Book Club

Welcome to the Gowc’s new Book Club!

The main aim of the book club is for everyone to have fun and read books by authors which don’t always appear on mainstream lists. They will be by international authors and it may be that we choose different books by the same author to look at for any given month.

Next Meeting, Tuesday 15th October, 5.30pm, Galway City Library (Children’s Section). Apologies, Meeting Now CANCELLED

purple hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus is the first novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, set in postcolonial Nigeria, a country beset by political instability and economic difficulties.The central character is Kambili Achike, a member of a wealthy family dominated by her devoutly Catholic father, Eugene. Eugene is both a religious zealot and a violent figure in the Achike household, subjecting his wife Beatrice, Kambili herself, and her brother Jaja to beatings and psychological cruelty. The story is told through Kambili’s eyes and is essentially about the disintegration of her family unit and her struggle to grow to maturity.

the swallows of kabul

This month’s book is “The Swallows of Kabul” by Yasmina Khadra (Mohammed Moulessehoul).

Moulessehoul, an officer in the Algerian army, adopted his wife’s name as a pseudonym to avoid military censorship. Despite the publication of many successful novels in Algeria, Moulessehoul only revealed his true identity in 2001 after leaving the army and going into exile in France. Anonymity was the only way for him to survive and avoid censorship during the Algerian Civil War.

In a an interview Moulessehoul explains that “The West interprets the world as it likes. It develops certain theories that fit into its world outlook, but do not always represent the reality. Being a Muslim, I suggest a new perspective on Afghanistan, on religious fanaticism and what I would call religiopathy. My novel, The Swallows of Kabul, gives readers in the West a chance to understand the core of a problem that they usually only touch on the surface”.

Next Meeting, Tuesday  21st May, 6.30pm, Galway City Library. 

this is how you lose herThis month’s book “This is How You Lose Her” is by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Junot Díaz, a Dominican-American writer & creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and fiction editor at Boston Review.

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hard head whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses.

Central to Díaz’s work is the immigrant experience. Regarding his interest in the immigrant experience, Diaz has remarked: “I, as a writer, find myself trying as best as I can to describe not only the micro-culture that I grew up in, but some of what that leads to.”

Next Meeting, Tuesday 30th April, 6.30pm, Galway City Library. 

This month’s author is Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. There are a few copies of some of his books at the Library behind the desk but the one picked by current members is “The Feast of the Goat”.The novel follows three interwoven storylines. The first concerns a woman, Urania Cabral, who is back in the Dominican Republic, after a long absence, to visit her ailing father; she ends up recalling incidents from her youth and recounting a long-held secret to her aunt and cousin. The second story line focuses on the last day in Trujillo’s life from the moment he wakes up onwards, and shows us the regime’s inner circle, to which Urania’s father once belonged. The third strand depicts Trujillo’s assassins, many of whom had previously been government loyalists, as they wait for his car late that night; after the assassination, this story line shows us the assassins’ persecution. Each aspect of the book’s plot reveals a different viewpoint on the Dominican Republic’s political and social environment, past and present.

Next meeting, Tuesday 19th March, 6.30pm, Galway City Library.

Keri Hulme was born in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island. The title The Bone People draws parallels between Māori, who use bone extensively in art and tools, and the notion of the core or skeleton of a person. Published in 1984, is an unusual story of love. The differences are in the way of telling, the subject matter, and the form of love that the story writes on. This is in no way a romance; it is rather filled with violence, fear, and twisted emotions. At the story’s core, however, are three people who struggle very hard to figure out what love is and how to find it. The book is divided into two major sections, the first involving the characters interacting together, and the second half involving their individual travels. The Bone People won the Booker Prize in 1985.

chinua achebe

 Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. He is best known for his first novel “Things Fall Apart”, which is the most widely read book in modern African Literature. Achebe’s novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and Traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.

A selection of Achebe’s work is available at the Library for the next meeting on:

Tuesday 26th  February 2013 6.30pm in the Children’s Library, Augustine Street, Galway.

All welcome. For further information, please contact Trisha on 091 530590 or email

ben okriNext month’s author is Ben Okri who has risen to international acclaim and is often described as one of Africa’s leading writers. His best known work, “The Famished Road” was awarded the 1991 Booker Prize. A selection of his works is available at Galway City Library if you would like to pick a book and come to our next meeting which will be

Tuesday 15th January 2013 at 6.30pm in the Children’s Library, Augustine Street, Galway.

All welcome. For further information, please contact Trisha on 091 530590 or email


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