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Old 03-05-2018, 09:00 PM   #153
bfisher
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
On Irene, there was an interesting reference in the book to her wanting Brian to be happy, but in her way. It seemed she thought she knew best about every aspect of their lives, which must have put pressure on the relationship.

I think there are ambiguities all the way through, quite deliberately. Was Brian having an affair with Clare? Irene suspected it, but there was no proof. Did Irene push Clare because she feared that suspected relationship with her husband? And then there is the undercurrent of sexual ambiguity too, an attraction and tension between the two women.
Yes, I liked the way the author gradually reveals Irene's nature, until we are explicitly told near the end of the book that "to her, security was the most important and desired thing in life. Not for any of the others, or for all of them, would she exchange it. She wanted only to be tranquil. Only, unmolested, to be allowed to direct for their own best good the lives of her sons and her husband."

I also found the ambiguities to be a major charm of the book.

I was interested in the glimpse the book gave of an African-American bourgeoisie, making a space for itself in the Jazz Age. I was intrigued by some of the references, like Idlewild. I have been meaning to read Margo Jefferson's Negroland for a while now. I think I want to move that up in my reading queue.
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