Association du Puits Au Chat

Reading Club

Reading Club

Burial Rites,

Hannah Kent




In northern Ireland, in 1829,

Agnes Magnúsdottir

is sentenced to

death for the murder of

her lover, Natan Ketilsson.

While waiting for the sentence

to be carried out,

Agnes Magnúsdottir is placed

underhouse arrest in Kornsá,

on the farm of the township’s

security guard, Jon Jonsson,

with his wife and their two


Horrified at the idea of housing

a criminal, the family avoids all


with Agnes, who inspires

them with both fear and


Only Totti, the young reverend

whom the murderess has

chosen as her spiritual guide to

prepare her for her impending

death, tries to understand her.

As the months go by,

forced to share the daily life,

to work side by side this frozen

and hostile land,

the farmer and his family are

gradually tamed by the

condemned woman.

Encouraged by the pastor,

Agnes tells the story of her life,

of her love for Natan, and of the

weeks that led

to the tragedy, revealing a truth

that is not necessarily the one

everyone thought they knew.

Inspired by the true story of

Agnes Magnúsdottir, the last

woman sentenced to death in

Iceland. At the Grace of Men is a

novel about the truth we think

we know and the truth we want

to believe in.


Our opinion :


A novel unanimously

appreciated by the club for

its great narrative qualities

as well as its cold and gray

atmosphere in the image

of the Icelandic climate.


Different points of view

allow us to better

understand the tragic story

of Agnes’ character,

to empathize very quickly

and finally to perceive

the positive evolution of the

host family, full of

prejudices at her arrival.


Our readers also liked the

fact that this story is

anchored in an

everyday reality.

The themes of the

condition of

women in the 19th century,

male domination and the

strong influence of the

Lutheran church

in the life of the islanders

are extremely well treated.

At the edge of the orchard,

Tracy Chevalier




In 1838, the Goodenough family

settled in the swampy lands of

the Black Swamp in Ohio. Every

winter, the fever comes to adorn

with a new cross the piece of

orchard which painstakingly

supports these apple growers.

Fifteen years and a tragedy later,

their son Robert leaves to try his

luck in the West and his sister

Martha has only one dream: to

cross America to entrust him

with a heavy secret. From the

slums of New York to the

teeming port of San Francisco,

À l’orée du verger plunges us

into the history of the

pioneers and the little-known

history of trees, from the

cultivation of apple trees to the

trade in California’s

thousand- year-old trees.


Our opinion :


Overall, we enjoyed this


A few reservations for some

readers who had difficulty

getting into the first part of

the book, which begins

with the harshness of

pioneer life, a life

endured by the mother,

hoped for by the father

who struggles to grow

apple trees in a muddy


But also the taste of apples,

the story of a transmission,

first by apple seeds, by the

great trees of

Western America,

an initiation by a botanist, a


included in the narrative,

which evolves from

letter to letter and

will allow the sister to find


An endearing book, which

makes us look at the trees

of the Jardin des Plantes

in a different way,

which teaches us about the

trade and transportation of

trees in the 19th century.

La Cucina,

Lily Prior




This novel follows the journey of

Rosa Fiore, born in the 1950s in

a small Sicilian village into a

rather strange family.


She is the seventh child after six

boys, and when she is eight,

her mother, a passionate and

sensual woman,gives birth to

Siamese twins, Guerra and Pace.

From an early age, Rosa

developed a passionfor cooking,

an activity that became a

refuge from the two tragedies

of her youth:

the sudden disappearance of her

father and the murder of her

first love, both supposed victims

of the Mafia.


We then meet Rosa again, many

years later, in Palermo,

where she has become a

librarian, leading a somewhat

dull life, but always

enlightened by the kitchen.

She then meets a mysterious

stranger, the Inglese.

A real love at first sight. For

Rosa it is the rediscovery of love,

of her body, of her sensuality…

where the pleasures of the flesh


Until the day when the man so

loved disappears in his turn

without leaving any trace…


Our opinion :


This novel has been rather well

appreciated by the readers,

probably because of its light,

picturesque and excessive

Sicilian style, tasty

and especially sensual.


The theme of the kitchen and

the explosion of the senses

has seduced a lot as well as

Rosa’s character, who is

very endearing.


Some readers did not like this



A general writing judged

globally accessible and



My absolute darling,

Gabriel Tallent


Fourteen-year-old Turtle Alveston

roams the woods of the northern

California coast with only a rifle

and a pistol for companions.

She finds refuge on the beaches

and rocky islets that she

travels for miles.

But if the outside world opens

up to her in all its vastness, her

family world is narrow and


Turtle has grown up alone,

under the thumb of a

charismatic and abusive father.

Her social life is confined to

college, and she shuns anyone

who tries to break through her

shell. Until she meets Jacob, a

joking high school student who

is both intrigued and fascinated

by her. Driven by her newfound

friendship, Turtle decides to

escape her father and embarks

on a one-way adventure that

will determine her freedom and


Our opinion :

A book that left us with an

uneasy feeling.

It describes the relationship

between an incestuous and

manipulative father and his

daughter in white America.

Some of the incestuous


are difficult to bear.

Only the strength of the

heroine keeps us going.

The atmosphere, the forest,

the birds, are wonderfully

described with a lot of poetry.

The nature is very well known

and impressive.

