Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the group were not huge fans of Nightwoods, we still managed to have a lively discussion about the novel’s colorful and damaged yet resilient characters.
- We liked Luce and found her to be a strong female character. We admired her patience and perseverance in engaging Frank and Delores after their traumatic experience. The children needed her as much as she needed them in order to come out of their respective isolation.
- We also liked Stubblefield (though we didn’t like that he lacked a first name) and thought he was a good match for Luce and the children with his quiet, unassuming manner. We were all trying to figure out who would play him in the movie version!
- We, of course, despised Bud and though his ending in the book is intentionally vague, we hoped that he didn’t make it out of the woods. His narcissism and selfishness made him a character with little redeeming qualities. In fact there were several characters in the book who were hard to have sympathy for (Lola and Lit).
- We discussed how the woods themselves served as another major character in the book.
The writing style and plot:
- Frazier is a beautiful writer but many in the group found that the story was just not engaging enough to draw them back in after putting it down for a bit.
- One of the group members commented on Frazier’s cynical voice – especially seen in the character of Bud, “What a great idea democracy is, where every fool who can’t get out of jury duty gets to have his opinion counted.”
- The last few chapters of the book were highly suspenseful and we all found the ending to be hopeful.
In summary, only a few in our group would recommend Nightwoods. Though we found many discussion points and had fun trying to cast the movie version, no one was particularly passionate about the book as a whole.
On June 10 at 11 a.m. we will be discussing the non-fiction book Quiet by Susan Cain. Hope to see you then!