Dinner with Anna Karenina by Gloria Goldreich
[If you're interested in reading this book, leave a comment by Friday, October 23, at midnight CST, with a way to reach you. I'll mail my copy to a random commenter.]
Dinner with Anna Karenina by Gloria Goldreich (2006) covers the lives of five women over the course of a year, a year of major changes for all of them, during which they meet regularly for book discussions.
Here's a short section from p.395:
They were silent, remembering that first meeting, the crispness of the autumn air, their pleasure at coming together in this beautiful room after the long summer hiatus, and then their pleasure was shattered, their ease destroyed, by Cynthia's words, so unexpected and devastating. Her perfect world, so beautifully and expensively constructed, so generously and carefully maintained, had mysteriously erupted, and in the aftershocks of that eruption the fragile structures of their own relationships, their own lives, had been rendered newly vulnerable.
In the rush of the changing seasons, in the books that informed their lives and haunted their dreams, they had assessed that vulnerability.
The big secret that unravels Cynthia's seemingly perfect life, while also being the catalyst for changes in others' lives, is rather underwhelming. Underwhelming and, without giving any spoilers, obvious in the book way earlier than when the secret is actually revealed. I guess Cynthia's reaction to something in her husband's life makes her human, though "spoiled" also comes to mind for this reader.
And here's something I've never noticed happening before--the synopsis on the back of the book refers to some of the characters by the wrong names. I've seen some plots majorly distorted on the backs of books, but to get a few of the central characters' names wrong? That's a new one!
Anyway, the relationships between the members of the book club and their discussions about books, including Anna Karenina, Little Women, and Reading Lolita in Tehran while also reading the original Lolita, made the book worth reading for me.
My overall personal rating of Dinner with Anna Karenina is a B-.