It happened when Sham's choice The Secret life Of Bees came up. It happened Tuesday night when it was the groups turn to discuss my choice Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which I had thoroughly enjoyed ... and Fiction&Friends ... apparently did not greatly care for.
The following work of fiction was posted on our e-group by our (up that that point) solitary male, our thorn among roses, Krishna Kumar:
In the dimly lit, smoky lounge, 2 women clinked their margarita glasses as jazz music played softly in the background.*Hot Babe to be played in the film version by Ms. Fishlips Jolie, no doubt.
"Cheers,darling!" said Sharon.
"To another successful mission accomplished," said Sham, her petite companion.
"Can't wait to hear what they thought of the book."
"Must be ripping it to shreds by now."
"And ripping into me, I shouldn't wonder. Told Krishna I have a do at the British Council. Wonder if he bought it."
"Oh! I'm sure he did. He thinks I'm in Kuantan. A bit gullible that one."
"What is taking that woman so long?" said Sharon with mild irritation.
"Relax. You know.We could have just gone for the book meet and spared ourselves all this suspense."
"Don't you start! Whose brilliant idea was this in the first place? 'Oh Sharon! Let's recommend a book we're sure everyone will hate then not show up but send a spy who reports back everything that was said!' Whose devious brain did this spring from?You started it with the Bee book and I thought I'd get into the act for fun."
"Guilty!" admitted Sham with a sheepish grin.
"Oh! There she is!" said Sharon as Sham turned to see the attractive woman with a traffic-stopping figure* enter the bar, scan the room and then head straight for their table.
"Must have got them fixed," thought Sham glancing at her breasts which were just a tad big in relation to the rest of her.
Hot Babe kissed Sharon and Sham, pulled up a chair and fixed the 2 women with a mega wattage grin. The wattage did not dim when she turned to the waiter and ordered her drink,ensuring its arrival in half the time it would normally take getting to the other patrons.
"Ok girl spill it! We've waited long enough!" said Sharon.
"Aww! Can't I have my drink first?" said Hot Babe who had a voice made to induce erections, but for obvious reasons, had no effect on the impatient women.
"No! You can bloody well start while the waiter with a partial hard-on brings your bloody drink and hope he doesn't drool into it!" said Sharon, visibly annoyed now.
"Chill,sweetie. Ok, here goes. For starters, as you suspected, most of them thought the book sucked."
"HaHa!As expected!" said Sharon triumphantly as she and Sham toasted for the second time joined by Hot Babe a second later, her glass of Long Island Drool clinking the margaritas pleasantly.
"How close were you?"asked Sham.
"At the next table enough to hear most everything," said the babe and then proceeded to pull a notebook from her handbag and started reading:
"Well,Sandra did a good job leading although it was a bit of a chore getting this group to pipe down. Very loud and boisterous with frequent interruptions,especially from the guy."
"Oh, Krishna?" asked Sharon.
"Yeah,pompous windbag who's obviously got an ongoing love affair with the sound of his voice. Sandra had to tell him to shut up at one point."
"Told you we should have kicked him out,Sharon," said Sham.
"He's the only guy we have, darling. And the only one who shows up regularly."
"Well, you may have an alternative. Joanne showed up with her husband.Pleasant, erudite and well spoken chap."
"You're digressing darling, get on with it," said Sharon.
"Sorry,well anyway, Sandra gave some background on Kazuo Ishiguro, his previous books, how they've all been nominated or won some prize or the other but having finished the book she wonders what the fuss is all about. She made an interesting point: There's a seed for a very gripping tale in this book which never comes to fruition. Windbag added that in the hands of a better writer,this tale of students in a boarding school who find out they are clones bred for the purpose of harvesting their organs could have been so much more riveting.Both Muntaj and Sandra agreed that the pace was excruciatingly slow. A major gripe for a lot of people especially
Sandra, Jessica, Uma and Krishna was the passivity of these people. Why doesn't anyone rebel against their fate? Why are they so accepting of the fact that their very purpose of existence was to donate their organs and then die?There followed some comparisons then to the movie "The Island" where a group clones bred in isolation discover their true purpose and 2 of them rebel against the system and how that was a more natural thing given the strong survival instinct inherent in most people."
"The Island huh? That must have come from Krishna.Typical of him to compare a literary work to a brainless Hollywood Blockbuster!" scoffed Sharon.
"Anyway, an interesting insight was given by Joanne and husband,both of whom loved the book: It's a type of Post Modern fiction that doesn't confirm to the linear style of storytelling with a beginning, middle and end.It's a mood piece meant to evoke a feeling, a feeling of helplessness on the part of the reader which could then prompt said reader to question the unsavoury things in his or her own lives which they accept: Bad jobs,relationships,traffic jams, corruption, police brutality, things we know are implicitly wrong but still accept with a passive air of resignation."
"Interesting! Must ask him to come for future meets".
"And then Jessica and Krishna argued that we WILL rebel if there is a direct threat to our own existence, we would fight if we knew our lives or the lives of our loved ones were at stake. As long as things like corruption and bad jobs don't threaten our lives,we'll put up with it. Animah then countered with a point that there ARE people who put up with threats to their lives like illegal immigrants who are frequently harassed and extorted but don't fight back out of fear that they will be deported or killed in a foreign land whose laws they know little about."
"What else?" asked Sham.
"Let's see," said Hot babe turning her pages and scanning them," The characters left most of them cold except Fiona who identified with the narrator and Joanne's husband who could relate to the boarding school environment,having been in one himself ... Animah made a point that she assumed the writing was simplistic, almost childlike as Ishiguro wanted to show the naivety of the narrator, her innocence but expected the writing to mature as the protagonists discover their true fate but somehow the prose never rises above its basic simplicity. Joanne countered the argument that the writing was simplistic by saying that it was a deliberate attempt by Ishiguro to write about something that was truly appalling in a matter-of-fact way, thereby making it even more chilling. Alina was still half way through but likes it so far."
"This lot may put her off finishing it" mused Sharon.
"Sarab and Uma didn't like it as well, wondering what the fuss was about. But Uma said this was still better than the Secret Life Of Bees."
A visible sigh from Sham at this point.
"Oh! One last thing, everyone unanimously agrees you owe a round of margaritas to all, Sharon, as the book didn't walk away with the Booker as you predicted. And Sandra reckons the margaritas better come in jugs on account of the book itself and its failure to engage her in any way," Hot Babe said, getting up.
"Thanks darling, fancy coming to our next reading?" asked Sharon.
Turning on the mega watt smile yet again, Hot Babe replied,"Sorry darling too busy to sit around yakking about books," blew both the ladies a kiss and sailed out of the bar. "Yes, being a tart is a full time occupation," retorted Sharon to the retreating form.
Sham, with a wicked gleam in her eye asked, "So,what do you think girl? Should we pull this stunt again?"
"Let's discuss this over another round of margaritas darling."