Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

First Impressions

The opening line: "Three o'clock, the dead hour," seems to hold a touch of foreboding. How did you feel at the beginning of the novel? It's written in a stream-of-consciousness sort of style- short bursts of information that fill in a background of our main character very quickly. What senses did you experience while reading?
Stephanie
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions



Stephanie wrote:
The opening line: "Three o'clock, the dead hour," seems to hold a touch of foreboding. How did you feel at the beginning of the novel? It's written in a stream-of-consciousness sort of style- short bursts of information that fill in a background of our main character very quickly. What senses did you experience while reading?


It meant that at 3pm everyone in the beach house was either napping or doing very little. Calling it the dead hour was ironic since the surroundings are almost paradise-like.... flowers, sunshine, seashore, seaglass... the farthest thing from anything dead.
 
On the other hand, how much utopian sunshine can one take.... especially when the main character carries so much emotional baggage.
 
We do get a lot of information very quickly... about Sydney and about the family. We see everything through Sydney's perspective, and with this type of exposition, we don't get a lot of depth. Or objectivity.
 
I sympathize with the hard-luck story of her two marriages; but that by itself does not make her a sympathetic character.
 
That's my first impression of Sydney and her idyllic summer tutoring job.
 
IBIS
 
 
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions

IBIS,
 
I had similar jobs during summers while I was going to college (Hamptons for me) and you start out thinking "idyllic" but by summer's end, you're sun-burnt and exhausted.  It's hard to live with people who aren't your family, and harder still to live with employers who don't necessarily like you.  In one case, the husband didn't care for me (and I didn't care for him either!), but he was easy enough to avoid.  In the other case, there was no wife, just a dad who wanted his evenings free to go out carousing.  That was idyllic- he was never around, it was just me and two terrific kids in a beautiful house on the beach.  Nice work if you can get it! :smileywink:
 
I think Sydney's tutoring of Julie was a farce, and everyone knew it except for Anna.  As a parent, she was fairly clueless.  Unfortunately, some people think being able to afford an Ivy League college is enough.
 
 
Stephanie
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions



IBIS wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
The opening line: "Three o'clock, the dead hour," seems to hold a touch of foreboding. How did you feel at the beginning of the novel? It's written in a stream-of-consciousness sort of style- short bursts of information that fill in a background of our main character very quickly. What senses did you experience while reading?


It meant that at 3pm everyone in the beach house was either napping or doing very little. Calling it the dead hour was ironic since the surroundings are almost paradise-like.... flowers, sunshine, seashore, seaglass... the farthest thing from anything dead.
 
On the other hand, how much utopian sunshine can one take.... especially when the main character carries so much emotional baggage.
 
We do get a lot of information very quickly... about Sydney and about the family. We see everything through Sydney's perspective, and with this type of exposition, we don't get a lot of depth. Or objectivity.
 
I sympathize with the hard-luck story of her two marriages; but that by itself does not make her a sympathetic character.
 
That's my first impression of Sydney and her idyllic summer tutoring job.
 
IBIS
 
 


I also do not feel that Sydney is a sympathic character not a major one, sure she had a few obstacles in her life, but the writer could have made it alot worst. But do you think that she is bitter because of these things?
Excepting a tutoring job is kind of out of her league alittle bit. Getting over the death of her second husband is probably harder because she gave up her first husband for the safety of hurting  more, to actually lose one to natural causes. She, as all of us, we wish to control the things in our life that make us sad and hurt so bad and this two husband scenciro really proved it  and it can not be done. She and all of us need more faith in the paths of our lives.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions


kiakar wrote: Excepting a tutoring job is kind of out of her league alittle bit.

Linda, I agree that Sydney was overqualified for a summer tutoring job; she saw this as a place holder in her life, a kind of rest stop while she got her bearings. Body surfing is a sport where you are willing to let go, to lose control of your body. It's is a perfect symbol of Sydney's current emotional state... she's drifting without any specific goal in her life. She wants to go back to grad school eventually, but not yet. She must feel that fate has shaken up and thrown about all her plans... up to a point, you can take just so much loss of control over your destiny. Sydney is looking for connections... she is young woman who wants to have a sense of family. She isn't close to her parents, and the Edwards, especially the father, seems to be the kind of family she would like to have. I see this novel as a kind of new beginning for Sydney. Knowing how Anita Shreve's plots run, I hope it will be more than just a romance, though. I hope it will be a life-changing chain of events. IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions


Stephanie wrote: I think Sydney's tutoring of Julie was a farce, and everyone knew it except for Anna.  As a parent, she was fairly clueless.  Unfortunately, some people think being able to afford an Ivy League college is enough.
 
 

Stephanie, I agree that tutoring Julie was hopelessly unrealistic. Julie definitely was not Ivy League material. The good thing about Sydney working with Julie was the recognition of her artistic talent. It was a talent that no one in the family took time to recognize. What surprised me is that the father, who obviously loved Julie and himself is a talented architect, didn't pick up on Julie's artistic gifts. What a clueless family! IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions

Stephanie, I agree that tutoring Julie was hopelessly unrealistic. Julie definitely was not Ivy League material. The good thing about Sydney working with Julie was the recognition of her artistic talent. It was a talent that no one in the family took time to recognize. What surprised me is that the father, who obviously loved Julie and himself is a talented architect, didn't pick up on Julie's artistic gifts. What a clueless family! IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions

You know, they were completely clueless, and in my mind, there is only one way to be that clueless about your daughter, and that is to never spend any real time with her.  She probably had shown some talent in the garden, and perhaps Dad left it at that.  But a mother who is home with her child should be making Valentines, holiday ornaments, little crafts, etc.  Perhaps Anna just didn't place any value in Julie's talent. 
Stephanie
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions



Stephanie wrote:
You know, they were completely clueless, and in my mind, there is only one way to be that clueless about your daughter, and that is to never spend any real time with her.  She probably had shown some talent in the garden, and perhaps Dad left it at that.  But a mother who is home with her child should be making Valentines, holiday ornaments, little crafts, etc.  Perhaps Anna just didn't place any value in Julie's talent. 


