Carmen: “It was the smile that maddened Irene” – Did it make her mad or did it drive her to madness – All along we’ve seen Irene disquieted by Clare and her cavalier ways, always getting under Irene’s skin, making her mad, making her nervous, making her afraid for a moment just like this one. We’ve seen Irene hold on tenuously to her marriage, her sense of propriety, her sense of safety. Irene lived these past pages in uncertainty, a maddening ambiguity, and in this moment of all moments when something so dramatic has happened, she may be, in fact, the only person who does know exactly what happened, having been the closest physical proximity to Clare, but yet…”What happened next, Irene Redfield never afterwards allowed herself to remember. Never clearly” And as a result, neither will we…
Derek: “Composed” and “unaware” caught my attention and raised the stakes for me in this description of this social scene: Clare and Irene intersect like always, and yet somehow differently.
Thank you to all the book club attendees for reading and traveling these pages with us! It was a tense and terrific journey, and even in our final group discussion, you unearthed new details, new insights, and new interpretations of how “Passing” resonates both as timeless literature and a timely social mirror.
We look forward to reading with you again in the future!