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Rachel-K
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Later Pages and Whole Novel

Please use this thread to discuss your impressions of the whole novel. Please remember that all spoilers are fine in this thread!

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debbook
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows

Did you know from the beginning the outcome for Elizabeth? Did you ever think of changing it? It probably had to be the way it was to make the story more poignant, but you must have become attached to her. Was that a difficult decision to make?
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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows


debbook wrote:
Did you know from the beginning the outcome for Elizabeth? Did you ever think of changing it? It probably had to be the way it was to make the story more poignant, but you must have become attached to her. Was that a difficult decision to make?

It was the most difficult part of writing the book, both for Mary Ann and for me. We wanted Elizabeth to live, just like everyone else, but to write that happy ending would have been dishonest. Guernsey is a World War Two story, and the truth of the war was death and death and death.There were certainly some surprise escapes and triumphs, but the far larger reality was irrational, unjust, impassive destruction. We hated it, but we had to do it.


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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows



Annie_Barrows wrote:

It was the most difficult part of writing the book, both for Mary Ann and for me. We wanted Elizabeth to live, just like everyone else, but to write that happy ending would have been dishonest. Guernsey is a World War Two story, and the truth of the war was death and death and death.There were certainly some surprise escapes and triumphs, but the far larger reality was irrational, unjust, impassive destruction. We hated it, but we had to do it.


I agree. I hated it but I agree. I was hoping she would return right up to the point when her death was confirmed. And after hearing Peter tell the story of their arrest I would think that the young Polish boy they helped probably died as well. Kit lost both parents before she even had a chance to know them but from all accounts they were wonderful people. Their acts of kindness and courage affected many people and changed lives. They will always be remembered and Kit will always hear the stories.

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kargregg
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Re: Later Pages and Whole Novel

I agree wholeheartedly.  Elizabeth's death had to occur for the book to remain true to itself.

 

Karen

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debbook
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows

Even though Elizabeth didn't survive, I was glad we were  able to meet Remy and hear how Elizabeth was true to her spirit at the end. She was taken away for helping that boy and she died helping another girl in that camp. even though we don't meet her, I feel like I knew her as well as Juliet.

Wrighty wrote:


Annie_Barrows wrote:

It was the most difficult part of writing the book, both for Mary Ann and for me. We wanted Elizabeth to live, just like everyone else, but to write that happy ending would have been dishonest. Guernsey is a World War Two story, and the truth of the war was death and death and death.There were certainly some surprise escapes and triumphs, but the far larger reality was irrational, unjust, impassive destruction. We hated it, but we had to do it.


I agree. I hated it but I agree. I was hoping she would return right up to the point when her death was confirmed. And after hearing Peter tell the story of their arrest I would think that the young Polish boy they helped probably died as well. Kit lost both parents before she even had a chance to know them but from all accounts they were wonderful people. Their acts of kindness and courage affected many people and changed lives. They will always be remembered and Kit will always hear the stories.


 

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: Questions for Annie Barrows


debbook wrote:
Even though Elizabeth didn't survive, I was glad we were  able to meet Remy and hear how Elizabeth was true to her spirit at the end. She was taken away for helping that boy and she died helping another girl in that camp. even though we don't meet her, I feel like I knew her as well as Juliet.

Wrighty wrote:


Annie_Barrows wrote:

It was the most difficult part of writing the book, both for Mary Ann and for me. We wanted Elizabeth to live, just like everyone else, but to write that happy ending would have been dishonest. Guernsey is a World War Two story, and the truth of the war was death and death and death.There were certainly some surprise escapes and triumphs, but the far larger reality was irrational, unjust, impassive destruction. We hated it, but we had to do it.


I agree. I hated it but I agree. I was hoping she would return right up to the point when her death was confirmed. And after hearing Peter tell the story of their arrest I would think that the young Polish boy they helped probably died as well. Kit lost both parents before she even had a chance to know them but from all accounts they were wonderful people. Their acts of kindness and courage affected many people and changed lives. They will always be remembered and Kit will always hear the stories.


 


Yes, I hope you did feel that you knew Elizabeth--her actions tell her story, I think. 


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katknit
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows

So many aspects of the islanders' lives during the war were heartbreaking, and I think the character of Elizabeth encapsulates that truth.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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cobalt-blue
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows

Kit and Juliet are a beautiful match being that Juliet has such insight of the challenges Kit has faced (and maybe will face as she matures) regarding losing her parents. Additionally, Juliet and Kit have many similarities in character and disposition. Was the little girl developed while the book was being written or was she planned to be a character before the actual book writing began? Please explain the idea behind developing the character of Kit.
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Wrighty
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows


cobalt-blue wrote:
Kit and Juliet are a beautiful match being that Juliet has such insight of the challenges Kit has faced (and maybe will face as she matures) regarding losing her parents. Additionally, Juliet and Kit have many similarities in character and disposition. Was the little girl developed while the book was being written or was she planned to be a character before the actual book writing began? Please explain the idea behind developing the character of Kit.

