Last week, our seniors’ book club met for the final time this spring. My home replaced our usual meeting place in a local church basement since we were having a little “lunch” after the meeting, tea or coffee, snacks, dessert, whatever we brought to share.
The book was Punishment by Linden MacIntyre and it gave us lots to talk about. MacIntyre has a true sense of small town, east coast life where the weather is a character. His story is woven through its Cape Breton and Ontario settings with great skill.
This long time journalist is a wonderful writer as his second novel, The Bishop’s Man, attests. It won the Giller prize, a prestigious literary award in Canada. Punishment did not disappoint either. MacIntyre’s knowledge of the prison system in this country, acquired over decades of his career in journalism and his own personal interest, make the prison portion of the novel realistic and enlightening. Sometimes though, the real criminals walk among us, unencumbered by the law.
The book was the medium for us, eight women who spoke of our experiences of the book and our own life experiences. There were funny moments too though the book covers a serious topic.
The wealth of knowledge and life experience of our group, whose ages span thirty years in the senior category, are as vast as the country we live in. We represent various parts of Canada from extremes of west to east, immigrants and islanders. We view our lives through the lenses of those experiences and we share a love of books. We have all worked in this country and understand our society and culture. We bring our family heritage and personalities to each book and meeting.
I love to read but it can be a solitary activity. Some of my favourite times with books come from sharing them with others, such as reading to my grandchildren, or discussing books at book club. Such experiences never fail to warm my heart and bring a smile.
The reading will go on but October is so far away!