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bentley
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Re: Questions for the Editor "SPOILER IF YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN THROUGH SECOND THIRD OF BOOK"


Josh_Kendall wrote:


bentley wrote:
Thank you for joining us.

I have enjoyed this book very much and actually learned a lot. One chapter which was a pivotal and important chapter was the one titled The Killer Next Door. For me, there was not enough transition made for this chapter and for its revelations. It left me with a lot of questions. Had Kim run out of gas after she left her home on her way to her job? We know that she was running low because Fran had made her feel guilty about taking her sister out to practice driving. Did she think she had enough, ran out and sought help from a random wrong older man? At first, I thought you were referring to someone in Kim's neighborhood where she lived which made me think that she had come home to change and someone waylaid her while she was inside. Lindsay saw Kim's bathing suit hanging up so I assumed she got home. I found the chapter a bolt out of the blue, for such an important chapter lacking in details with the chapter title being a little misleading. I am wondering if you have heard any other comments about this chapter etc.

All in all though I have thoroughly enjoyed this First Look and O'Nan's writing.

Will there be a table of contents with chapter headings, numbers, etc. This makes it a little easier for the reader. Someone else mentioned the font size of the print. I found it a little small myself and hope that in the publication that the font and size will be easier to read.

Many thanks for sharing your time with us.

Bentley


Excellent question, Bentley, and one that's very hard to answer. You're right to say that the chapter titled "The Killer Next Door" passes with a lot quick, brief, seemingly important details about Kim's disappearance. This is one of those "blink and you'll miss it" sections I alluded to earlier. Just to be clear: yes Kim had returned home to hang up her swimsuit before seemingly rushing off to her shift at the gas station, and indeed, she herself did in some way run out of gas. (An interesting side note that I don't think anyone's mentioned is that Kim works at a gas station while the lack of gas in her own car seems to play a key role in her abduction...) Again, Stewart can speak to his authorly intentions in this regard, but as his editor the section felt importantly, cleverly beside-the-point: I don't mean to say that Stewart's trying to cheat the reader of the satisfaction that comes from knowing "the truth" of her disappearance. Rather, Stewart forces you into the role of the characters and their experience of these revelations. They do race by Fran and Ed, so incredibly unsatisfying because, still, their daughter is gone. Still, her death is something that isn't and will never be "solved" because there is no such solution when someone's taken from us.

I felt immediately like Kim's father -- and I myself am a father to a girl, something that was not lost on me during my multiple readings of the book -- sort of frustrated and furious with the facts, only because my being furious at Kim's killer did me no good, and being furious at Kim's leaving did me no good, and being furious at the state of my life right then did me no good. And so the details, though they had to be mentioned, were rendered irrelevant. It's a brilliant little trick Stewart pulled, I think, and he does this sort of "ripping you into the moment of the book" in a few other key places.




Josh, thank you. I agree with you in retrospect. It is sort of like O'Nan is saying that this book isn't about what happened to Kim and how; but more about her family and the impact that her loss had upon those around her and how this kind of situation makes you sit up and take notice of all of those things that you the reader take for granted.
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bentley
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Re: Questions for the Editor

One last question, what do you as the editor hope to gain from the First Look experience?What were your objectives and what were O'Nan's? Were they the same or different?
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pheath
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Re: Questions for the Editor

Josh: Thanks for joining us! For this novel specifically and novels in general, how long is the life cycle from start to finish? While one would think the majority of the time is spent by the author writing, is this really the case?
-Philip
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paula_02912
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Re: Questions for the Editor

Mr. Kendall wrote: "The titles, I felt, never drew great attention to themselves, which was important to me, but at the same time kept me thinking about the need, in so much of this book, to name things, to pin them down. There was constantly this feeling that the characters here, especially Kim's friends JP and Nina, had to call things what they were in order to feel more steady, safer and more secure. Don't we do this when bad things happen? We quiz the doctor about exactly what sort of dosage they're giving to our ailing mother. We tell our friends that we broke our bone in 3 places instead of just saying we broke our arm. We recite how many people died in the World Trade Center bombings. All of this to have a grip, we hope, on what is wrong. The chapter titles were a way of holding on, of understanding, what happened in each stage of this story.

At least, this was how it was for me."

Thank you very much for your response...I definitely didn't look at the chapter titles as a sense of holding on, but it makes a lot of sense...

Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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Jeanie0522
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Re: Questions for the Editor

Welcome Josh.  If it was Stewart O'Nan's attempt at getting midwestern slang down right, he hit the nail on the head with "safety deposit box."  Yes, it truly is a "safe deposit box," but after over 20 years in banking and living in the midwest, I can tell you that even bank employees say "safety deposit box."  I noticed that line when I read the book and assumed it was deliberate. 
 
Another person posting asked a question similar to the one I have, but I'm wondering why a seasoned author like Stewart O'Nan chose to do First Look.  I was thrilled that he did and I would love to see other famous authors do the same thing.  I'm also wondering if the editor and the author read all of the threads on First Look or if you wait until you come in for your visit and pretty much stick to the thread you are being asked questions on.
 
Thanks,
 
Jeanie
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Questions for the Editor

First of all, thank you, Josh for being with us this week and answering our questions.
My question concerns the cover of Songs as well as most of Stewart's other novels.  Normally, when I see a cover with a photograph on it I usually pass it by and think it rather cheesey however I don't feel that way about O'Nan's books.  The cover of Songs in particular works very well.  I find myself drawn into it and actually studying it.  Can you please tell me, is it O'Nan's choice to have this sort of cover or is it an editorial choice?  Also, Is the picture actually shot for the novel or would you go to a sort of photo bank to find an appropriate picture? 
Lynda

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"Um, maybe."
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BookSavage
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Re: Questions for the Editor

[ Edited ]
Like so many others, I want to say thank you for joining us.  This week is always one of the most enjoyable things about first look.  My question is a little different from others, but something that I am truly curious about.  I found this novel to be very cut and dried and lacking in any real emotional pull.  When I read about the subject matter I expected that due to being a father and a teacher the emotions of this book would be very intense, but rather I felt very removed from the characters.  I was wondering if this was recognized by you and appreciated or just accepted as the way the book is written?


Message Edited by BookSavage on 06-11-2008 09:06 AM
Go Cubs Go!
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the Editor


BookSavage wrote:
Like so many others, I want to say thank you for joining us. This week is always one of the most enjoyable things about first look. My question is a little different from others, but something that I am truly curious about. I found this novel to be very cut and dried and lacking in any real emotional pull. When I read about the subject matter I expected that due to being a father and a teacher the emotions of this book would be very intense, but rather I felt very removed from the characters. I was wondering if this was recognized by you and appreciated or just accepted as the way the book is written?


Message Edited by BookSavage on 06-11-2008 09:06 AM


This is how I felt too but was going to ask the author, but it would be good to have your take on it too. We appreciate you being here. It did seem to be a very emotional story told unemotionally. I couldn't really connect with anyone, so by mid book, I really didn't care and that's hard to say given the topic. I found myself finishing it just to find out what happened to Kim.

There are several of us that agree(on the narration style thread and other places) that since the richness of emotions from so many characters involved in something like this, wasn't really tapped into, that if perhaps it had been told in first person narrative by Lindsay (to me she is the lost daughter in the family who would be writing about the missing daughter), would be a really intriguing and much more emotional book. Then the other characters we could get to know this way, as they were written here. It just seems to skim the surface but never really hits. This may still be a better question for O'Nan, but as an editor, was anything like this ever discussed? For me, it really wasn't any different than any other story about someone going missing and it never really drew me in, when the character and emotional story of all these people involved could have made an amazing story if we were really allowed inside them, or at least one. Lindsay was the one we did get enough of a glimpse of and what she thought, that her take on this would have been fascinating.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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detailmuse
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Re: Questions for the Editor

[ Edited ]
Hi Josh, thanks for joining us here. I'm wondering if there are editorial considerations to using brand names, real-people's names, or real locations in a novel?


Message Edited by detailmuse on 06-11-2008 10:09 AM
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KxBurns
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Re: Questions for the Editor

Welcome, Josh, and thanks for you thoughtful responses to our questions so far!
 
How does editing an experienced author like Stewart differ from editing a first time author?
 
-Karen
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Jeanie0522 wrote:
Welcome Josh.  If it was Stewart O'Nan's attempt at getting midwestern slang down right, he hit the nail on the head with "safety deposit box."  Yes, it truly is a "safe deposit box," but after over 20 years in banking and living in the midwest, I can tell you that even bank employees say "safety deposit box."  I noticed that line when I read the book and assumed it was deliberate. 
 
Another person posting asked a question similar to the one I have, but I'm wondering why a seasoned author like Stewart O'Nan chose to do First Look.  I was thrilled that he did and I would love to see other famous authors do the same thing.  I'm also wondering if the editor and the author read all of the threads on First Look or if you wait until you come in for your visit and pretty much stick to the thread you are being asked questions on.
 
