The Library Reading Group met on 17th October to discuss, “Under a Polar Star”, by Stef Penney

“…well researched and atmospheric…”

“..I was inspired by the location, the snow, silence, dark emptiness. Shocked by the dishonesty of the explorers. The Inuit culture was surprising particularly with regard to their relationships with strangers…”

“…I enjoyed the description of the landscape and even the unsympathetic characters…leaving a question, who killed….?”

“…I enjoyed it, it kept me reading for hours…the eroticism was unexpected….did it reflect the nature of her marriage and then the challenging landscape?”

“… I don’t like time lapses and the sex scenes were unnecessarily graphic…I prefer the closed bedroom door”

“…. Harrowing reality of Inuit life… attitude to sex and death …childbirth and infant mortality, widowhood, old age …perhaps because life was/is lived on a knife edge?”

“…interesting examination of position of women at the time….central character followed through a long life….the daughter of a Victorian whaling captain grows up to be a polar explorer…far-fetched? Most Victorian lady explorers were monied. Single minded, struggles to finance, makes personal sacrifices to achieve ambition and barely acknowledges others sacrifice. Finally falls in love with an equally driven man. Character becomes more rounded during the affair…but no happy ending!”

“…complexity of all the seemingly extraneous characters actually add to the story…touches on mental illness, lesbianism and homosexuality, exploitation of Inuit culture in a particularly shocking way…”

“….too much graphic bonking…should Stef Penney have been a sex therapist rather than a novelist?”

“….love affair between central characters very moving…”

The next meeting will be on 21st November, when we will have been reading

………..A ghost story of our choice!

October 21, 2018