Monday, November 16, 2009

The Greengage Summer - Group Read

Bookheaper and I would like to host a group read of the Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. Simon at Stuck in a Book has expressed an interest to join too. It would be wonderful if many of you can join in whether you've read the book in the past or have yet to read it.

"On and off, all that hot French August, we made ourselves ill from eating the greengages. Joss and I felt guilty; we were still at the age when we thought being greedy was a childish fault, and this gave our guilt a tinge of hopelessness because, up to then, we had believed that as we grew older our faults would disappear, and none of them did."

The Greengage Summer (1958) is set in a French countryside hotel, where five young children are virtually left alone after their mother is suddenly taken ill. What follows is a haunting summer where the children suddenly come of age. The story is told from the point of view of the second oldest child, thirteen-year-old Cecil. From the Evening Standard, "'An exciting tale, this novel has both charm and atmosphere, and Miss Godden recaptures with an easy unsentimental naturalness the unfocused vision of adolescence."

Rumer Godden is a British writer (1908-1998) who was awarded an OBE in 1993. She has published over 60 books both for adults and children. Her stories usually touch on her childhood spent in both India and Britain. Godden's novels are characterized by rich atmospheric description and vivid portrayals of children and their innermost thoughts, confusion and childhood disappointments.

This book seems to be out of print but it's readily available in libraries and there are second hand copies from various booksellers. For those who'd like to post their thoughts and reviews on the book, please post in the first week of January.


  1. I loved that when I was a teenager, and if I can lay my hands of a copy I will join in!

  2. I will definitely join in if I can find a copy of the book!

  3. Yes indeed, I will see what I remember!

    And you mentioned on my blog that you were on the look out for more Richmal Crompton novels... I love her and have read loads. Look out for Frost at Morning, which is the easiest to find and also one of her best. Other brilliant ones are Matty and the Dearingroydes, and Narcissa.

  4. I was very excited when invited to join in this read. These are exactly the types of books that I just love to cozy up with. I am hoping a lot of our Virago followers will joing in.
    I ordered my book even as I was telling Mrs. B. to count me in. Looks like StuckInABook has several recx by the same author.
    This will be great. Thank you Mrs. B. for the invite.

  5. That's great that you're all joining the group read. I'm looking forward to reading all your reviews. I'll post a reminder before January.

  6. Hi, Mrs. B! This somewhat reminds me of Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden. McEwan's novel is a dark one though. Have you read it, by the way?

  7. My LibraryThing tags suggest that my copy of The Greengage Summer is in a box under a pile of books. I'll move things at the weekend, and if I can find it then I'm in!

  8. @Peter - Yes, I've read Cement Garden. Very dark! Greengage Summer is more a coming of age story, not creepy like the McEwan novel.

    @Fleurfisher- Hope you find that book!

  9. Thanks for the heads up on this. I finally dug out my copy today (it required shifting of boxes in a small closet, but I found it!). My copy is not so pretty as yours--an 80s edition from Perennial Library, but it will do. I may not get to it until the holidays, but I'm looking forward to it (and may end up starting sooner since I have it close at hand).

  10. @Danielle - so glad you're joining! Actually, my copy is an old hardback edition I found at a secondhand bookshop. It's in great condition though. I'll post the cover when I do my review.

  11. I've been meaning to read this for ages, and it's finally in at the library - perhaps now is the time!


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