I also thought they were the perfect match. I think a large part of that was because the more we learned about Elizabeth the more she seemed like Juliet. They were very distinct individuals but their personalities were very similiar. They both were outspoken, stubborn and headstrong but always for the greater good. Each of them were kind, compassionate, creative and funny. They had magnetic personalities and took care of their loved ones as well as strangers. Elizabeth even sacrificed her own life to help others but she never could have ignored someone in need. Both women were cut from the same cloth.

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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Questions for Annie Barrows


cobalt-blue wrote:
Kit and Juliet are a beautiful match being that Juliet has such insight of the challenges Kit has faced (and maybe will face as she matures) regarding losing her parents. Additionally, Juliet and Kit have many similarities in character and disposition. Was the little girl developed while the book was being written or was she planned to be a character before the actual book writing began? Please explain the idea behind developing the character of Kit.

Kit was part of the earliest concept of the book. From a plot perspective, she serves as evidence of Elizabeth's life and her relationship with Christian. Perhaps Kit is, in some ways, the letter that Elizabeth never wrote. But aside from plot, I think Mary Ann included Kit because she just loved children. My mother believes that Mary Ann based Kit on my younger daughter (and it's true that they both decline spinach in the same way). Juliet has a natural sympathy with children--witness Dominic--but she and Kit are a special match. 


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Sunltcloud
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Re: Later Pages and Whole Novel

One of the things I particularly liked in this novel is the way the reading material simultaneously shows and influences the lives of the island inhabitants.

Take Dawsey Adams for instance; he is a thorough reader. Once he has finished "Selected Essays of Elia" he continues to show interest in Charles Lamb and he wants to know more about this author. Dawsey is a solid, persistent, loyal person.

Will Thisbee is a realist. Why go to a book club meeting without also feeding your body? And he is practical, self-reliant. He brings the pie. Along the way he even gets some insight into religion by giving "Past and Present" by Thomas Carlyle a chance.

Poor Clovis Fossey wants to win over Nancy with love poetry and is saddled with "Catullus," not exactly what he had in mind, but eventually he finds the right reading material in the poetry of Wilfred Owen and William Wordsworth and apparently the right person in Nancy. Seemingly a simple demand and a simple reward.

I love the concerns of Eben Ramsey; I can see him right now, afraid to touch a pristine book. I have known people who are afraid of books. Or maybe they are afraid they won't measure up to the material? Are they afraid they are not smart enough? Eben is honest; he doesn't always understand Shakespeare. He is also perceptive; he senses the beauty in Shakespeare's writing.

And there are always those who need to insert themselves into the conversation. Clara Saussey and her recipes. Why indeed read what others have left behind? Clara is her own best listener. She knows what she wants and she provides it.

Amelia seems to be more interested in the notes other readers have left in the margins. I often find myself wondering about yellow highlighters and scribbled notes in library books or used books I buy, so I smiled when I read about her.

Isola who starts out with her own books, gardening books of course, is the most eclectic reader, the one who probably gets more from reading than most of the others. On one hand she is a romantic, reading romance novels, enjoying "encounters" she misses out on in her own life, but on the other hand she is not sentimental about her involvement with reading; when the need arises for kindling, she burns her own notes.

 

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Wrighty
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Re: Later Pages and Whole Novel



Sunltcloud wrote:

One of the things I particularly liked in this novel is the way the reading material simultaneously shows and influences the lives of the island inhabitants.


 

 

Those are great descriptions of the members of the Society. You really found their key characteristics! :smileyhappy:
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Wrighty
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Carpe Diem

I knew there must be a reason why the crystal Carpe Diem paperweight was mentioned early in the story. Juliet said that it was her sole possession that had remained intact after her apartment in London was bombed into rubble. It had belonged to her father and it meant so much to her that she made Sydney climb into the mess to retreive it.

 

I didn't notice until I was rereading parts of the book looking for something else that the paperweight is the same one mentioned at the end of the book. When Isola came to Juliet to tell her that she thought Dawsey was in love with Remy (although all of the clues pointed to him being in love with her) Juliet wanders to her desk and picks it up. She quotes "Seize the Day" and then ran off to find Dawsey and finally tell him her true feelings.

 

Hmm...how clever! I wonder what else I missed? :smileysurprised:

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Fozzie
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Re: Later Pages and Whole Novel


Sunltcloud wrote:

One of the things I particularly liked in this novel is the way the reading material simultaneously shows and influences the lives of the island inhabitants.


Super synopsis!  I enjoyed seeing what books the characters chose too.  Most were unexpected, to me anyway.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Carpe Diem

How clever of you to find this connection!

 

With so many tidbits in the book, I found myself knowing that I missed things too.

 


Wrighty wrote:

I knew there must be a reason why the crystal Carpe Diem paperweight was mentioned early in the story. Juliet said that it was her sole possession that had remained intact after her apartment in London was bombed into rubble. It had belonged to her father and it meant so much to her that she made Sydney climb into the mess to retreive it.

