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Rachel-K
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Early Pages

 

Please use this thread to discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society from the opening, through Dawsey's letter to Juliet on (or around) page 81.

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debbook
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Re: Early Pages

I love that this started due to Dawsey finding a book of Juliet's. He is so quiet but yet was bold enough to write to her.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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debbook
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Re: Early Pages

I thought it was  amusing that everyone from the Literary Society statered writing Juliet immediately
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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Wrighty
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Re: Early Pages


debbook wrote:
I thought it was amusing that everyone from the Literary Society statered writing Juliet immediately

Yes, and their personalities come through right away. These poor people have been shut off from the rest of the world for so long they must be thrilled to have a writer reply to them. It's interesting to piece the story together from the different points of view and the different experiences. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the story flows even though it's coming from different sources.

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Fozzie
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Re: Early Pages


Wrighty wrote:

debbook wrote:
I thought it was amusing that everyone from the Literary Society stared writing Juliet immediately

Yes, and their personalities come through right away. These poor people have been shut off from the rest of the world for so long they must be thrilled to have a writer reply to them.


Were either of you (or anyone) surprised at how quickly everyone became friends?  I was.  I couldn't help but wonder if there was a certain tone/feeling/sentiment of hope and friendship after the war that helped create an environment where such a phenomenon could occur.  I can't imagine this interaction happening today, but maybe it does via e-mail and instant messaging.  But, who would invite an unknown person to visit them?  And who would go?  I guess that is how the world has changed...

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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debbook
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Re: Early Pages

I think it's because the islanders had been so isolated during the war that they wanted the contact and a chance to tell about themselves. Juliet is so nice that she made them all feel comfortable. I would write to her now and she's not even real, lol. And juliet was kind of at loose ends after the war and obviously has an interest in other people.

 

I wondered at the beginning about her relationship with Sidney. I thought he was in love with her

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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Fozzie
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


debbook wrote:

I wondered at the beginning about her relationship with Sidney. I thought he was in love with her


I thought so too.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Early Pages


Fozzie wrote:

Wrighty wrote:

debbook wrote:
I thought it was amusing that everyone from the Literary Society stared writing Juliet immediately

Yes, and their personalities come through right away. These poor people have been shut off from the rest of the world for so long they must be thrilled to have a writer reply to them.


Were either of you (or anyone) surprised at how quickly everyone became friends?  I was.  I couldn't help but wonder if there was a certain tone/feeling/sentiment of hope and friendship after the war that helped create an environment where such a phenomenon could occur.  I can't imagine this interaction happening today, but maybe it does via e-mail and instant messaging.  But, who would invite an unknown person to visit them?  And who would go?  I guess that is how the world has changed...


I think you're right--it would be unusual now. And the distances in America are so much greater than they are in England. The Islanders felt that they did know Juliet, after corresponding with her for so  many months. I agree that they were eager to tell their Occupation stories to such an interested person. 


Learn more about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


Fozzie wrote:

debbook wrote:

I wondered at the beginning about her relationship with Sidney. I thought he was in love with her


I thought so too.


Good, good! That little piece of confusion was intentional. But you weren't confused for long, were you?


Learn more about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Fozzie
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


Annie_Barrows wrote:

Good, good! That little piece of confusion was intentional. But you weren't confused for long, were you?


No, not long at all!  But just long enough to make it interesting...:smileywink:

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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va-BBoomer
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney

I am amazed as to how easy it is to read a book of letters.  I've always had trouble with such books in the past.  It is very much to the writer's skill that makes this book so easy to follow, and enjoy.

 

It is very imaginable to figure how lonely these people were, and how much they felt it was them vs. the Germans, and the rest of the world didn't exist or care about them.  Isolation will do this.  That's why any outside communicator was such a miracle to them.

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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


va-BBoomer wrote:

I am amazed as to how easy it is to read a book of letters.  I've always had trouble with such books in the past.  It is very much to the writer's skill that makes this book so easy to follow, and enjoy.

 

It is very imaginable to figure how lonely these people were, and how much they felt it was them vs. the Germans, and the rest of the world didn't exist or care about them.  Isolation will do this.  That's why any outside communicator was such a miracle to them.


I think the problem with most epistolery novels is too few narrators. It's very difficult to believe in a story that's told through forty-page letters by one character (who writes forty-page letters, much less forty-page letters complete with dialogue, descriptions, and background?). I believe the solution is not to bag the epistolery novel, but to have so many characters that no single one is responsible for all the story-telling. I have to say, it was tremendous fun to tell a story through so many voices. Each one gives the story a separate little charge, and each one has his or her own quirks and ideas. I don't know how I'm going to return to regular narrative again. 


Learn more about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Wrighty
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Re: Early Pages



Annie_Barrows wrote:

Fozzie wrote:

Were either of you (or anyone) surprised at how quickly everyone became friends? I was. I couldn't help but wonder if there was a certain tone/feeling/sentiment of hope and friendship after the war that helped create an environment where such a phenomenon could occur. I can't imagine this interaction happening today, but maybe it does via e-mail and instant messaging. But, who would invite an unknown person to visit them? And who would go? I guess that is how the world has changed...


