Updated, 2 p.m. April 15:

The seventh meeting of Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club took place earlier this afternoon, with a far-ranging and enjoyable discussion of Kathleen Rooney’s novel “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” that encompassed light verse, electroshock therapy, the idea of the “flaneur,” and the poignancy of reading a book about freely strolling around a city today. Scroll to the comments section at the bottom of the page to read the full discussion; here are a few excerpts:

In the 1920s, women had some professional opportunities that had previously been denied them; many of those women found fewer opportunities in the 1930s. During the 1940s, women held jobs that were traditionally male jobs, but were forced out of them after WWII. So notions about what’s appropriate for women remain with us — and remained with Lillian all her life, even if not explicitly stated. I think she struggled so hard to maintain a sense of herself that it took a high toll on her. I can relate to her depression, though mine was never as severe as hers. That the author chose to include it in the book as a part of Lillian’s life just added to the portrait of a courageous, talented and determined woman for me. user851374

I loved Lillian! So many little one-liners, wry observations of aging: “The insouciance of youth doesn’t stay, but shades into “eccentricity,” as people say when they are trying to be kind, until finally you become just another lonely crackpot. But I’ve always been this way. The strangeness just used to seem more fashionable, probably.” — Sherri Caldwell

The description of this book didn’t grab me. I’m 80 yo. I loved every wonderful word of it. The glowing wit and intelligence are superb. Thanks for introducing me to a tome I would’ve given a pass! — Judith White Hughes

I really enjoyed experiencing her NYC life – during such an interesting time. The perspective of her late-in-life New Year’s Eve (1984) was particular relevant to me, as I moved to NY then, I had my first NYC party experience on that same night. I was just jumping into my NYC life phase, she was closing hers. Somehow this captured the complexity and infinite richness of all those lives, lived against the backdrop of this city.user 14879712387306

I was able to check out from KCLS the audiobook as well as the print version. I love to read, but absolutely love to listen to books, especially when working around the house or in the yard. The narration is excellent, and at the end of the audiobook, there is a bonus author interview conducted by the narrator who (at least in 2017) mentions she is a Seattle resident — Xe Sands. She has a lovely way of reading Kathleen Rooney’s prose, and discusses how she developed her cadence to speak as Lillian.JackieO

From earlier:

The voters have spoken! The next selection for Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club will be “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” by Kathleen Rooney. A national bestseller following its 2017 publication, the novel follows an 85-year-old woman as she strolls around 1984 Manhattan, looking back on her eventful life — which included a stint as the most highly paid advertising woman in America. (The book was inspired by the real-life copywriter and poet Margaret Fishback, who worked in advertising at Macy’s in the 1930s.)

Please bookmark this page and join us here to discuss the novel at noon on Wednesday, April 15. (And, if you need to buy the book and want to support a local small business, here’s a list of indie bookstores still able to fulfill orders online during the current stay-at-home order.) Happy reading!