Thanks,
 
Jeanie



Dear Jeanie,
I'm not really sure I have an answer for your question. I happen to like what the First Look program is doing, and would have been happy for any of my authors here to be participating. That said, there has been something special about this book. Viking worked hard to publish Stewart's last book, LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER, and we were very happy with its performance, but there was a feeling with SONGS -- well, many feelings -- that we had something perhaps grand, ambitious in an emotional way that was rare, and further that by embracing such a familiar, even elemental American family fear, he was trying to write a book about all of us.

SNOW ANGELS, Stewart's first novel, covers some similar narrative ground, but he told that story through one character, the young boy. SONGS forces the reader to connect to everyone, really, and that expansiveness makes me think that the First Look program made that connection direct. I'll take this one step further as well as answering your question about reading the other story threads: I think this connection is why people feel uncomfortable with Fran (as was said), or particularly loyal to Nina (as many others have stated), and perhaps reacting in a person, subjective way to JP's flaws. These are reactions we have to characters in a book; they're reactions we have to people. Your cousin Lou. You own child. That old best friend you had from high school.

Thanks, Jeanie-
Josh
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



bentley wrote:
One last question, what do you as the editor hope to gain from the First Look experience?What were your objectives and what were O'Nan's? Were they the same or different?


Bentley,
I couldn't speak for Stewart's objectives in participating with First Look. I'll say for myself that, some months back, a co-worker of mine, who sells all of Viking's books to Barnes & Noble, told me about the program and why he thought Stewart's book would be right for it. I trust Glenn, who has one of the most challenging jobs in our business considering the percentage of books that get sold through B&N. Add to this the fact that Glenn's careful with his praise and wise with his advocacy.

I thought Stewart was rather well known and well respected, but there were still serious, engaged readers who had never read him. After 9 or so novels, it's hard for us to know where to enter someone's work--simply put: SONGS FOR THE MISSING seemed like a pretty terrific place to start. It's a graceful, ambitious and heart-felt book, and the sort of engaging yet challenging book I myself wanted to push on any parent or grown child.
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Carmenere_lady wrote:
First of all, thank you, Josh for being with us this week and answering our questions.
My question concerns the cover of Songs as well as most of Stewart's other novels.  Normally, when I see a cover with a photograph on it I usually pass it by and think it rather cheesey however I don't feel that way about O'Nan's books.  The cover of Songs in particular works very well.  I find myself drawn into it and actually studying it.  Can you please tell me, is it O'Nan's choice to have this sort of cover or is it an editorial choice?  Also, Is the picture actually shot for the novel or would you go to a sort of photo bank to find an appropriate picture? 



Lynda Sue,
I'm pleased to hear that you liked the jacket image so much. The truth of the matter is that a publishing house will never have a jacket that everyone agrees on. There are too many different people to please, too many different subjective takes on the look, to say nothing of everyone's individual connection with the novel itself, and how it makes us feel about the kind of jacket we hope for.

In the end, in most cases, the publishing house has the final decision. I happen to love this jacket, not only the image, but odd and shadowy depth of that image, the mystery of it, and the elegance of the type design. Regardless we go to Stewart, as well as his literary agent, to consult RE: the design. We had several images that we were initially looking at, all with different type treatments, but we knew that we wanted the same jacket designer who created the look for Stewart's last novel, LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER. Both designs have stories embedded in them--they're pleasing to the eye, but once the eye is drawn, it's held by a curious absence, whether it be a person, an object, or something seemingly unsaid.

There's a lot to look at here, and yet at first glance it doesn't feel overbearing or overly complicated. Weirdly, for me, it's soothing while still being menacing.

To answer your last question: we allow the jacket designer to decide whether to pose a photograph or find stock footage. We have to trust that their aesthetic sense will lead them in the right direction.
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



BookSavage wrote:
Like so many others, I want to say thank you for joining us.  This week is always one of the most enjoyable things about first look.  My question is a little different from others, but something that I am truly curious about.  I found this novel to be very cut and dried and lacking in any real emotional pull.  When I read about the subject matter I expected that due to being a father and a teacher the emotions of this book would be very intense, but rather I felt very removed from the characters.  I was wondering if this was recognized by you and appreciated or just accepted as the way the book is written?


