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Thread: Book Club (January 2006): The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley

  1. #31
    FORT Fogey snoopy's Avatar
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    I'm finally getting my copy- I will catch up by Friday!
    Go Tigers!

  2. #32
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    I'm finally getting my copy- I will catch up by Friday!
    Great! I can almost guarantee that you'll devour it in one sitting - I REALLY had to restrain myself to stick to the reading schedule. We'll be waiting for you.

    As for what I think of Anniston Bennet, well, he scares the crap out of me. I think part of my reaction is due to what AJane acknowledged: although he is such a pivotal character, he is being played down so much that he almost strikes you as too enigmatic. Neither we nor Charles know the first thing about him or his motives, which makes his actions all the more scary. At the same time, he brings out equally frightening sides of Charles. All in all, The Man in My Basement is a really interesting character study. It poses all kinds of uncomfortable questions about the murky sides of the human psyche. How would I act if I were in Charles's situation? I'm almost afraid to answer that question. Suffice it to say that Anniston Bennet is not the kind of guy I'd feel comfortable to have in my basement, locked up or not.

    How many people have already finished the story, by the way? Since some folks haven't gotten hold of a copy yet, I suggest that those of us who want to discuss the final portion of the book use spoiler tags.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  3. #33
    From the corner of my eye Jewelsy's Avatar
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    I ordered this over three weeks ago and it still hasn't come. I'll give them a call tomorrow and find out what the hold up is.
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  4. #34
    RENThead JLuvs's Avatar
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    I have finished.
    Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.
    -Bono

  5. #35
    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    I finished a while ago.

  6. #36
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    I finally picked up a copy from the library but I'm not sure if I'll be able to catch up in time to discuss it with all of you.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  7. #37
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    I'm finished as well. lildago, it's a quick read, and we're not meant to wrap it up until the end of January, so I bet you could finish it.

    I'm in for discussing the rest of it in spoiler tags, but I guess it's safe enough to pose this actual discussion question without them: How did you feel about the ending? Surprised, disappointed, etc., etc.?
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  8. #38
    RENThead JLuvs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJane View Post
    I'm in for discussing the rest of it in spoiler tags, but I guess it's safe enough to pose this actual discussion question without them: How did you feel about the ending? Surprised, disappointed, etc., etc.?
    Click to see Spoiler:
    I was shocked that Anniston turned out to be so supremely evil. I guess I didn't have the same read on his character that most of you seemed to have. Once I found out the things he had done I wasn't shocked that he killed himself. I was dissapointed that Charles didn't seem to change as much as I hoped he would. Yes he did settle down and not totally let go of his history. But I don't think that he ever really understood his history or changes his stance on the way he lived his life. So I think that my repsonse to the book is a mixture of feelings.
    Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.
    -Bono

  9. #39
    RENThead JLuvs's Avatar
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    So does anyone else have any thoughts?
    Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.
    -Bono

  10. #40
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Just a few brief thoughts on the ending since I'm off to uni in a bit:

    Click to see Spoiler:
    I wouldn't say that the ending shocked me; in fact, I was expecting at least one death, given how both Charles's and Bennet's characters had taken a turn for the worse over the course of the imprisonment. For a while, I actually feared that Charles would kill Bennet - or the other way around. Bennet's suicide made sense in context of the horrible things he's done and though tragic, in a strange way it made me think more of him since he finally became somewhat in touch with his emotions. But then again, I was pretty convinced from the beginning that he wasn't going to get out of his "prison" alive.

    I agree with JLuvs that Charles's lack of personal growth disappointed me a bit. But then again, his opening the museum seems to indicate that he has in fact embraced some of his cultural and historical background. I was sorry to see him break up with Narciss, though: for some reason, I thought maybe she could rescue him.

    What do you think of the fact that Charles didn't fulfil Bennet's last wish (sending his letters), by the way? Was it the right decision? A cowardly one? What would you have done?

    It is interesting that Mosley himself describes The Man in My Basement as a novel of ideas and compares it to Camus' The Stranger. I thought the same thing at some point in the novel. Both novels deal with emotionally unattached, not particularly likeable characters struggling with moral dilemmas. Charles is much more likeable than Mersault, though. (Do read The Stranger if you haven't; it's a wonderful book.)
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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