Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Reading Recommendations > Book Clubs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-09-2016, 11:31 AM   #1
sun surfer
sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
sun surfer's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,035
Karma: 38364992
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: somewhere beyond the sea
Device: kindle voyage
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen




This is the MR Literary Club selection for December 2016. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?
sun surfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Advert
Old 12-09-2016, 01:50 PM   #2
bfisher
Wizard
bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 1,376
Karma: 18692196
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ottawa Canada
Device: Sony PRS-T3, Galaxy (Aldiko, Kobo app)
One of the things that struck me about this story is how economical the writer was with her prose. In the first two brief sections "Two Ladies of Berlevaag" and "Martine's Lover" (6 pages on my reader) there are at least 12 references to the notion of seeing/illusion/looking/appearance/vision/dream, which to me is the dominant theme of this story.
bfisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2016, 06:59 AM   #3
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,934
Karma: 84834291
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: iPad Mini, Kobo Touch
What an interesting observation bfisher. I think I shall reread the story with your comment in mind.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2016, 08:31 PM   #4
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,934
Karma: 84834291
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: iPad Mini, Kobo Touch
Okay, I have just reread the story, and enjoyed it all over again.

For me, it is about living and enjoying this life that we have, as opposed to denying oneself "the pleasures of this world". Most importantly, it is about the need for the artist to express him- or herself: "Give me leave to do my utmost!"

We are left to imagine the pain of Babette's great gift being reduced to cooking split cod and ale and bread soup, and her need to recollect the past when she sat in the kitchen with what was obviously her recipe book.

And I loved the symmetry of the last paragraph of the story with the ending of the letter from Achille Papin.

It is a beautifully subtle story and I can recommend reading it more than once.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2016, 09:53 PM   #5
bfisher
Wizard
bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 1,376
Karma: 18692196
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ottawa Canada
Device: Sony PRS-T3, Galaxy (Aldiko, Kobo app)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
And I loved the symmetry of the last paragraph of the story with the ending of the letter from Achille Papin.

It is a beautifully subtle story and I can recommend reading it more than once.
Yes, it was a lovely way to end the story by Philippa echoing her would-be lover Achille Papin.

There is a similiar echo by the older Gen Loewenhielm of Martine's father:

The first time that the young Lt. Loewenhielm sees Martine:
“He was amazed and shocked by the fact that he could find nothing at all to say, and no inspiration in the glass of water before him. ‘Mercy and Truth, dear brethren, have met together,’ said the Dean. ‘Righteousness and Bliss have kissed one another.’”


At the end of the feast, the aged General Loewenhielm, drunk as a lord on the finest wines, and speaking to an equally drunken audience, says:
“‘For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss have kissed one another!’
The Brothers and Sisters had not altogether understood the General’s speech, but his collected and inspired face and the sound of well-known and cherished words had seized and moved all hearts. In this way, after thirty-one years, General Loewenhielm succeeded in dominating the conversation at the Dean’s dinner table.”
bfisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Advert
Old 12-11-2016, 04:43 PM   #6
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,934
Karma: 84834291
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: iPad Mini, Kobo Touch
Ah, I hadn't picked up on that, though of course I recognised that the speech was using the sect's terminology.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2016, 06:26 AM   #7
BenG
Home Guard
BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
BenG's Avatar
 
Posts: 4,448
Karma: 82555554
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Miskatonic U
Device: Kindle Oasis 3G, iPhone 6
The relevant scripture is Psalm 85.
BenG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2016, 07:48 AM   #8
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,934
Karma: 84834291
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: iPad Mini, Kobo Touch
Thanks BenG.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2016, 01:09 PM   #9
bfisher
Wizard
bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 1,376
Karma: 18692196
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ottawa Canada
Device: Sony PRS-T3, Galaxy (Aldiko, Kobo app)
I liked the play on miracles.

