Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celine Kiernan meets Bailieborough Book Club

For over two years now I've been running a monthly book club in Bailieborough Library in Co. Cavan. As a club we've read a wide variety of books and have always enjoyed interesting and lively discussions of those titles.
Yesterdays meeting was no exception. It was however different and more exciting than those previous meetings since we had the opportunity to discuss the book we had read, "The Poison Throne", with its author, Celine Kiernan
The Poison Throne is the first book in The Moorhawke Trilogy which meant that my book club members came up with a few questions that really couldn't be answered by the author without spoiling the storylines of "The Crowded Shadows" and "The Rebel Prince". That didn't stop the conversation from flowing effortlessly though. There was a lot of curiosity about the setting of the book, the reasoning behind the talking cats and ghosts and the horrors of torture. As Celine pointed out, all of these had an important function in the book, either to show how much the once tolerant kingdom had changed or to illustrate that in a violent situation there is no such thing as pure good or pure bad characters. 
That in fact is one of the things I most admired in this trilogy; the way in which it realistically shows that when faced with danger, violence or war everybody has to make choices and decisions they wouldn't even consider under peaceful circumstances.
As always the talk did stray away from the book under discussion at times, and we found ourselves talking about the merits of a good story as opposed to books that just seem to want to impress with words, and originality versus formulaic stories. The merits of authors such as Beckett, Joyce on one side and Nora Roberts and James Patterson on the other crossed the table. 
What was supposed to be a one hour long meeting effortlessly stretched out and when, after about 1 1/2 hours I did had to end the event it really was a shame. I think we could easily have talked on for the rest of the afternoon.
Celine & Me
I feel that this was a wonderful opportunity and experience for the book club. You rarely get a chance to find out what an author really set out to do when they wrote a story, where the idea came from and what may be coming next. And, what may be coming in the future is what excites me most personally. Celine let slip that she's tempted to write a prequel to the Trilogy at some point. At the moment she's working on other, unrelated, books, but I really hope that she will write the story of Jonathan and Lorcan. And when she does you can be sure that I will be one of the first to post a review of the book, right here.
I can't thank Celine Kiernan enough for taking the time to meet with us and give us such a fascinating afternoon. I can only hope it was as satisfying an occasion for her as it was for us.
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to Kay Curley for bringing in the lovely homemade cake. I only wish I had thought to take a picture of it.

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