Message Edited by BookSavage on 06-11-2008 09:06 AM


Well I can't say that it was appreciated or accepted by me, only because that question leads me into justifying what you mean by "it." Your reservations about this book are your own, even if they're similarly shared by others. But since I never saw the book as cut and dried, or lacking in emotional pull, I couldn't say that I was recognizing the book would be perceived as cut and dried.

I can bolster my praising observations for the novel to counter your own impression, but you're permitted to feel disconnected just as I'm permitted to feel engaged. I'll say that the book has a tone, and that tone is measured, careful, and quiet. For me, I liked the combination of reserve with such a typically melodramatic subject. I watched those tearful, screaming parents on a movie-of-the-week; or the vengeful father hunting down his daughter's killer on the last Law & Order episode; or the confused younger sibling who resorts to various shocking, risky behaviors to indirectly deal with her feelings over her sister's death.

Your own background in teaching and parenthood could lead you to feeling removed from that tone, just as my background leads me to connecting to that same tone.

I'm sorry you didn't feel more enlivened by the book, BookSavage, but yes after 10 or so years of reading Stewart's novels and 3 years editing them and the last year editing this one, I'd probably say that I gave a good amount of thought and consideration to the impression of this novel's tone would make for the reader.
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



vivico1 wrote:

BookSavage wrote:
Like so many others, I want to say thank you for joining us. This week is always one of the most enjoyable things about first look. My question is a little different from others, but something that I am truly curious about. I found this novel to be very cut and dried and lacking in any real emotional pull. When I read about the subject matter I expected that due to being a father and a teacher the emotions of this book would be very intense, but rather I felt very removed from the characters. I was wondering if this was recognized by you and appreciated or just accepted as the way the book is written?


Message Edited by BookSavage on 06-11-2008 09:06 AM


This is how I felt too but was going to ask the author, but it would be good to have your take on it too. We appreciate you being here. It did seem to be a very emotional story told unemotionally. I couldn't really connect with anyone, so by mid book, I really didn't care and that's hard to say given the topic. I found myself finishing it just to find out what happened to Kim.

There are several of us that agree(on the narration style thread and other places) that since the richness of emotions from so many characters involved in something like this, wasn't really tapped into, that if perhaps it had been told in first person narrative by Lindsay (to me she is the lost daughter in the family who would be writing about the missing daughter), would be a really intriguing and much more emotional book. Then the other characters we could get to know this way, as they were written here. It just seems to skim the surface but never really hits. This may still be a better question for O'Nan, but as an editor, was anything like this ever discussed? For me, it really wasn't any different than any other story about someone going missing and it never really drew me in, when the character and emotional story of all these people involved could have made an amazing story if we were really allowed inside them, or at least one. Lindsay was the one we did get enough of a glimpse of and what she thought, that her take on this would have been fascinating.


Vivian,
Sorry of course that you too felt unrewarded by the book, and in your defense, I can't imagine only reading this book to see what happened to Kim. To me this book is about everyone but Kim, and why the discovery of her remains would in itself need to feel so unsatisfying. Thrillers and mystery novels do this sort of thing particularly well, but I never wanted Stewart's novel to be a thriller or a mystery.

A few people have written about the "shared" structure of the book, and about that shared structure in relation to their connection with Lindsay. I love Lindsay, and also felt that I wanted to be so much more a part of her life. But the book wasn't hers, and while I'm sure Stewart could have written a fine and affecting novel about a girl who's older sister goes missing, he wanted something that moved in more rooms of that house, so to speak. That took each of the characters' emotional lives to task, and forced us to see each of their reactions and decisions on the equal ground of third person observation. I also wonder if Lindsay would be quite so poignant if she was given more space in the book.

If you want the single viewpoint on that classic American family gothic, you might want to check out Stewart's first novel, SNOW ANGELS. It's about a 14 year old boy dealing with his troubled family and his feelings over his ex-babysitter's murder. It's a darker book, and a younger book. But your connection with any of the characters can only come through the narrator, and maybe that's the sort of concentrated viewpoint you're looking for.
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Josh_Kendall
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Re: Questions for the Editor



detailmuse wrote:
Hi Josh, thanks for joining us here. I'm wondering if there are editorial considerations to using brand names, real-people's names, or real locations in a novel?


Message Edited by detailmuse on 06-11-2008 10:09 AM


I tend to feel that generally speaking it's a mistake to use real people's names, though don't particularly mind if someone from the culture at large is named. I edit the kind of books I like to read, and the kind of books I like to read name the musician singing on the car radio instead of saying they listed to pop music. Those details have their place, though; and there's a reason WHITE NOISE or AMERICAN PSYCHO should have product names listed on every page and Stewart's work should not.