At the beginning of the feast there is a specific reference to the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performs his first miracle by turning water into wine:
“They were sitting down to a meal, well, so had people done at the wedding of Cana. And grace has chosen to manifest itself there, in the very wine, as fully as anywhere.”

Then, the ante is upped by describing an act of the Dean - walking over ice to a fishing village. This suggests another of the well-known New Testament miracles, Jesus walking on water to the fisherman-disciples.
“A Sister on the other side of the table opened on the subject of strange happenings which had taken place while the Dean was still amongst his children, and which one might venture to call miracles.”

Then the Dean's disciples perform a reverse miracle at Cana - they transform wine into water:
“This time the Brothers and Sisters knew that what they were given to drink was not wine, for it sparkled. It must be some kind of lemonade. The lemonade agreed with their exalted state of mind and seemed to lift them off the ground, into a higher and purer sphere.”

Adding to the irony, we have already been told several times that the Dean's disciples were proud of their ability to separate illusion from reality.
bfisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2016, 05:23 PM   #10
AnotherCat
Me
AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 921
Karma: 8661606
Join Date: May 2012
Device: Anything
I sat down and read this story last night. To start off I am not a fan of short stories and have not read one for decades. However, I appreciate being pointed to this one, even if I don't read another for decades more :-).

I won't say much about the meanings I drew from it as I think like any story that is not explicit one can read many things into it and those in different ways. As far as this short story is concerned one could probably write a longer account of what meanings there are, or could be, in it than the story itself is long. And it could become book length, or at least novelette length :-), if one incorporated the interpretations of meaning of several readers.

For example, with respect to bfisher's wine into water comment regarding the passage

This time the Brothers and Sisters knew that what they were given to drink was not wine, for it sparkled. It must be some kind of lemonade. The lemonade agreed with their exalted state of mind and seemed to lift them off the ground, into a higher and purer sphere.

I wondered about wine into water but in the end I thought for my own selfish pleasure that what they were drinking was perhaps ("perhaps" because who knows what it was, it is not stated) champagne brought from France with Babbette's other food goodies. It would agree with my own selfish reading of with their exalted state of mind and seemed to lift them off the ground, into a higher and purer sphere as inferring that they were already getting a bit tipsy with exalted state of mind and floating (floating often attributed as being a champagne drinker's symptom). I say inferring because I can think of other interpretations not yet said.

Not trying to disagree with anyone here, just claiming that there is much room for one to make ones own interpretations and reinterpretations of meaning, and one interpretation can be as good as another. For some readers that is fine, but for me I often have a sneaking feeling that the author may just as well have outlined the plot and then said make up your own story within that giving it the meaning you want. Nasty piece of work aren't I , and I have to say I do make my own stories in my own head and can guarantee that they carry the exact meaning that I want, am just poor on plots :-) .

The tone of the story struck me as having a Scandinavian tint beyond just the mention of the geography. I found some sentences read as statements, sometimes almost perfunctory but I would not like to decide for myself if this was on purpose to contribute to the tone of the prose or whether it was a characteristic of the author's first language not being English (I am assuming Danish was her first, and I would not compare her abilities to the likes of Conrad who wrote in his second language, for example).

But sentences seeming to be statement like, almost perfunctory, did strike me as being perhaps inherited from her Scandinavian background (I have spent time in Denmark and Sweden, worked with a lot of Scandinavians, and also as close friends; also one of my grandfathers was half Norwegian and I think he inherited some of the same).

Thanks for the pointer to the story, it was worth a read and proved to be a very pleasant interlude and counter to my current dismal reading of another biography of that nasty natured man Karl Marx.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 12-12-2016 at 05:27 PM.
AnotherCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2016, 09:25 AM   #11
BenG
Home Guard
BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
BenG's Avatar
 
Posts: 4,448
Karma: 82555554
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Miskatonic U
Device: Kindle Oasis 3G, iPhone 6
Yes, they had no experience with champagne and thought it must be some sort of lemonade. I don't think bfisher was saying that the wine literally turned into water.

