Friday, November 25, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 4

I have to be honest, this book was just okay for me.  There were moments when it was really good, and other moments where I was skimming and my head/heart wasn't in it.

I liked the timeframe and I liked the characters of Emma, Frankie, Harry and Otto.  Iris, not so much.  I liked the reporting of Frankie and her time spent on the trains.  All of the Cape scenes were pretty blah for me.

1. Seek Truth. Report it. Minimize Harm. That is the journalist’s code. And it haunts Frankie during the book. Why wasn’t Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For someone whose job was to deliver the news, did she fail?

2. After Thomas tells his story of escape, the old woman in the train compartment says “There was God looking out for you at every turn.” Thomas disagrees. “People looked out. Not God.” He adds, “There is no God. Only us.” How does THE POSTMISTRESS raise the questions of faith in wartime? How does this connect to the decisions Iris and Frankie make with regard to Emma?

3. Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he’s Jewish? Do you think he’s right not to do so?

4. Discuss the significance of the Martha Gellhorn quote at the beginning of the book, “War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever.” What stance towards war, and of telling a war story does this reveal? How does it inform your reading of The Postmistress?

5. “Get in. Get the story. Get out.” That is Murrow’s charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it’s possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

What was your overall feeling of the book? Are you planning on joining us in December?

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