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
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)

Agree so much with what you write here, Eman. I haven't read this entire thread, but I have written elsewhere that choosing how to go on living despite the shadows seems to me one of the deep challenges of life. It is hard enough when those shadows are what has happened; it can be compounded by what could have happened instead. I once met a trained therapy worker who instructed that guilt is the useless emotion. I think the basic message was that the past is in the past; responsibility is to do what you can now, in the present, and in the future. Yet, she was not advocating to deny the past, to avoid accountability, to risk repeating its mistakes, or to not take into account its impact on the present.

I have written elsewhere that I have a friend (a nurse) who views "closure" as psycho babble -- that there is no such thing as closure. While I don't totally agree with her, I think there is insight in her position.



Everyman wrote:
I felt everyone had closure when Kim's body was found.

That might be true if they were able to believe that Wade was the killer. But if one still had questions, wondered whether there was still her killer lurking out there getting away with murder -- would that be closure?

And even if you were persuaded that Wade was the killer, wouldn't you have an underlying late-night searching in your mind to wonder whether Kim's abduction was unavoidable, or whether maybe it was something you as a parent had failed to do which made her vulnerable and led to her death; that if you had done something different, maybe not let her take a job that late, or checked her car more often (if it was a breakdown) or something, she might still be alive today? I don't think I would get past that very quickly.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)



bentley wrote:
From reading the Final Chapters thread and this one; one thing for sure is that most of the readers anyway do not seem to sense any resolution; never mind the characters in the book.

I think maybe that for some of us; this was not just our kind of book. At Disney, they have different exhibits where you can come up with your own ending for a play or production. Everybody seemed to think that this was great fun there. But when you are reading a book, not reaching any resolution in terms of the character development and plot and/or leaving things up in the air for the reader to decide doesn't quite sit the same way for many.

....
Do you think that every book has to have a proper ending and sense of satisfaction?  I liked what you said in your previous post about an author having established a contract with the reader to carry something out (sorry if I misquoted--don't have the post in front of me.)  But can the agreement between writer and reader be "I'm going to make you think about things?"
 
I think there can be books or movies that are "good" precisely BECAUSE they leave you feeling there must be something more.  You leave the experience needing further meditation and discussion on the book, and that is a good thing.  Not all books should have a happily ever after ending.  (Or even an un-happily ever after ending!)
 
Some leave you feeling uncomfortable or with an itch that needs to be scratched or a thought provoking scenario.
 
I am not doing well with thinking of examples.  For one, I was thrown by the ending of Life of Pi.  I wanted ONE more chapter.
 
My middle school son was thrilled to discover the short story this year and the story of "The Lady or the Tiger" (found a link!  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LadyTige.shtml )  that ends before you know which door the character chooses.
 
This book was painful and uncomfortable for me to read, and made me think of things in my own life that I don't want to think about.  It made me worry about all our young adults and the dangers out there and had our family discussing safety concerns and what-if scenarios.
 
But just because it was tough to experience does not make it unworthy of recommendation.
 
Ann, bookhunter
Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)

Our discussions here about contracts with the reader, the kinds of detail that should be included, and the completeness of the resolution that should be devised, remind me of the great dissension in the art world when the Impressionists began to show their work. They were dismissed by the ruling galleries and dealers, and vilified by the important critics of their day. They had difficulty finding any place that would show their work. It simply was considered ’wrong’ both in subject matter and most importantly in the soft, less than lifelike way subjects were depicted.  

I’m not an art historian, but my surprise at learning that not everyone was taken by the beauty of this new way of painting when it first appeared has always stuck with me. I try to remember when I struggle with new things that my first reactions are not necessarily the way I - or the rest of the world - will come down on the question when some time has passed. Many painters who were admired in the period before the Impressionists are now considered sentimental and derivative. (In modern reading, I had a terrible time with the first book of Isabel Allende’s that I read; just couldn’t get into the mixing of the everyday with the mystical. Now I understand the genre better and I enjoy it.)

It just seems to me that those of us who have been around a long time and begin to believe we have seen the best of everything might be well advised to keep an open mind to the great new talents that may be coming down the pike. Hey, I seem to recall that I didn’t like dry red wine the first time I tried it.

Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)

[ Edited ]

bookhunter wrote:


bentley wrote:
From reading the Final Chapters thread and this one; one thing for sure is that most of the readers anyway do not seem to sense any resolution; never mind the characters in the book.

I think maybe that for some of us; this was not just our kind of book. At Disney, they have different exhibits where you can come up with your own ending for a play or production. Everybody seemed to think that this was great fun there. But when you are reading a book, not reaching any resolution in terms of the character development and plot and/or leaving things up in the air for the reader to decide doesn't quite sit the same way for many.

....
Do you think that every book has to have a proper ending and sense of satisfaction?  I liked what you said in your previous post about an author having established a contract with the reader to carry something out (sorry if I misquoted--don't have the post in front of me.)  But can the agreement between writer and reader be "I'm going to make you think about things?"
 