Not sure if I answered your question, detailmuse. It's different with every book for me, really. I'm big on place, though: I really wanted to know that this town was out there, in Ohio, close to Pennsylvania, and on the lake. I wanted to know the number of the highway running through it, and the last time his character could remember the Indians having a winning season.
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LucyintheOC
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Re: Questions for the Editor

___
..."I'll say that the book has a tone, and that tone is measured, careful, and quiet. For me, I liked the combination of reserve with such a typically melodramatic subject. "
___
 
Josh, your description of the tone of the book is exactly what I felt and was lacking the exact words to describe. This style of O'Nan's is what I've liked most about the two books I've read so far by him (this book and Last Night at the Lobster). Maybe his other books' tones are different; I hope to have time to read more of his work and find out. But I feel very engaged by his writing and I like his subtlety. He leaves spaces that give you room to think. Sometimes I might have wanted "more" but then I realized that if O'Nan had included "more" it would be a different book, maybe even a different story. I can appreciate how all of us are different and others may not share my opinion, but I wanted to give voice to the opposite reaction to the book.
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Tarri
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Josh_Kendall wrote:


BookSavage wrote:
Like so many others, I want to say thank you for joining us.  This week is always one of the most enjoyable things about first look.  My question is a little different from others, but something that I am truly curious about.  I found this novel to be very cut and dried and lacking in any real emotional pull.  When I read about the subject matter I expected that due to being a father and a teacher the emotions of this book would be very intense, but rather I felt very removed from the characters.  I was wondering if this was recognized by you and appreciated or just accepted as the way the book is written?


Message Edited by BookSavage on 06-11-2008 09:06 AM


Well I can't say that it was appreciated or accepted by me, only because that question leads me into justifying what you mean by "it." Your reservations about this book are your own, even if they're similarly shared by others. But since I never saw the book as cut and dried, or lacking in emotional pull, I couldn't say that I was recognizing the book would be perceived as cut and dried.

I can bolster my praising observations for the novel to counter your own impression, but you're permitted to feel disconnected just as I'm permitted to feel engaged. I'll say that the book has a tone, and that tone is measured, careful, and quiet. For me, I liked the combination of reserve with such a typically melodramatic subject. I watched those tearful, screaming parents on a movie-of-the-week; or the vengeful father hunting down his daughter's killer on the last Law & Order episode; or the confused younger sibling who resorts to various shocking, risky behaviors to indirectly deal with her feelings over her sister's death.

Your own background in teaching and parenthood could lead you to feeling removed from that tone, just as my background leads me to connecting to that same tone.

I'm sorry you didn't feel more enlivened by the book, BookSavage, but yes after 10 or so years of reading Stewart's novels and 3 years editing them and the last year editing this one, I'd probably say that I gave a good amount of thought and consideration to the impression of this novel's tone would make for the reader.

As someone who has gone through this entire scenario with a friend, I had to set the book aside on several occasions because I felt the emotion of all the characters.   I thought the author did an incredible job bringing the characters to life. 
Thank you for allowing B&N to send this book as a First Look selection and for your participation.  I had not seen any books by this author prior to receiving my copy; however, I now own several :smileyhappy: 
 
 
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the Editor


Josh_Kendall wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

This is how I felt too but was going to ask the author, but it would be good to have your take on it too. We appreciate you being here. It did seem to be a very emotional story told unemotionally. I couldn't really connect with anyone, so by mid book, I really didn't care and that's hard to say given the topic. I found myself finishing it just to find out what happened to Kim.

There are several of us that agree(on the narration style thread and other places) that since the richness of emotions from so many characters involved in something like this, wasn't really tapped into, that if perhaps it had been told in first person narrative by Lindsay (to me she is the lost daughter in the family who would be writing about the missing daughter), would be a really intriguing and much more emotional book. Then the other characters we could get to know this way, as they were written here. It just seems to skim the surface but never really hits. This may still be a better question for O'Nan, but as an editor, was anything like this ever discussed? For me, it really wasn't any different than any other story about someone going missing and it never really drew me in, when the character and emotional story of all these people involved could have made an amazing story if we were really allowed inside them, or at least one. Lindsay was the one we did get enough of a glimpse of and what she thought, that her take on this would have been fascinating.


