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The recent book club on the Pokorney show sharing book recommendations with book lovers every month. Now for this month's recent book club, we chose Scenes of a graphic nature by Caroline O'Donoghue. So what did our panel think of that book there? Joining us to talk about it today, Carol, Kevin McGoran and our newest member, Stephanie Prysner. Aubrey, welcome to the program. So we'll start with the longest established member. Claudia, what did you make of the book?


Oh, it's so entertaining part. Just to give you a brief little of the departed non spoiler history of the book. And it's Caroline Odone, whose second book and the leading character is, and Charlie Regan, who's a young woman aged 29, eking out an existence in London, trying to make it in the film production business, which is never easy, and kind of going through a bit of an existential crisis. And Mum's English dad is a very proud Kerryman who is terminally ill.


So she goes home to ASX to help look after her dad. And she's a really interesting character because she's got this sort of torn identity and never feeling, never feeling fully English, never really feeling fully Irish either has never visited here. But the catalyst of the story is that she and her best friend from college and Laura and have made a documentary about her father's backstory, which is where the book really gets interesting.


Her father is a proud Kerryman and is from a tiny island off the coast of Khairy called Kliper Fictitious Island, and clip him in 1963 had an awful tragedy where the school house burned down and 18 children were killed, including their teacher.


And Charlie's father was the sole survivor. He was only a boy at the time. And what saved him was that his mum sent a note to the school saying, send him home. I want him to do messages for me.


And it being 1963, he was sent home. Charlie and her best friend and collaborator have made a documentary about this called It Takes a Village and the very start of the story.


The documentary is selected and to be screened in the beautiful, gorgeous Driscol Art Centre in Cork, which I was delighted to see getting a name check and and they decide to travel.


Neither of them have ever visited the country before. And this is where the plot really kicks off because they think they've made a fantastic documentary and this great story. And her father was, you know, the sole survivor and she interviewed her dad. She talked to him exhaustively. When they actually see the film on screen in front of a live audience. It's risible. It's just awful. The audience.


We will pause you there, Claudia. So-called. No, no.


But we got to a certain point in the plot because obviously they do end up in Clip-On. I mean, that's inevitable, even though it's not spelt out at this point in the story. Stephanie, what did you think of the book?


I was listening to all of you there being like, oh, wow, that sounds like a great book, because I what I really relate to in the book, apart from the broader themes, was the relationship between the two girls. So you've got Charlie, who's the protagonist, let's say, and her best friend, Laura. And I just found the relationship so relatable. So they both make this short film and then Laura's career kind of takes off.


She's on her way to L.A. at the start of the book. She breaks the news to Charlie that she's gotten this job in L.A. and Charlie is kind of unemployed. She's doing a career of kind of like questionable sexual content for money on the Internet. But she's ashamed of it. So she's not telling any of her friends.


This is interesting because when I was reading this book, I did read it from cover to cover. And I was shocked by this. Here's a girl doing amateur porn. It also turns out this Charlie is gay, but she's doing, you know, this amateur porn, selling it online to the the bidders out there, men.


And then, you know, within days of getting to that point in the book, I'm hearing about only fans on Newstalk, which I hadn't heard of. I didn't realize that this was a business for young Irish women flogging images of their own bodies online.


Yeah, and I guess what I really liked about the book was, you know, it's Charlie's body. It's her prerogative if that's what she wants to earn her money. There's an argument that she's not hurting anyone. And I thought it was very I mean, to use a poor word, it was very Wolke of the book to just address like there are there are definitely versions of that story where that is the entire plotline. But this is just this side hustle that she's got going on.


It's not really dealt with in a huge way in the book. It's definitely not what the book is about.


And I think it does come in marginally later on in the book when the plot thickens fairly dramatically. But we won't do any spoilers in that regard.


I think it's also just that it speaks to her life as an artist and how, you know, on successful set, on successful she feels and because she's not making money from her art. And so that's what she has to do with the site.


All right. Kevin, what did you make of the book? I really enjoyed, as I said, as yourself, I read it from cover to cover, and I thought it explored so many different themes, stuff you're saying, like the theme of female friendship. I think it described that really well. I think when you're working in the creative industry, everyone has that one friend that you started off with in a in a flat, in a squat.


Sometimes it mayonnaise sandwiches and pot noodles. And then suddenly the other friend becomes more successful and it's nice. Suddenly it's not cool to be poor anymore. I got to explore that really well. I thought she explored the theme of how Irish deal with tragedy. Really well, we don't we tend to sweep a lot of stuff underneath the big lumpy carpet and resent anyone, usually from the media or journalists who kind of pulls back the carpet and try and find blame.


