Is McDowell about a person or a book?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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Is McDowell about a person or a book?

Post by jgraney8 » 10 Oct 2018, 18:45

While the first part of the book gives us McDowell the flawed human, the last half seems as much about the book he is writing, his memoir, as it is about him. Why is there so much space given to the book? Is it to keep Sophie in the story?
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Post by Kibetious » 11 Oct 2018, 04:16

I have not gotten the whole statement well but I guess it is mostly about Hiram, which therefore does not make it much about the book. I will be able to give my conclusive comment once I'm done reading the whole book.
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Post by Charlyt » 13 Oct 2018, 07:51

I think the book is about Hiram as a person, and how his life is connected to those around him. The memoir was significant in the story because writing it was how Hiram reflected on his life. I also think it gives the readers an insight on how his mind works and how he justifies himself as being a victim.

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Post by Cotwani » 13 Oct 2018, 15:32

I too think the book is about Hiram the person. The memoir was a way of the author ensuring Hiram critically assesses his earlier life-devoted-to-me disposition.
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Post by lesler » 14 Oct 2018, 10:11

I think it's for the reader to question whether this book is that book, with the addition of the writing about the book. It's confusing but interesting.

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Post by P Reefer » 14 Oct 2018, 22:26

Mc Dowell for the first portion appears to be focused on the charismatic persona. However more than simply a person the narrative appears to be dealing with a personality type,

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Post by jgraney8 » 14 Oct 2018, 23:01

Charlyt wrote:
13 Oct 2018, 07:51
I think the book is about Hiram as a person, and how his life is connected to those around him. The memoir was significant in the story because writing it was how Hiram reflected on his life. I also think it gives the readers an insight on how his mind works and how he justifies himself as being a victim.
But we never get to see the memoir. It is this mysterious changing object that supposedly reflects the changes in Hiram's thinking. Yet, it is referred to and even published after editing. So it takes on importance, but it is still mysterious at the end of the novel.
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Post by jgraney8 » 14 Oct 2018, 23:05

Bookmermaid wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 22:26
Mc Dowell for the first portion appears to be focused on the charismatic persona. However more than simply a person the narrative appears to be dealing with a personality type,
And yet much is made of the memoir in the second half of the book although its importance changes as the content of the memoir becomes more opaque as does Hiram's thinking. Still much is made of the memoir.
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Post by Charlyt » 15 Oct 2018, 08:11

jgraney8 wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 23:01
Charlyt wrote:
13 Oct 2018, 07:51
I think the book is about Hiram as a person, and how his life is connected to those around him. The memoir was significant in the story because writing it was how Hiram reflected on his life. I also think it gives the readers an insight on how his mind works and how he justifies himself as being a victim.
But we never get to see the memoir. It is this mysterious changing object that supposedly reflects the changes in Hiram's thinking. Yet, it is referred to and even published after editing. So it takes on importance, but it is still mysterious at the end of the novel.
I didn't think it was important for us to read the actual memoir. It might have been a redundant story if even a small part of it was written in the book.
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Post by Katherine Smith » 15 Oct 2018, 13:54

I think that giving space to Hiram writing his book is a way of looking back on his life. It is also about furthering delving into the person that he was and is becoming. I think that dividing the book into two sections was a smart decision on the author part to reflect this change.
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Post by Bavithra M » 16 Oct 2018, 07:54

McDowell is about a person and about the life incidents of that person.
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Post by serendipity 27 » 20 Oct 2018, 17:27

I think when McDowell is writing his memoir it's about him trying to understand himself. He doesn't really know how to interact with other people all that well, so this is his way of trying to understand humanity. It's about him as a person trying to condense his life into a book.
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Post by N_R » 21 Oct 2018, 03:57

That is really interesting that the second half of the book is a memoir. I like this idea for a crime novel.

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Post by Samisah » 21 Oct 2018, 16:49

I really didn't get your question, but I think the idea of a memoir is a statement of events as you saw them. So Hiram only wanted the world to see him from his own eyes.

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Post by Life In Books » 22 Oct 2018, 01:39

The story is centralized on the life of the protagonist Hiram Mcdowell and so has the book been titled appropriately.

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