The writer describes the

psychological functioning of

the manipulator and

the manipulated.

The discomfort comes from

our position as voyeur in a

gloomy and heavy context.

We are caught in a duel

between fascination and


It is a book to be


but not to be put in all hands.


The reading is hard and even



a warning is necessary.

Underground Railroad, 

Colson Whitehead




Sixteen-year-old Cora is a slave

on a cotton plantation in

pre-Civil War Georgia.

Abandoned by her mother as a

child, she struggles to survive

the violence of her condition.

When Caesar, a slave recently

arrived from Virginia, offers her

to run away, she accepts and

tries, at the risk of her life, to

reach the free northern states

with him.


From South Carolina to Indiana

via Tennessee, Cora will live an

incredible odyssey. Hunted like

a beast by a ruthless slave

hunter who forces her to flee the

« miserable beating heart » of the

cities, she will do anything to

win her freedom.

Our opinion :

This book is about slavery in

the southern states of the

United States.

Some people think that the

subject has been very well and

strongly evoked by the cinema

(« Twelve years a slave » or

« Django Unchained »).

This new book is too long and

does not bring anything new.

Others find it of real historical

interest, showing the

difference in the treatment of

« slavery » according to the

different states through

which the heroine passed,

and the weight of religion.


Many of the scenes are

very harsh, with white and

black secondary characters

providing different points

of view.


In each

place reached by the

underground train, there are

encounters and deaths.

The book is well written but a

bit long on a problem that is

still relevant and resonates.


Station Eleven,

Emily St John Mandel




A devastating pandemic has

decimated the civilisation.

A troupe of actors and

musicians travels between small

communities of survivors to

perform Shakespeare for them.

This classical repertoire has

come to represent hope and

humanity in the midst of the

depopulated expanses of North


Centred on the pandemic but

spanning several decades before

and after, Station Eleven

intertwines the destinies of

several characters whose lives

were linked to that of a well-

known actor who died on stage

the day before the cataclysm

while playing King Lear.

A mysterious illustrated book,

Station Eleven, strangely

premonitory, appears as a

common link between them…

Our opinion :

It is a novel of anticipation. It is

about relearning ancestral

gestures, about groups of

people who reorganise

themselves, about life without


Opinions are divided among

the readers, although only one

person gave up reading this

novel. Interesting, catchy (the

teaming up of the theatrical

performance, the orchestra,

Shakespeare…) with the

demonstration that there is

only culture to share and

freedom of thought thanks

to this culture.


But also frustration, the stories

are overhauled, beautiful ideas

not sufficiently exploited, the

desire that things be more

developed, described.

The reading is fluid, easy and

the novel well put together.


The Bean Trees,

Barbara Kingsolver




Taylor Greer doesn’t intend to

live out her days in Kentucky,

where girls start making babies

before they learn their

multiplication tables.

The day she leaves Pittman

County in her old Volkswagen

Beetle, she is determined to

drive west until her car gives up

the ghost.

But that’s without the

Oklahoma desert where, in the

car park of a seedy bar, she

inherits a mysterious bundle: a

little Indian girl.

Our opinion :

A beautiful story that takes

us to the great sweltering

expanses of Western

America: a « Baghdad

Café » atmosphere for some.

An enjoyable novel in which

serious issues such as abuse,

war, torture, kidnapping and

migrants are addressed.


It is a book recommended

for a good moment of rather

optimistic reading.


The book of Ebenezer Le Page

G.B. Edwards




Ebenezer Le Page is a strange

misanthropic man, a misogynist

and a bad sleeper, this peasant

fisherman from the island of

Guernsey is, at heart, a great

sentimentalist. Seeing his end

approaching, he records in a

school notebook the history of

his life and that of his island,

from 1880 to 1960.

A relentless observer,

Ebenezer immerses us

in an unusual and truculent


Our opinion :

Sarnia is the old name for

Guernsey, and this book

describes the history of the

island between 1880 and



An amazing and interesting

book describing the island

atmosphere of those times

through the 1st and 2nd

World Wars, the evolution

of material and mentalities.


The author describes a

world that has disappeared,

the rural world before the



All the people who read

it were enthusiastic and

had a lot of fun reading it.


There are many characters,

it is advisable to read it

in continuity so as not

to lose the thread.

The Sex lives of Siamese Twins,

Irvine Welsh


Lucy, a narcissistic fitness

trainer, despises the fat, the

weak, the losers.

Now she finds herself

challenged to transform Lena,

the kind of girl she never

thought she’d meet. In a

decadent Florida obsessed with

the body, the two women

embark on an ambivalent and

extreme friendship that will

transform them.

Our opinion : 

A book in which no emotion,

no feeling is conveyed.


The characters are


The language is coarse.

A style perhaps deliberately

used by the author to show

society to excess?


An archetype of today’s

American society showing 2

important groups:

the obese and the people

obsessed with their

physical appearance.

A subtle game between

master and slave where

the master becomes

the slave.


The interest of this book lies

undoubtedly in the

psychology of the



2 people liked this book

a lot, 4 read it all the way

through and 3 stopped

in the middle.

Despite the very mixed

opinions, the comments

made 2 people want to read





APACh association

Passage Sophie


44130 BLAIN


1 Chemin de la Prée

44130 BLAIN

(à côté du Cinéma,

derrière le

 Centre Socio-

Culturel Tempo)