 

I didn't notice until I was rereading parts of the book looking for something else that the paperweight is the same one mentioned at the end of the book. When Isola came to Juliet to tell her that she thought Dawsey was in love with Remy (although all of the clues pointed to him being in love with her) Juliet wanders to her desk and picks it up. She quotes "Seize the Day" and then ran off to find Dawsey and finally tell him her true feelings.

 

Hmm...how clever! I wonder what else I missed? :smileysurprised:


 

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: Carpe Diem


Wrighty wrote:

I knew there must be a reason why the crystal Carpe Diem paperweight was mentioned early in the story. Juliet said that it was her sole possession that had remained intact after her apartment in London was bombed into rubble. It had belonged to her father and it meant so much to her that she made Sydney climb into the mess to retreive it.

 

I didn't notice until I was rereading parts of the book looking for something else that the paperweight is the same one mentioned at the end of the book. When Isola came to Juliet to tell her that she thought Dawsey was in love with Remy (although all of the clues pointed to him being in love with her) Juliet wanders to her desk and picks it up. She quotes "Seize the Day" and then ran off to find Dawsey and finally tell him her true feelings.

 

Hmm...how clever! I wonder what else I missed? :smileysurprised:


As Isola said, Juliet was (fortunately) goaded by a bit of rock--into making her feelings for Dawsey plain. We should all have such a helpful paperweight.

 


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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Later Pages and Whole Novel


Sunltcloud wrote:

One of the things I particularly liked in this novel is the way the reading material simultaneously shows and influences the lives of the island inhabitants.

Take Dawsey Adams for instance; he is a thorough reader. Once he has finished "Selected Essays of Elia" he continues to show interest in Charles Lamb and he wants to know more about this author. Dawsey is a solid, persistent, loyal person.

Will Thisbee is a realist. Why go to a book club meeting without also feeding your body? And he is practical, self-reliant. He brings the pie. Along the way he even gets some insight into religion by giving "Past and Present" by Thomas Carlyle a chance.

Poor Clovis Fossey wants to win over Nancy with love poetry and is saddled with "Catullus," not exactly what he had in mind, but eventually he finds the right reading material in the poetry of Wilfred Owen and William Wordsworth and apparently the right person in Nancy. Seemingly a simple demand and a simple reward.

I love the concerns of Eben Ramsey; I can see him right now, afraid to touch a pristine book. I have known people who are afraid of books. Or maybe they are afraid they won't measure up to the material? Are they afraid they are not smart enough? Eben is honest; he doesn't always understand Shakespeare. He is also perceptive; he senses the beauty in Shakespeare's writing.

And there are always those who need to insert themselves into the conversation. Clara Saussey and her recipes. Why indeed read what others have left behind? Clara is her own best listener. She knows what she wants and she provides it.

Amelia seems to be more interested in the notes other readers have left in the margins. I often find myself wondering about yellow highlighters and scribbled notes in library books or used books I buy, so I smiled when I read about her.

Isola who starts out with her own books, gardening books of course, is the most eclectic reader, the one who probably gets more from reading than most of the others. On one hand she is a romantic, reading romance novels, enjoying "encounters" she misses out on in her own life, but on the other hand she is not sentimental about her involvement with reading; when the need arises for kindling, she burns her own notes.

 


Well done! Taste in books is a better clue to character than astrology--or reading the bumps of the head!


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Sunltcloud
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Re: Carpe Diem


Wrighty wrote:

I knew there must be a reason why the crystal Carpe Diem paperweight was mentioned early in the story. Juliet said that it was her sole possession that had remained intact after her apartment in London was bombed into rubble. It had belonged to her father and it meant so much to her that she made Sydney climb into the mess to retreive it.

 

I didn't notice until I was rereading parts of the book looking for something else that the paperweight is the same one mentioned at the end of the book. When Isola came to Juliet to tell her that she thought Dawsey was in love with Remy (although all of the clues pointed to him being in love with her) Juliet wanders to her desk and picks it up. She quotes "Seize the Day" and then ran off to find Dawsey and finally tell him her true feelings.

 

Hmm...how clever! I wonder what else I missed? :smileysurprised:


 

Wow, thanks for pointing this out. I missed it. Now I have to read that part again.
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literature
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Re: Carpe Diem

[ Edited ]
The paper weight was so obvious. There was just too much emphasis on Juliet finding the paperweight in the ruble. It was like a light flashing that said, "remember the paperweight". I know it belonged to her father and it was one of the few things that was not damaged in the bombing raids. I had my smile ready, waiting for it to be mentioned again and it took the whole book She may have been "goaded by a bit of rock--into making her feelings for Dawsey plain", but what other sign, except "Carpe Diem" engraved on the paperweight, could have cued her? Dawsey was too reserved to come forth and the almost kiss between Dawsey and Juliet had distanced their relationship too much. Kit would have been my guess to blurt out the truth.
Message Edited by literature on 09-17-2008 08:26 PM
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