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NUSS Book Club: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

On 11 June, the NUSS Book Club members gathered over Zoom and had a fruitful time spent dissecting the ideas and plot of the novel. Published in 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a historical novel written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Set in 1946, the novel tells the tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, in a series of letters.

Overall, the members felt that although the book was light and readable, it was lacking in certain aspects.

Mr Chin Kok Soon opined that the novel’s epistolary style (in the form of letters) reflected the modern email in the 1946 period. He felt that although it worked in the first part when the main character, Juliet, was writing from London to Guernsey, it felt a little contrived when the group was all together in Guernsey.

Mr John Davies felt that the characters lacked depth and character development – with many that seemed too paper thin, perfect or faceless, and quickly lost interest. Mr David Goh shared that while he enjoyed the story, however with its simplicity which reminded him of children’s books, it was not serious literature.

Other members aired insights that came to them while reading the book. Dr Catherine Ang shared that the book touched on the sufferings of German soldiers, and did not portray them as evil or cruel, rather just soldiers caught up in a war they did not want to be involved in. Ms Tay Mui Hua felt that the character portrayal of Sidney Stark as a homosexual was intended to make the book more attractive and desirable to be made into a movie, as such characters seem to be the trend now.

If you enjoy diving into stories, reading novels and discussing them, do join the Book Club as they discuss their next novel – Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe on 1 October, 7pm.

Interested parties may email Jocelyn Tan at jocelyntan@nuss.org.sg to sign up.

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