I think there can be books or movies that are "good" precisely BECAUSE they leave you feeling there must be something more.  You leave the experience needing further meditation and discussion on the book, and that is a good thing.  Not all books should have a happily ever after ending.  (Or even an un-happily ever after ending!)
 
Some leave you feeling uncomfortable or with an itch that needs to be scratched or a thought provoking scenario.
 
I am not doing well with thinking of examples.  For one, I was thrown by the ending of Life of Pi.  I wanted ONE more chapter.
 
My middle school son was thrilled to discover the short story this year and the story of "The Lady or the Tiger" (found a link!  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LadyTige.shtml )  that ends before you know which door the character chooses.
 
This book was painful and uncomfortable for me to read, and made me think of things in my own life that I don't want to think about.  It made me worry about all our young adults and the dangers out there and had our family discussing safety concerns and what-if scenarios.
 
But just because it was tough to experience does not make it unworthy of recommendation.
 
Ann, bookhunter





No, there are some great books which go on after they should have ended (War and Peace for example). No, I also did not say that all books must have a happily ever after ending either. There are books that I have read that have made me feel very uncomfortable; but I read them anyways, and thought they were great! (The Road by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men by McCarthy as well)

And the McCarthy books are not good feeling types of books by a long shot. I loved the Life of Pi as well and reviewed that awhile ago. SFTM is not in the same league (MHO) as any of the books that I have mentioned above. For me, it was a three star read at best and I try to be extremely fair.

When I made my comments, I was very specific about what bothered me about O'Nan's plot and character development. Without Kim's disappearance there would have been no book. O'Nan's secrecy about what happened to Kim for me is curious; especially when he was simply asked about it on this board and very politely refused to involve us in his thinking process; I am sure that there were some high level outline details that he could have enlightened the reader with; but chose not to.

It was a frustrating final third of the book; the frustration was not the topic; but with the author and the rushed ending. O'Nan has a lot of talent which is remarkable in his sentence structure and imagery; so naturally one can be disappointed as I was. BTW: there appear to be others who also share similar views which they are entitled to and I respect those as I do yours. Finally, tough to experience does not mean that a book is not an exceptional literary experience; and that had nothing to do with my evaluation (strictly my own opinion) of this book; which frankly did not strike a cord with me. (I was honestly very emotionally removed from the story due to the flat character development). No pathos here.

However, I am very sympathetic and have great sympathy for real life situations such as the one alluded to as I can see that you are and have.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-23-2008 10:35 AM
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)

[ Edited ]

BookWoman718 wrote:

Our discussions here about contracts with the reader, the kinds of detail that should be included, and the completeness of the resolution that should be devised, remind me of the great dissension in the art world when the Impressionists began to show their work. They were dismissed by the ruling galleries and dealers, and vilified by the important critics of their day. They had difficulty finding any place that would show their work. It simply was considered ’wrong’ both in subject matter and most importantly in the soft, less than lifelike way subjects were depicted.  

I’m not an art historian, but my surprise at learning that not everyone was taken by the beauty of this new way of painting when it first appeared has always stuck with me. I try to remember when I struggle with new things that my first reactions are not necessarily the way I - or the rest of the world - will come down on the question when some time has passed. Many painters who were admired in the period before the Impressionists are now considered sentimental and derivative. (In modern reading, I had a terrible time with the first book of Isabel Allende’s that I read; just couldn’t get into the mixing of the everyday with the mystical. Now I understand the genre better and I enjoy it.)

It just seems to me that those of us who have been around a long time and begin to believe we have seen the best of everything might be well advised to keep an open mind to the great new talents that may be coming down the pike. Hey, I seem to recall that I didn’t like dry red wine the first time I tried it.






I do not think that the example of the Impressionists has anything to do with what folks are having problems with in this book. I do not like participating in a reading experiment either where the reader has even less details than Fran and Ed. In fact, they at least did have contact with the police and heard about Wade and were involved with a conversation at the very least; which frankly the readers were not invited to. We just heard that they did not buy the story or the details whatever they may have been; then there is the broken key, allusions to gas cans, dented front end, Wade killing himself and a sparkie (please give the intelligent reader a break; why should they even know LESS than the characters). Without Kim's disappearance, there would have been no book!

BTW: I love the Impressionists. And a difficult read like James Joyce or other great talents does not even equate in my humble opinion to SFTM. I feel that the former are truly great.

How apt to try to pass off an average read as just not understandable by the masses; and if you only understood then you would be let into the group of the intelligentsia who "get" the book's intentions. I might add that I understand personally what O'Nan was trying to accomplish and his experiment. But I do not appreciate the end result as being anything outstanding; just an average effort.