I certainly agree wholeheartedly here.
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions

Linda,
 
I'm not sure I've ever felt this judgemental about a book!  I really took issue with Anna, and wished for a different mother for Julie.  Just think how her talents could have been fostered if they'd been discovered sooner.  I suppose that's life though- sad to say.
Stephanie
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions



Stephanie wrote:
Linda,
 
I'm not sure I've ever felt this judgemental about a book!  I really took issue with Anna, and wished for a different mother for Julie.  Just think how her talents could have been fostered if they'd been discovered sooner.  I suppose that's life though- sad to say.


You know, Stephanie most of Anita's books make you so mad at some of the characters she produces. Some have real problems. ha. And I think to, she wants to leave you thinking, like you, what would have happened if Anna was a different person or if Julie's father could have done more than he did. Like what were the mistakes and how they could have been recified.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions

[ Edited ]


kiakar wrote:

You know, Stephanie most of Anita's books make you so mad at some of the characters she produces. Some have real problems. ha. And I think to, she wants to leave you thinking, like you, what would have happened if Anna was a different person or if Julie's father could have done more than he did. Like what were the mistakes and how they could have been recified.


Linda, I agree totally.... the very thing that frustrates me so much about Anita Shreve's characters is the very same thing that makes me enjoy her writing... her characters are bright, insightful, astute.... but paradoxically, they can also be amazingly blind....clueless about what motivates them.
 
It's as if the very charactertistics that make them interesting are the very things that blinds them.
 
Sydney is bright, observant.... very much attuned to Julie's true needs and talents. One of her attractive traits is her high level of awareness of the foibles of, for example, Mrs. Edwards;  I loved her snide observations about Mrs. Edward's pride in her high cuisine culinary skills....and yet she makes cakes out of prepared mixes.....
 
Despite her sharp, insights into other's weakness, at the same time, Sydney has a very low level of  self-awareness. Sydney is blind about her own motivations....
 
she never articulates a clear, emotional understanding of her resentments regarding her parent's divorce, her "no-man's land" identity and cultural split  --- neither WASP nor Jewish heritage. Or her fears about her aviator's husband... who eventually became a teacher. What tamer and safer career path can a wife ask for! Why didn't they resolve their differences in a more reasonable manner... instead of the more extreme divorce proceedings.
 
Same with Anna Steward... cocooned in self-images of her own social prestige, she was blind to what was obvious to Sydney and everyone else... that Julie needed her emotionally....that socially acceptable Victoria was obviously NOT what Jeff needed in a girlfriend.
 
That's what I find fascinating about Anita Shreve's universe.... nothing, and no one, is exactly as they seem. Not even to themselves.
 
IBIS


Message Edited by IBIS on 02-20-2008 10:25 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: First Impressions



IBIS wrote:


kiakar wrote:

You know, Stephanie most of Anita's books make you so mad at some of the characters she produces. Some have real problems. ha. And I think to, she wants to leave you thinking, like you, what would have happened if Anna was a different person or if Julie's father could have done more than he did. Like what were the mistakes and how they could have been recified.


Linda, I agree totally.... the very thing that frustrates me so much about Anita Shreve's characters is the very same thing that makes me enjoy her writing... her characters are bright, insightful, astute.... but paradoxically, they can also be amazingly blind....clueless about what motivates them.
 
It's as if the very charactertistics that make them interesting are the very things that blinds them.
 
Sydney is bright, observant.... very much attuned to Julie's true needs and talents. One of her attractive traits is her high level of awareness of the foibles of, for example, Mrs. Edwards;  I loved her snide observations about Mrs. Edward's pride in her high cuisine culinary skills....and yet she makes cakes out of prepared mixes.....
 
Despite her sharp, insights into other's weakness, at the same time, Sydney has a very low level of  self-awareness. Sydney is blind about her own motivations....
 
she never articulates a clear, emotional understanding of her resentments regarding her parent's divorce, her "no-man's land" identity and cultural split  --- neither WASP nor Jewish heritage. Or her fears about her aviator's husband... who eventually became a teacher. What tamer and safer career path can a wife ask for! Why didn't they resolve their differences in a more reasonable manner... instead of the more extreme divorce proceedings.
 
Same with Anna Steward... cocooned in self-images of her own social prestige, she was blind to what was obvious to Sydney and everyone else... that Julie needed her emotionally....that socially acceptable Victoria was obviously NOT what Jeff needed in a girlfriend.
 
That's what I find fascinating about Anita Shreve's universe.... nothing, and no one, is exactly as they seem. Not even to themselves.
 
IBIS


Message Edited by IBIS on 02-20-2008 10:25 AM

great Post! IBIS
Users Online
Currently online: 22 members 490 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: