Babble Book Club: New Selection -- The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

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Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
Babble Book Club: New Selection -- The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

Guess what!?!
The newest selection is in and it is a fraction of length (whew), Canadian, sport-filled, male-psyche dissecting and critically acclaimed! Did you guess it?
That's right it is: The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

Alright, I know we featured it as a rabble.ca book review, but that is just a coincidental overlap because personally, I have been dying to read this book, as I have yet to read anything by the great Lynn Coady. For those on the fence, you shouldn't be, but the rabble.ca review of the book had minimal spoilers and is worth the read! It looks to be a great commentary on male violence patterns, but rooted in fiction, an excellent integration of two very different genres.

This book is fairly new, but should be available in libraries (Canadian! if not request it, and again they should get it in) and independent bookstores for all. We will aim for completion around the end of February (solid date TBA, let me know what works for everyone, Sundays?).

Happy reading everyone!

 

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
jrose

I'm in! I've been wanting to read this one for quite a while now.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@jrose: me too! very excited!

We will get some discussion posted and going soon enough, just want to make sure everyone has access to the book first!

MegB

I've got a hold on it on our public library system ... hopefully it'll become available in time for the discussion.

Gaian

It's on hold for me at the Cambridge Library. Hockey content meant there are a couple available.

Caissa

Picked it up yesterday and read the first two chapters. Most definitely, a different read from Murakami.

Caissa

I'm a hundred pages in. Interesting twist on the one sided conversation using email. Fits into the male coming of age genre even if it is retrospective. Whe I took Can Lit in the early 80's are choices were, The Mountain and the Valley, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Who Has Seen the Wind. The genre has definitely eveolved since then.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Caissa - wow, that's awesome. I have yet to pick up the book!

I agree with you, even when I was in school it seems that we were just fed the same Canadian authors over and over again and never allowed to venture out. I lost faith in the genre and Canadian talent.

Now though, I can safely say reading Canadian authors/books is way, way up there on my list of favourites.

 

Also, for those looking in Vancouver, People's Co-op Bookstore is out of copies, but has one coming in at some point. However, there is a new Pulp Fiction Books on the Drive (!), which will hopefully stock it!

Caissa

The unnamed university appears to be UNB-Fredericton since it is the only university where you can see the St. John River outdoors and down the hill. Interesting for me since I did the last 2 years of BA there and did my B.Ed at STU which is adjacent to it. In one chapter, Coady refers to half-time of a hockey game and then later in the chapter correctly calls it the intermission. Giving the main character a sports scholarship is a tad unrealistic since we don't have sports scholarships akin to USians ones and I believe we did not have any sports scholarships at the time the university scenes were alledged to be set, early 90s.

The father and son relationship is being well explored and I hope Rank's relationship with his mother will be illuminated further in the second half of the book. 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

for those awaiting the impending discussion, apologies because I have yet to get my hands on a copy and see how it can easily be divided.

What do you all think is the best way to strategically tackle discussing the book?

The Wind Up Bird Chronicles was seemingly 'easy' because it was divided into books, although they were large sections, but would chucking a few chapters together be okay, so we don't create spoilers, or would you all perfer to just go full out in one forum?

Let me know your thoughts!

 

Also, for additional links and fun check out the facebook group if you are not all ready a member!

alex alex's picture

Cool! Looking forward to it -- I can't believe this will be the first Lynn Coady book I read :)

Caissa

I'll have it finished by Saturday at the latest. I prefer discussing it free for all. I tend to read 10-12 books a month so discussing something in sections usually I have read several books since and the book is not fresh in my mind.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@ Caissa - great! thanks for your feedback. I am not sure if we all are as quick as you (if only!), so is it okay that you are having to wait a bit after finishing the book? We have set the completion date for the end of February, so we have a ways to go. 

If we do get some discussing going before then, potentially not on the whole book, would you be game to discuss, or prefer to wait until the end?

 

@ Alex -- same! although I did bring her first book to my Christmas book exchange!

Caissa

If you discuss it in parts, you will find it is divided into 3 parts. I'm happy to discuss at any time.

Gaian

This format will work as long as we don't "do" murder mysteries with a host of suspicious characters.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Caissa - thanks for the tips! I will get those forum boards rolling probably tomorrow just so we are all on the same track. I am still awaiting my copy of the book and hopefully I can get it tomorrow.

