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OT:First BE Bookclub Discussion Thread - Last Days

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  1. About two weeks ago, a few of us in the Junk Drawer decided to start the first unofficial Blazersedge bookclub. The first book that was read by the bookclub was Last Days by Brian Evenson. If you read any further in this thread, this book will have been SPOILED for you. You have been warned. But anybody who reads the book is welcome to contribute to the conversation. If you like the idea of taking part in the bookclub's next book discussion, it will be “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami. More information to follow. Each person who reads the book should feel free to post what you felt about reading this and what the experience was like for you. If you want to dig deeper, go ahead. I've made a few simple questions that could be used to get people started. If other people have points and questions, just bring them up. Then we can discuss with one another to understand each of our points and see what kind of conversation happens. And please try and keep it civil (the person I'm referring to knows I'm talking to them).
  2. Evenson clearly minimizes the details he provides in this book. Nil information outside the scope of the story is included and information that might have been included in the story was even left out. The characters are flat, and the scenes are void of details. The Introduction describes some of the dialog as "knockabout minimalist ping-pong". Even the disturbing imagery of mutilations and amputations are told in a straight-to-the-point manner with almost nothing embellished. How would you characterize the effect that this minimization of detail had on your experience reading Last Days?
  3. The story beings with Kline as a man less than himself and not even interested in leaving his bed most of the time. But he was hopeful enough to think that things were bound to improve. is thrust through an increasing impossible series of feats on the way through his eventual masscre of both "cults". During this ending, he wonders at first if he can possibly come out of this still human. At the end, he's just running and wondering 'What Next?' Is there any point at which Evenson gives you a thought or a detail about Kline to make you identify with this transformation he experiences? Is there any way to relate to Kline as a character or his experiences to your life? Explain how your answer affected the way your understood the point of the book.
  4. One of the repeated images we are greeted by is that of a locked door and needing to be allowed entrance into (and often out of) places. Not only do we see this in both of the "cult strongholds" but Kline even has to deal with this at his own home when returning without his keys. There were even other less literal and yet less subtle ways in which access to more required a specific process for admittance (i.e., access to the knowledge Kline). The rigidness of ritual in the order highlights this, but Evenson makes a deliberate choice to continue to put human barriers between each next step that Kline will do. Discuss how effective this theme was in drawing you towards what you believe Evenson's aim was in writing it.
  5. Did you imply any reason from Evenson as to why Kline couldn't keep from "embellishing" himself further into the "investigation". Despite always being clearly interested in ending it, he continually re-engages and finds himself needing to dig further. How did this read to you? Did it feel like merely part of the necessity of moving plot or did you take something else from trying to understand why Kline behaved the way he did throughout this story?
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