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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Early Chapters, 1-20

Please use this thread to discuss the early chapters of the novel, through chapter 20.
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IBIS
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Re: Early Chapters, 1-20

I've met the 3 friends -- Danny, Julius and Marina; they are frivolous, naive innocents, despite the fact that they're living in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world.

They are privileged, entitled, ambitious... but don't know what to do about it all.

This is a delightfully hilarious commedy of manners. Here are some of my favorite sketches I've enjoyed so far:

Danny is immediately taken with Ludovic Seeley. "It was, she decided something in his face: he knew. Although what he knew she could not have said."

Although Marina lives in a fancy, ultra-rich apartment, she's still living at home with mom and dad. "Marina, who thought she was impoverished when living off the fat of her parents."

Julius ",,,thought with youthful certainty that attitude would carry him. He lived a life of Wildean excess and insouciance that seemed an accomplishment in itself, the contemporary example of the enfant terrible." He is neurotic, has no regular income, and can't afford cable television. "In his own home he had only a frozen loaf of sliced bread, a jar of olives, and no money for even the farmers' market."

What a hilarious trio of friends. I can't wait to meet Bootie and Murray!
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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bobzyeruncle
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Re: Early Chapters, 1-20

But would you want to go have a drink with any of them?

So far, I've found them more annoying than hilarious. And I don't yet have any sympathy for them as a reader ... which I did with the likes of Ignatius in "Confederacy of Dunces." Two different books to be sure, but "Confederacy" proves to me that characters don't have to be likable to be entertaining and/or compelling.

Maybe I just knew too many spoiled, over-educated, glitterati-wannabes in NY and this reminds me of them.
:: :: ::

Bob
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IBIS
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Re: Early Chapters, 1-20

[ Edited ]
I can be entertained by very unlikeable characters. So far, none of the 3 friends are particularly likeable, or admirable. And I worry that I may not care for anyone at all.

What I hope for are verbal fireworks between intellectual equals... maybe Murray having a battle of wits with Ludovic, or even his wife.

All the young folk seem to be in awe of him. None of them are an intellectual match to Murray. I'm amused by their frivolousness and seemingly permanent state of confusion. Actually, writing style is sometimes as interesting as content. I love the writing!

I can't wait to see what Bootie makes of this privileged setting!

Message Edited by IBIS on 09-30-2007 02:54 PM

Message Edited by IBIS on 09-30-2007 02:58 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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Popper19
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Re: Early Chapters, 1-20



IBIS wrote:
I can be entertained by very unlikeable characters. So far, none of the 3 friends are particularly likeable, or admirable. And I worry that I may not care for anyone at all.

What I hope for are verbal fireworks between intellectual equals... maybe Murray having a battle of wits with Ludovic, or even his wife.

All the young folk seem to be in awe of him. None of them are an intellectual match to Murray. I'm amused by their frivolousness and seemingly permanent state of confusion. Actually, writing style is sometimes as interesting as content. I love the writing!

I can't wait to see what Bootie makes of this privileged setting!

Message Edited by IBIS on 09-30-2007 02:54 PM

Message Edited by IBIS on 09-30-2007 02:58 PM




I agree with you that the 3 friends are not likeable at this point. I'm starting to lean towards liking Danielle the "best" so far. I am interested to see how everyone will evolve and what they will have accomplished or not accomplished by the end of the book. I also agree with you about the writing. I thoroughly enjoy it.
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Fozzie
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Re: Early Chapters, 1-20

I can honestly say that I know no one like the people in this novel. I have heard about people like them, but have not personally spent time with them. Consequently, I find the book fascinating. I am like a voyeur observing their lives.

Their thoughts have revealed people more complex and real than any of them appear on the surface, except for perhaps Danielle who doesn’t seem superficial. Here are a couple of examples:

“Murray Thwaite had little patience for this. He suddenly saw his daughter as a monster he and Annabel had created --- they and a society of excess. He was about to begin “When I was your age …”; but suddenly could hear his own father’s voice in his head, intoning these words that he had sworn to himself --- he remembered it, his irritation --- he would never speak to his own children.” (pg. 73)

Even though Murray realizes his mistake in the way he raised his daughter, it is his past, his own father, who keeps him from acting differently, at least up until this point in the book.

“And yet beneath this superficial smoothness, he wanted her to sense --- he wanted her not to be able not to sense --- that he needed her presence more than her advice;” (pg. 131-2)

Trouble ahead! What is Murray thinking?! I wonder what Danielle is thinking. Well, it seems as though he wants to live life to the fullest, based on this quote:

"…the resolutions: not only for Harvard, but never an office, never a timetable, never an alarm clock, always a new day, a new city, a new person, a new drink, another discovery, always more life, more.” (pg.136)

Certainly this attitude drove Murray’s career in the early days, but now this attitude seems to be on the verge of causing trouble. Murray withdraws from his family into his office, keeping late hours, and, now, is flirting with Danielle via e-mail.

But, he has to disprove what his father said years ago:

“You see, Murray, I know you want to go out and write books, or something like that. But only geniuses can be writers, Murray, and frankly, son …” (pg. 137)

Murray is slowly revealing himself to be a complexly motivated character.

And I don’t want to leave out Booty.

“He had, he realized, deferred his plans, had, since his arrival, escaped not Watertown but himself.” (pg. 104)

This is a powerful realization that Frederick has. It spurs him into action. It will be interesting to see how he stirs up things in New York.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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