@Gaian - hopefully it will never come to that.

Caissa

Finished it Friday evening. They mention Paris in the twenties several times so I spent Saturday reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hemingway? What a hack.

Gaian

By comparison with what writers in the 20s and 30s ? (not later and not European))

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Holster your weapon, Gaian. I was being jokey. Possibly because I'm carting off The Sun Also Rises to my class. (Utilize a little of this, brother.)

Caissa

In this book, Hemingway mentions his distrust of adjectives.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

"Damn it! If only I had quickly read your insightful post before sleepily heading to my class, Caissa, I would probably have had something useful to tell them," he said.

Caissa

I said adjectives, Catchfire, adjectives, although the redacted message is cute.Wink

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm assuming he felt the same about adverbs, and the dialogue tag was my own humble submission.

Gaian

Catchfire wrote:
Holster your weapon, Gaian. I was being jokey. Possibly because I'm carting off The Sun Also Rises to my class. (Utilize a little of this, brother.)

Read the book back in the 50s. Helped me to develop a distaste for post-modernist pap, which carries nothing by way of experience - i.e.war - in its ahistorical, relativistic, vacuous attempt at meaning. But what is it I should utilize?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I was just referring to one of my favourite exchanges in the book, when Jake and Bill go fishing.

Rather interesting that you use the "historicalness" of Hemingway as a leverage point between modernism and postmodernism, seeing as how the lack of historicity was the main point of critique against modernists like Hemingway, who, as you know, was of a generation that was content to be lost.

Gaian

Having nearly lost his privates on the Italian front. See Jock Carroll's The Life and Times of Greg Clark to see how he came to write for the Toronto Star just after the First War.The critics sometimes lack such experience with life. Loved that fishing sequence.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
The critics sometimes lack such experience with life.

One of "the critics" I'm referring to is Georg Lukacs, a Hungarian writer and philosopher who lived most of his life in exile for his beliefs. Compare him to Hemingway, who, as much as I admire his writing, was living a self-imposed exile in Paris on the pursestrings of a wealthy benefactor so he could write, booze and womanize across Europe. Let's not get carried away mythologizing Papa Hemingway.

Slumberjack

Yes Lukacs can't be denied.  Neither can Walter Benjamin for that matter.  You can't get anymore hands on than that.

Gaian

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
The critics sometimes lack such experience with life.

One of "the critics" I'm referring to is Georg Lukacs, a Hungarian writer and philosopher who lived most of his life in exile for his beliefs. Compare him to Hemingway, who, as much as I admire his writing, was living a self-imposed exile in Paris on the pursestrings of a wealthy benefactor so he could write, booze and womanize across Europe. Let's not get carried away mythologizing Papa Hemingway.

I mentiioned his writing for the Toronto Star, earlier. He also wrote for the Star as a correspondent in Europe. I have read several biographies but nary a one mentioned a "wealthy benefactor" on whom he depended for all things. Does that person have a name? And for how long was he a prostitute in that way?

Caissa

Hemingway makes many references to Toronto in  A Moveable Feast.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

He hated Toronto! So did Wyndham Lewis (who is technically a Canadian), who probably has the only character in literary history who committed suicide because he had to live in Toronto.

Anyway, George, I'm not picking a fight with you. We both dig Hemingway. Tools down. This thread is about Lynn Coady. No scrapping in a thread about hockey instigators.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Catchfire - yes! although your debate about Hemingway was interest the line "you brought a knife to a gun fight" kept ringing through my head -- I'm not sure why...

 

We'll get a new discussion board up for some excellent Lynn Coady and the Antagonist chatting so stay tuned!

Elizabeth1970

I finished The Antagonist last night after borrowing it from our public library. The book is in high demand here. It's only available on a 7 day loan and is the library's only copy...not that I needed 7 days to read it. This one caught my attention and held it and I felt more involved with the characters and plot than with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Has the discussion begun or should I hold my thoughts until further notice? I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't finished. Smile 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Elizabeth1970 I'm glad you enjoyed this pick! I'm excited to finish it and will open up another forum for everyone who is making their way through, or is already finished! That list seems to be growing!