06-11-2008 08:09 PM
KxBurns wrote:What did you think of O'Nan's choice to start the book with a Kim chapter and end with a Lindsay chapter? What do you think he's trying to say by making the sisters structural "bookends," if you will?
06-12-2008 09:11 AM
That is an interesting assessment and I am sure that most would agree and that even O'Nan would agree that was his point. I personally felt like that ending was just O'Nan not knowing how to finish this work and thuis grabbing a cliche and sticking it on the last page. Very, very old and worn out.
ELee wrote:KxBurns wrote:What did you think of O'Nan's choice to start the book with a Kim chapter and end with a Lindsay chapter? What do you think he's trying to say by making the sisters structural "bookends," if you will?Bluntly?...that life goes on. In the beginning, Kim is hoping to "become someone else, a private, independent person, someone not from Kingsville at all."During the course of the ordeal, stuggling with her renown as Kim's sister, Lindsay vows to herself that she will maintain a "perfect score" at school until Kim is found.In the end, having earned her anonymity, it is Lindsay that fulfills Kim's hope. Upon returning to school after Kim's remains have been found and buried, "She came out of the jetway and turned left with everyone else, joined the horde streaming for the concourse and disappeared into the crowd."
06-12-2008 10:43 AM
06-12-2008 11:40 AM
Tarri wrote:The changing character and point-of-view style of writing here was very effective. I never lost the flow, which can sometimes happen when the voice changes in a book.
I agree, i just wanted to add, i did feel the story telling little bit rushed. But i guess, readers want the story to flow quickly rather spend more time on character development or more detail descriptions of the environment. But don't get me wrong, this book is definitely very enjoyable and page turner. Characters were very well chosen and they worked very well in building the story and keep the suspense going.
06-12-2008 02:20 PM
06-12-2008 05:48 PM
06-13-2008 07:58 AM
I thought that it worked OK. However I've read other novels where the time structure is not as linear where it is more effective. Say chapter 6 is told from Person A's point of view. Then chapter 7 is told from Person B's point of view with an overlap of timespan where they describe the same activity from a different point of view. Each chapter also has it's unique aspects as well, but I think this gives added depth to a story, and I think it could have really worked in the first half of Songs for the Missing.That's a really interesting idea. Rashomon styleWere there specific incidents that you think would have benefitted from a retelling in someone else's point of view?
I think that the scenes related to the search would have especially worked well in this format. The other one that jumps to mind is the halftime scene toward the end of the novel.
06-13-2008 12:53 PM
ELee wrote:In the Questions for the Editor thread, Josh Kendall wrote:
"Someone earlier spoke here about the shifting points of view, and what that affords the reader. To me, it was amazing to see Stewart give this book the pacing of, for lack of a better term, real life, while allowing that pacing to play out "through" each of the characters' reactions and actions, day to day."
I am inclined to agree with his assessment. I think that the shifting points of view define "real life" very effectively. There has been a lot of discussion about lack of emotion and intensity in the characters. For me, the little side-tracks and after-thoughts that these characters share with us are very realistic. Who is "on" 24/7? So it not only adds a real life quality, but slows the pacing as well. One device that I noticed that is very ingenious is O'Nan's references to the distant future, another shift - in time. The first one is on the first page.
"She [Kim] did not hate the town, as, years later, her sister would tell one lover."
This tells you right away that there is a distant future, her sister is in it, and will have more than one lover-another story altogether. We are given a peek of an extended time and place, only to be brought back to the present like the release of a stretched rubber band. This realization serves to anchor us in the characters' "present" and creates that real life quality.
06-14-2008 11:00 AM
These are both great points! In regards to the development of Kim as a character, would you say the intent is for Kim to be the main character, or is the focus still primarily those she left behind, with bringing Kim "to life" being a secondary but still necessary goal?bookhunter wrote:...The shift in narrators maybe took away from our sense of those characters being fully developed, but it ADDED to the development of Kim as a character. Kim wasn't just Fran's daughter--she was Ed's daughter, Lindsey's sister, a close friend, a team mate, a classmate, or even just a friend-of-a-friend in the small town.Like many of you I was a bit unsatisfied with the resolution, but again, I think that is the intent. It was very much a random event, caused by random actions, and could only end with a random solution. Very real life! The bookending of Lindsey off at college, getting on with her life, was great. She was carrying out the near-future picture of Kim that we get in the first pages of the book.Ann, bookhunter
06-14-2008 11:58 AM
06-14-2008 12:21 PM
06-14-2008 01:21 PM
06-14-2008 09:04 PM
I had a problem with the shifting. At first I couldn't tell who it was. I thought it was a bit unsettling. As far as the portrayal of the passage of time, it helped to move the story along and give some insight into the way the characters dealt with Kim's disappearance, changed and got on with their life.
KxBurns wrote:How does the shifting point-of-view from one character to another serve the story O'Nan is trying to tell? Did you find this technique effective or unsettling or both? What about his portrayal of the passage of time -- what might be the intended effect of the leaps in time that occur throughout the story?What other narrative devices caught your eye?
06-14-2008 10:15 PM
KxBurns wrote:...In regards to the development of Kim as a character, would you say the intent is for Kim to be the main character, or is the focus still primarily those she left behind, with bringing Kim "to life" being a secondary but still necessary goal?
06-15-2008 10:39 AM
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
06-15-2008 06:31 PM - edited 06-15-2008 06:33 PM
Yes -- absolutely!!!
bookhunter wrote:I know we discuss Kim in a thread coming up, so I'll save personality comments for that discussion. The narrative structure of leaving this "hole" in the cast of characters to be filled in by others is kind of like Rebecca. I'm sure there are other novels that demonstrate the technique, but that is the first thing I thought of. We learn about Kim only through the eyes of others. And what we learn is really not much.Can we say that Kim is not the main character, but the ABSENCE of Kim is?Ann, bookhunter
Message Edited by KxBurns on 06-15-2008 06:33 PM
06-16-2008 01:04 PM
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06-19-2008 12:06 PM