Vivian,
Sorry of course that you too felt unrewarded by the book, and in your defense, I can't imagine only reading this book to see what happened to Kim. To me this book is about everyone but Kim, and why the discovery of her remains would in itself need to feel so unsatisfying. Thrillers and mystery novels do this sort of thing particularly well, but I never wanted Stewart's novel to be a thriller or a mystery.

A few people have written about the "shared" structure of the book, and about that shared structure in relation to their connection with Lindsay. I love Lindsay, and also felt that I wanted to be so much more a part of her life. But the book wasn't hers, and while I'm sure Stewart could have written a fine and affecting novel about a girl who's older sister goes missing, he wanted something that moved in more rooms of that house, so to speak. That took each of the characters' emotional lives to task, and forced us to see each of their reactions and decisions on the equal ground of third person observation. I also wonder if Lindsay would be quite so poignant if she was given more space in the book.

If you want the single viewpoint on that classic American family gothic, you might want to check out Stewart's first novel, SNOW ANGELS. It's about a 14 year old boy dealing with his troubled family and his feelings over his ex-babysitter's murder. It's a darker book, and a younger book. But your connection with any of the characters can only come through the narrator, and maybe that's the sort of concentrated viewpoint you're looking for.


thanks for answering Josh. I was interested in this book initially because it sounded like it was going to be a character study of those affected by such an event and death, not a murder mystery to solve and so it was going to be different for me, from the thrillers I do read. I love character studies too tho, so I was really excited. What people do, think and feel when something special or something horrible happens can, depending on how written, can really get you inside them. And third person allows you to get inside everyone equally, which would have been wonderful for this story, but it just didn't seem to have much depth that way, it just kind of wandered around their feelings, not quite tapping into them. I think the closest it came for me, was with Lindsay. We did get a better look at how this affected her than about anyone else, emotionally that is, and there were plenty this could have been done with, with the parents and all of her friends, but they all seemed like spectators and so altho I could sympathize with them, I could not empathize at all. With it coming close when Lindsay was talked about, that may be why most who felt if it had been first person narrative, she was the one to go with. I can't speak for their reasons but the commonality of who we picked, makes me think this may be why. This is not to say it should have been first person at all, I wanted third person narration to really get inside more than one of these people.

When I say, I found myself just wanting to find out what happened to Kim, it was not that way at first, that was only secondary to the story, but about half way through, I wanted to know because I started to not care about the others. I hope you understand that I am not trying to trash the book or author or anything like that, but since you are here and you have us, some avid readers here, I want to share with you how the book really felt to me anyway. Again, I appreciated your answering, I really wasn't looking for a mystery or thriller in this one, but characters written in such a way as to draw me right into each one of them and what this must be like for them. It kind of felt more like a news story instead. I got the idea about what happened, and the general feelings that might be talked about but, well I don't know how else to put it. I just know that about half way through is when I realized this is what was missing for me. Thanks again for your time.
Vivian
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bentley
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Re: Questions for the Editor


Josh_Kendall wrote:


bentley wrote:
One last question, what do you as the editor hope to gain from the First Look experience?What were your objectives and what were O'Nan's? Were they the same or different?


Bentley,
I couldn't speak for Stewart's objectives in participating with First Look. I'll say for myself that, some months back, a co-worker of mine, who sells all of Viking's books to Barnes & Noble, told me about the program and why he thought Stewart's book would be right for it. I trust Glenn, who has one of the most challenging jobs in our business considering the percentage of books that get sold through B&N. Add to this the fact that Glenn's careful with his praise and wise with his advocacy.

I thought Stewart was rather well known and well respected, but there were still serious, engaged readers who had never read him. After 9 or so novels, it's hard for us to know where to enter someone's work--simply put: SONGS FOR THE MISSING seemed like a pretty terrific place to start. It's a graceful, ambitious and heart-felt book, and the sort of engaging yet challenging book I myself wanted to push on any parent or grown child.




Thank you Josh for answering both questions that I had. I appreciate the time that you are spending with us; this is the first Stewart O'Nan book that I have read; but I can promise you it will not be my last. Glenn was once again correct in his assessment. I found this book oddly enough "quietly powerful"; words which in of themselves do not always go together. I really wanted to find out what happened to Kim's family and her friends and realized very soon that her disappearance was going to be the catalyst for their growth or not. My reaction was that this was a sensitive and emotionally charged subject matter and story which were told and explored with a quiet, deliberate and almost forensic like style. The style was so light to the touch that I never even realized that I had become so vested until I completed the last page.

Bentley
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