I thought it was brilliant. I thought she writes really well about just Irish identity and what it means to be Irish and how we can kind of we tend to be very territorial of our own identity.


Kind of what that's like for somebody who's half half British, half Irish a country can't be easy. Come on over here. You know, she did that. I really enjoyed it.


I liked how she I liked how initially when they arrive on the island, there's this big kaid default. You're like, welcome. And I almost like you can hear the ceilidh music playing in the background as you're reading. And then the minute she starts getting in any way inquisitive or trying to do, you know, investigative journalism, it just turns. And there's this frosty reception from the locals. I really enjoyed that element of it. Yeah, it was quite, quite frightening.


Almost, yeah.


What did you think of the sort of as the characters themselves refer to it, the Nancy Drew aspect of the book?


I don't really get the reference. Who told me.


But I mean it kind of just. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah. No it is. I think there is something that happens when you are so they're coming to this island because their film has basically fans and they're kind of embarrassed and they do sort of double down where they're like they have to justify their reason for being there. But I think she does it quite fondly and she does reference Nancy Drew. And there is a kind of like, oh, we found a button.


And I kind of laughed at those points because it is done like look at this scrap of paper, which is kind of nonsensical at times, but they're very self-aware of how ridiculous they're being, which makes it tolerable.


Yeah, I mean, there are things like the Boston Museum and which I found a bit of a stretch.


But anyway, that's that's there's a bottom path cork, though, like there are ridiculous museums or otherwise. Yeah. Something for everyone.


And the pace of the narrative to all of you. I found it was a book that was a page turner. I wanted to find out what happened.


It was a book that for me and I've I've only done this for maybe two or three books. I read it while walking.


You know, those books were like, you just want to finish. You have to go somewhere. You have to walk upstairs or you have to get the washing. But you don't want to put the book down. So you're walking while reading.


And it's very funny. Did you? I thought she was hilarious. Yeah, it is. Very, very descriptions are how she so observe.


She talks about her best friend, Laura, nor is the golden girl, you know, who's now going off to L.A. for this big Jammey job. And she says, you know, it's easy to be a friend when someone is down, but it's very hard to be a friend with someone who's a success. And she said, Laura, choosing to be friends with me. It's a bit like a little remote village being selected for the Olympics to host the Olympics.


And I just I thought her turn of phrase was priceless.


Yeah, she's very, um, I really I really like the line when she's. Yeah. Can you hear me. Yeah. Yeah. Because she she's talking about her mother quite critically. And she said my mother is the type of woman who's still very impressed by sensations. Chris, I thought that was very good. That was a great relationship, kind of waspish tension that there just there is an underlying the whole book.


There's this character, Charlie, who has an Irish father from Kleppe and an English mother and her whole quest for identity. She's like the plastic paddy who comes to the the island of Kleppe him. And she feels that some of the people are being exploited because, you know, tourists with their phones are taken picture of a SHAMOS singer and then the Shanno singer goes over, puts his arm around the tourists and the camera. The phone is turned back on them for a selfie.


So, like, who's exploiting whom? Is this the way the islanders have to make a living? And are they fake or are they genuine? It's fascinating.


I think it's work. I don't think we even know ourselves. Yeah, I think it's a culture meets capitalism. You know, I think we see it in I mean, I can't remember the last time any of us have been on holidays, but, you know, where you go abroad to to any foreign country and you see people, you know, monetizing their culture. And it's I found it interesting in the book that I've never really considered Ireland in that way.


Because I don't think about us as a tourist destination because I live here, but I think actually in the last couple of months we've seen as we've been staying at home or having our own staycation or whatever verb you want to use and thus. You know. Without tourists, our culture, it's very hard for the tourist industry to survive when all of those things disappear because people are willing to take a selfie, which I think I detect from everyone.


It's a big thumbs up for this book.


Yeah, I read it very entertaining.


All right. Well, look, it's Claudia's turn to pick the book for next month. I'll give some detailed description said later on The Gift by Edith Eager Fake Law by the secret barrister Robert Harris V2 will be talking to Robert in a few minutes time. The Flying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante and Claudia will make that selection.


But for the moment, Claudia Carol, Kevin McGoran and our newest member, Stephanie Prysner. Thank you very much for joining.


Hey, do you know what will go great with this podcast right now? A scrumptious Cadbury snack, crumbly biscuits smothered in smooth, delicious Cadbury milk. Chocolate. Oh, yeah. Cadbury snack. The perfect biscuit he buys for that lunchtime trees. Pick one up in a store today.