds too good to be true. He also reminds me of Harrison Ford's character in the film "What Lies Beneath." I am prone to think he has something to do with the disappearances of the girls in the area. Also, I have a feeling he may have killed his ex, but at the same time, it could just be a red herring at this point.

Bonus question: Did anyone else hear “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” ringing in their ears through the first sections of the book?

No. But I've never read "Rebecca." (Let the everyone now shame me for it.)


  1. I'm curious about the treasure too (and I also haven't read Rebecca).  I'm liking the book thus far, but I liked your analogy about the wine.  I like to savor wine (and occasionally savor lots of wine in one sitting).

  2. Thanks! I can't wait to see where that leads.


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