It's been quite a while since El Jefe reported: work, Barcelona, San Francisco, kids, life, the Fall Festival, New York--all of that waylaid El Jefe's best laid plans to write the recap. But, as not one has been missed in 9 years, we're not starting now (in fact, El Jefe currently is writing this post from 15,000 feet above Albuquerque, New Mexico--now that's dedication!). So, to the best of El Jefe's recollection, we started out with a cheese and charcuterie platter, garnished with some sort of figgy or pineappley jam that was decidedly delish with the goat cheese, followed by a hearty beef stew, perfect for fall, and a green salad, and... wait... why can't El Jefe remember what was for dessert?
We then moved on to a discussion of The 19th Wife. It would be an utterly unrealistic strain on El Jefe's memory to try and recount this book's rating to the decimal point, but suffice it to say that it was fairly well received with no passionate votes for or against (after all, without La Mademoiselle, the chances for a 0 or 10 have gone way down). So let's call it 6.5. The 19th Wife was a fast and entertaining read, melding historic fiction and non-fiction about the life of Ann Eliza Young, the so-called 19th wife of Brigham Young (second prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) with a murder mystery set in current day fundamentalist LDS-land. Probably the most interesting part of this book was the way that the author switched styles between the various chapters, convincingly imitating an early 19th century editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle or the text of a Wikipedia posting. While some of our group wrote this book off as "Under the Banner of Heaven-lite," most found it to be sufficiently different and didn't mind a second opportunity to excoriate the LDS institution for first sanctioning, and later attempting to cover up, the deplorable treatment of women in the early days of the church. Still difficult for El Jefe to understand how this new religion managed to get started within relatively recent history and people actually went for it. It's one thing to pass down the stories of Moses parting the Red Sea from generation to generation as part of a tradition stretching back more than 2,000 years. It's another for a regular guy from Vermont to come along in 1830 and claim that he had discovered golden tablets inscribed with the divine truth (but that no one else could see). Int, very int.
Ann Eliza Young
Our November meeting is this Sunday, November 13th at Red's house in the 'Dena. Note the new Sunday start time: 5.30. The Highlander is on dessert, and please volunteer if you're able to bring apps. The book we will be discussing is A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer, Egan, which, ahem, hopefully everyone has already finished by now or is close to it.