Report on Book Group Meeting - Meeting, Monday, 14 October 2019

Our group met last night to discuss Elizabeth's Macneil's debut novel "The Doll Factory".  As is usual with a book, which some members loved and others hated and struggled to finish, the comments and scores were varied.  I think that everyone agreed that the portrayal of the lives of Victorian lower-class citizens was described realistically and the inclusion of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of artists added an extra interest.  However, many of us disliked the gruesome descriptions of the deaths of the animals which ended up in the taxidermist's shop.  We acknowledged that the Victorians loved the art of taxidermy but could not understand why the inclusion of such detailed descriptions of the ways in which the animals met their ends and were subsequently prepared for display were necessary to the plot unless, of course, this was a hint at the fate which awaited the novel's heroine, Iris.

Some members thought that the way in which the plot revolved round Iris and Silas, and his obsession with her, showed a deep insight into the phenomenum of stalking and the fantasy world in which many stalkers live.  Comments ranged from "intriguing if a little weird" to "compelling", "a great read", "gruesome" and "awful" and the scores ranged between 2 and 9 with an overall average of 5½.

Next month we shall meet to discuss "Three Things About Elsie" by Joanna Cannon.

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