S4L Book Club – Bel Canto

We interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion to announce the April discussion leader and book selection. Our leader is Kat, and the book is The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. I was going to request something kidlitish for April, since we’ll be in the middle of the 2011 Bookmark Challenge, but I didn’t have to: Kat had already picked one. It’s not the first time we’ve shared a thought.

All right, who’s up for May? You lead, you pick (more or less).

S4L Book Club - Bel Canto1. Roxane and Mr. Hosokawa speak different languages and require Gen to translate their conversations. Do you think it’s possible to fall in love with someone to whom you cannot speak directly?

2. “Roxane Coss and Mr. Hosokawa, however improbable to those around them, were members of the same tribe, the tribe of the hostages…. But Gen and Carmen were another matter” (pg. 294). Compare the love affairs of Gen and Carmen and Roxane and Mr. Hosokawa. What are the elements that define each relationship?

Categories: Reading

3 replies »

  1. 1)Sure, it’s possible. I think it’s even more likely in a situation where one spends every minute of every day in such close proximity…within the four walls of that single house. The situation itself is intimate. Add to that the high-emotion aspect of the situation. Feelings run strong in situations like that. Plus, with a good interpreter (which this one was), the exchanges can be seamless. They could almost forget that he was even there.

    2)This question feels so strongly of school that I don’t want to put forth the effort to answer. Maybe in a live group setting this question would feel more stimulating to me. Sorry to be a nonparticipant.

  2. LOL. So you’re saying I should re-word some of the canned questions? It seems I’m more interested in adding on to the questions.

    I agree with that answer to question 1. I think extreme circumstances bind people together in a unique and strong way. Romantic love could be part of that bond, though I wouldn’t say it’s the only possible part.

    Hosokawa and Roxane were on the same team and thus in the same boat. Gen and Carmen, however, were not. Their experience of the situation was different, and they were in very different boats. So what brought them together into a romantic relationship?

    Being in the same confined place at the same time is certainly one thing.

    Carmen admired Gen’s knowledge and longed to improve her own. That’s not unlike Hosokawa’s admiration for Roxane’s talent.

    In both cases, I think the women initiated the romance, rather surprising the men. And in both cases, the men might never have made romantic moves without encouragement given their personal natures–both very formal, somewhat distant, and not especially aware of their emotions, let alone likely to act on them.

    And now here’s the new question these questions make me want to ask: What chances do you think these two relationships would have outside this extreme situation? If they all survived the incident, what would happen to these relationships?