I think you're right--it would be unusual now. And the distances in America are so much greater than they are in England. The Islanders felt that they did know Juliet, after corresponding with her for so many months. I agree that they were eager to tell their Occupation stories to such an interested person.


I think it was believable that they would be eager to write to each other. Juliet is an author that some of them are familiar with. She is a celebrity to them. I love when we hear from an author here! Juliet is curious about the Literary Society and once involved she is curious about the people. They've peaked her interest and given her the spark of an idea. She is eager to hear the details and they are eager to chat with someone away from the island. I think many of the details about the occupation are painful but they are learning to trust her. They are hopeful and ready for change and all of them need friends.

 

I don't visit too many chat rooms online but the few I do, like here especially, it's often easy to chat with people I don't really know. Many people find it easy to write and if it's anonymous it's probably even easier. In this day and age you have to be careful and you couldn't visit without precautions. I hope it's not being totally naive but I still think most people have good intentions and try to do the right thing.

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Wrighty
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney



Annie_Barrows wrote:

va-BBoomer wrote:

I am amazed as to how easy it is to read a book of letters. I've always had trouble with such books in the past. It is very much to the writer's skill that makes this book so easy to follow, and enjoy.

 

It is very imaginable to figure how lonely these people were, and how much they felt it was them vs. the Germans, and the rest of the world didn't exist or care about them. Isolation will do this. That's why any outside communicator was such a miracle to them.


I think the problem with most epistolery novels is too few narrators. It's very difficult to believe in a story that's told through forty-page letters by one character (who writes forty-page letters, much less forty-page letters complete with dialogue, descriptions, and background?). I believe the solution is not to bag the epistolery novel, but to have so many characters that no single one is responsible for all the story-telling. I have to say, it was tremendous fun to tell a story through so many voices. Each one gives the story a separate little charge, and each one has his or her own quirks and ideas. I don't know how I'm going to return to regular narrative again.


I'm really enjoying this story being told by several characters. You're right Annie, it is a good solution. And the fun has come through in your characters. I already have my favorites but I have to say someone like nosey, nasty Adelaide Addison has a place here too. I'm not sure if it's for comic relief or just to make the other characters look even better but she's important to the story.

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debbook
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney

I really felt like I did not miss plot points in this book, which can happen with others in this format. That must be why some writers combine narrative w/ letter format. But you didn't need to do that, everything was covered in your letters

Annie_Barrows wrote:

va-BBoomer wrote:

I am amazed as to how easy it is to read a book of letters.  I've always had trouble with such books in the past.  It is very much to the writer's skill that makes this book so easy to follow, and enjoy.

 

It is very imaginable to figure how lonely these people were, and how much they felt it was them vs. the Germans, and the rest of the world didn't exist or care about them.  Isolation will do this.  That's why any outside communicator was such a miracle to them.


I think the problem with most epistolery novels is too few narrators. It's very difficult to believe in a story that's told through forty-page letters by one character (who writes forty-page letters, much less forty-page letters complete with dialogue, descriptions, and background?). I believe the solution is not to bag the epistolery novel, but to have so many characters that no single one is responsible for all the story-telling. I have to say, it was tremendous fun to tell a story through so many voices. Each one gives the story a separate little charge, and each one has his or her own quirks and ideas. I don't know how I'm going to return to regular narrative again. 


 

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
"bookmagic418.blogspot.com
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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Early Pages


Wrighty wrote:


Annie_Barrows wrote:

Fozzie wrote:

Were either of you (or anyone) surprised at how quickly everyone became friends? I was. I couldn't help but wonder if there was a certain tone/feeling/sentiment of hope and friendship after the war that helped create an environment where such a phenomenon could occur. I can't imagine this interaction happening today, but maybe it does via e-mail and instant messaging. But, who would invite an unknown person to visit them? And who would go? I guess that is how the world has changed...


I think you're right--it would be unusual now. And the distances in America are so much greater than they are in England. The Islanders felt that they did know Juliet, after corresponding with her for so many months. I agree that they were eager to tell their Occupation stories to such an interested person.


I think it was believable that they would be eager to write to each other. Juliet is an author that some of them are familiar with. She is a celebrity to them. I love when we hear from an author here! Juliet is curious about the Literary Society and once involved she is curious about the people. They've peaked her interest and given her the spark of an idea. She is eager to hear the details and they are eager to chat with someone away from the island. I think many of the details about the occupation are painful but they are learning to trust her. They are hopeful and ready for change and all of them need friends.

 

I don't visit too many chat rooms online but the few I do, like here especially, it's often easy to chat with people I don't really know. Many people find it easy to write and if it's anonymous it's probably even easier. In this day and age you have to be careful and you couldn't visit without precautions. I hope it's not being totally naive but I still think most people have good intentions and try to do the right thing.