The real miracle was that the feast and the camaraderie, which was sinful to their way of thinking, made them into better people, at least for a while.
BenG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2016, 11:23 PM   #12
AnotherCat
Me
AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.AnotherCat ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 921
Karma: 8661606
Join Date: May 2012
Device: Anything
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenG View Post
...I don't think bfisher was saying that the wine literally turned into water...
I do not believe they did either and I did not mean to infer otherwise, bfisher is too classy to have done so . The same applied to my own consideration I did not look at it literally in my own mental meanderings and gymnastics when I read the paragraph in the book.

The closest I got to a watery alternative was perhaps the "lemonade" was carbonated water and their exalted state just due to the excitement of the circumstances (like hyped up kids). But I liked the idea that the sect members were actually squiffy and likely soon to be calling out automobile names, BUICKs in particular (one might have to think of seasick sailors to understand that) .
AnotherCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2016, 11:28 AM   #13
bfisher
Wizard
bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.bfisher ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 1,376
Karma: 18692196
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ottawa Canada
Device: Sony PRS-T3, Galaxy (Aldiko, Kobo app)
I think most of the diners were probably quite drunk by the end of the evening. When the party broke up, they could hardly walk home: "The guests from the yellow house wavered on their feet, staggered, sat down abruptly or fell forward on their knees and hands and were covered with snow"
bfisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2016, 02:51 PM   #14
fantasyfan
Wizard
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,097
Karma: 18725818
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
Post

I absolutely loved this book. As well as dealing with a number of transcendental themes such as the nature of spirituality, love, art, and life-goals, there were also some gently humorous moments such as Martine's first view of the turtle.

" . . . when set down on the kitchen floor it suddenly shot out a snake-like head . . . Martine had . . . as a child owned a pet tortoise, but this thing was monstrous in size and terrible to behold. She backed out of the kitchen without a word."

Earlier she sees what appears to be (horror) wine. When she queries Babette, this is the response: is

"Wine, Madame! . . . No Madame. It is a Clos Vougeot 1846! . . . From Philippe, in Rue Montorguel."

"Martine had never suspected that wines could have names to them, and was put to silence."

But I believe the book has a deep message about spirituality. The father of the sisters trained his flock that spiritual power was linked to austerity. But Babette creates a world of the spirit through the art of a feast.

"Taciturn old people received the gift of tongues; ears that for years had been almost deaf were opened to it. Time itself had merged into eternity. Long after midnight the windows of the house shone like gold, and golden song flowed out into the winter air."

And again:

"The vain illusions of this earth has dissolved before their eyes like smoke, and they had seen the universe as it really is. They had been given one hour of the millennium."

All of this is tied to the calling of the great artist. It is they who share their vision through their gift. Babette has no more money: she has spent it all to share her transcendent power. But she is not poor.

"No, I shall never be poor. I told you that I am a great artist. A great artist, Mesdames, is never poor. We have something, Mesdames, of which other people know nothing."

Much more can be said. I've only scratched the surface of this beautiful story, but I would also recommend the utterly exquisite Danish film from 1987 which does full justice to the book. It, too, should not be missed.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 12-14-2016 at 02:57 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2016, 04:26 PM   #15
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,934
Karma: 84834291
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: iPad Mini, Kobo Touch
Great review fantasyfan.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Other Fiction Behrend, Alice: Die Bräutigame der Babette Bomberling. (german) V1. 16 Jan 2013 Frodok ePub Books 0 01-16-2013 01:49 PM
Which version of A Moveable Feast? 6charlong Reading Recommendations 1 06-06-2011 08:17 PM
New Year's Feast tubemonkey Lounge 42 01-02-2011 09:45 AM
Highland Feast (free epub) jgray Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 2 11-01-2010 04:56 AM
Hi-res e-paper is a feast your eyes Colin Dunstan News 3 12-22-2004 05:43 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:19 PM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.