That's true! Here we all are, happily writing letters to each other. Sharing ideas is always a pleasure.

 


Learn more about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


Wrighty wrote:


Annie_Barrows wrote:

va-BBoomer wrote:

I am amazed as to how easy it is to read a book of letters. I've always had trouble with such books in the past. It is very much to the writer's skill that makes this book so easy to follow, and enjoy.

 

It is very imaginable to figure how lonely these people were, and how much they felt it was them vs. the Germans, and the rest of the world didn't exist or care about them. Isolation will do this. That's why any outside communicator was such a miracle to them.


I think the problem with most epistolery novels is too few narrators. It's very difficult to believe in a story that's told through forty-page letters by one character (who writes forty-page letters, much less forty-page letters complete with dialogue, descriptions, and background?). I believe the solution is not to bag the epistolery novel, but to have so many characters that no single one is responsible for all the story-telling. I have to say, it was tremendous fun to tell a story through so many voices. Each one gives the story a separate little charge, and each one has his or her own quirks and ideas. I don't know how I'm going to return to regular narrative again.


I'm really enjoying this story being told by several characters. You're right Annie, it is a good solution. And the fun has come through in your characters. I already have my favorites but I have to say someone like nosey, nasty Adelaide Addison has a place here too. I'm not sure if it's for comic relief or just to make the other characters look even better but she's important to the story.


I've never lived in a small town that didn't have an Adelaide. People like her are part of life in a small community. And in a small town, she's funny as well as frustrating.

 


Learn more about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Wrighty
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


Annie_Barrows wrote:

I've never lived in a small town that didn't have an Adelaide. People like her are part of life in a small community. And in a small town, she's funny as well as frustrating.

 


I live in a small town and I can think of several Adelaides. Unfortunately that behavior isn't usually funny at the time, especially if they are trying to cause real harm. It certainly is a sad way to live your life - trying to cause harm to others rather than be kind and helpful, although the Adelaides of the world never think they are doing anything wrong. I did think this particular Adelaide was pretty funny though and it probably helped that I just got to read about her and didn't have to live near her! :smileyvery-happy:

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Sunltcloud
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney


Annie_Barrows wrote:
I think the problem with most epistolery novels is too few narrators. It's very difficult to believe in a story that's told through forty-page letters by one character (who writes forty-page letters, much less forty-page letters complete with dialogue, descriptions, and background?). I believe the solution is not to bag the epistolery novel, but to have so many characters that no single one is responsible for all the story-telling. I have to say, it was tremendous fun to tell a story through so many voices. Each one gives the story a separate little charge, and each one has his or her own quirks and ideas. I don't know how I'm going to return to regular narrative again. 

I can see the fun it must have been to write in so many voices. I think I saw somewhere that your aunt said that she chose the letter form because she thought it would be easier. From all I know about writing it seems to me that it actually must have been harder (did she ever mention this after she had written most of the book?) If one writes a narrative there is a certain flow of events, even if one includes back story/flash backs; when writing letters, this flow is interrupted, especially when so many people write. Who said what? Has this been said yet? What else must be added to make a character well-rounded yet not  totally exposed too early. Are events foreshadowed properly? Was an important fact left out? Etc. etc. etc.

 

As the author you have everything in your head, but how do you keep track of the how and when it is exposed to the reader? I am thrilled with the concept and think that you did a great job making me believe in the book group and their interrelated lives.

 

The sad facts of war were handled with care. Thank you for that. I was a child during WWII in Germany and my heart still beats faster when I hear sirens. One of my most favorite meals was "Heaven and Earth" mashed potatoes and apple sauce; I laughed out loud when I saw Will Thisbee's recipe for potato peel pie. I spent many a night in the basement or at an airraid shelter and I was evacuated from the main war theatre in the North of Germany. Luckily my grandmother lived in the Black Forest and I was sent to her house. But during the final hours of the war German troops were in front of our house and French troops in back. They pretty much burned down the neighborhood. We harbored a French soldier in our attic. He was not much more than a child, a young Moroccon, scared to death and hungry. I was the one who climbed through the trapdoor (I was seven) to bring him soup. 

 

I understand the need for humor during war time and find the idea of a literary society to cover up one's tracks fascinating. My mother used to smuggle food in her bra from the French hospital where she worked after the war, to my grandmother and me who were shut into one room of our house because a colonel had taken over the rest of it. 

 

I had no idea about the history of the Channel Islands until I read your novel. I had become interested because a friend cruised the islands and had sent me a postcard. I'm a passionate walker and now I can't wait to go there, walk the cliffs, see Victor Hugo's house, find out how the people in St. Peter's Port feel about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

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literature
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Re: Early Pages - Sidney

Did you make up the names as you went along or did you have an ongoing list of names to some day include in a book?  I think the names are just darling and found myself looking forward to meeting a new character just to see what the name would be.  I think you should consider another book in letter form for some time in the future.
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