Mr. O'Nan has been quite clear and very polite and gracious in his explanation of the donut hole example. Everyone understands him perfectly; but it does not mean that we all have the same reactions to this book; btw: if you have time to read the other threads; I believe there are countless others who feel much more strongly than I do. The book was just OK for all of the reasons that I have detailed elsewhere. This is just my personal opinion. And I love red wine too (especially Margauxs); but I do not think that SFTM would grow on me or that I would get used to it like wine or sushi.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-23-2008 10:39 AM
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)

I do not think that the example of the Impressionists has anything to do with what folks are having problems with in this book.

I have to agree. It was an interesting comparison, but in the end I don't think it works.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I agree that acceptance is as far as these characters can go.  There are too many unanswered and unresolved questions to approach closure.
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)



bentley wrote:

bookhunter wrote:


bentley wrote:
From reading the Final Chapters thread and this one; one thing for sure is that most of the readers anyway do not seem to sense any resolution; never mind the characters in the book.

I think maybe that for some of us; this was not just our kind of book.....
...This book was painful and uncomfortable for me to read, and made me think of things in my own life that I don't want to think about.  It made me worry about all our young adults and the dangers out there and had our family discussing safety concerns and what-if scenarios.
 
But just because it was tough to experience does not make it unworthy of recommendation.
 
Ann, bookhunter


...When I made my comments, I was very specific about what bothered me about O'Nan's plot and character development. Without Kim's disappearance there would have been no book. O'Nan's secrecy about what happened to Kim for me is curious; especially when he was simply asked about it on this board and very politely refused to involve us in his thinking process; I am sure that there were some high level outline details that he could have enlightened the reader with; but chose not to.

It was a frustrating final third of the book; the frustration was not the topic; but with the author and the rushed ending. O'Nan has a lot of talent which is remarkable in his sentence structure and imagery; so naturally one can be disappointed as I was. BTW: there appear to be others who also share similar views which they are entitled to and I respect those as I do yours. Finally, tough to experience does not mean that a book is not an exceptional literary experience; and that had nothing to do with my evaluation (strictly my own opinion) of this book; which frankly did not strike a cord with me. (I was honestly very emotionally removed from the story due to the flat character development). No pathos here.

However, I am very sympathetic and have great sympathy for real life situations such as the one alluded to as I can see that you are and have.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-23-2008 10:35 AM

(pardon my snipping of much of our discussion)
 
Bentley,  I always enjoy your thoughts and comments in these discussions, and even more so when we disagree! :smileywink: You and others have very valid points about the weaknesses in Mr. O'Nan's character development, and I can understand why you want to know exactly what happened to Kim.
 
I think I have perhaps taken this book a little too personally and took it upon myself to fill in gaps that bothered you and others.  I didn't need any character development because I WAS the characters!  If this book had involved people and situations not so close to my own, I would not have felt the emotional connection.
 
Thank you for always eloquently stating your case, and I apologize if this is one post too many on the topic!  This thread is called RESOLUTION, after all! :smileyvery-happy:
 
Ann, bookhunter
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution (Everyday People)


bookhunter wrote:


bentley wrote:

bookhunter wrote:


bentley wrote:
From reading the Final Chapters thread and this one; one thing for sure is that most of the readers anyway do not seem to sense any resolution; never mind the characters in the book.

I think maybe that for some of us; this was not just our kind of book.....
...This book was painful and uncomfortable for me to read, and made me think of things in my own life that I don't want to think about.  It made me worry about all our young adults and the dangers out there and had our family discussing safety concerns and what-if scenarios.
 
But just because it was tough to experience does not make it unworthy of recommendation.
 
Ann, bookhunter


...When I made my comments, I was very specific about what bothered me about O'Nan's plot and character development. Without Kim's disappearance there would have been no book. O'Nan's secrecy about what happened to Kim for me is curious; especially when he was simply asked about it on this board and very politely refused to involve us in his thinking process; I am sure that there were some high level outline details that he could have enlightened the reader with; but chose not to.

It was a frustrating final third of the book; the frustration was not the topic; but with the author and the rushed ending. O'Nan has a lot of talent which is remarkable in his sentence structure and imagery; so naturally one can be disappointed as I was. BTW: there appear to be others who also share similar views which they are entitled to and I respect those as I do yours. Finally, tough to experience does not mean that a book is not an exceptional literary experience; and that had nothing to do with my evaluation (strictly my own opinion) of this book; which frankly did not strike a cord with me. (I was honestly very emotionally removed from the story due to the flat character development). No pathos here.

However, I am very sympathetic and have great sympathy for real life situations such as the one alluded to as I can see that you are and have.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-23-2008 10:35 AM

(pardon my snipping of much of our discussion)
 
Bentley,  I always enjoy your thoughts and comments in these discussions, and even more so when we disagree! :smileywink: You and others have very valid points about the weaknesses in Mr. O'Nan's character development, and I can understand why you want to know exactly what happened to Kim.
 
I think I have perhaps taken this book a little too personally and took it upon myself to fill in gaps that bothered you and others.  I didn't need any character development because I WAS the characters!  If this book had involved people and situations not so close to my own, I would not have felt the emotional connection.
 
Thank you for always eloquently stating your case, and I apologize if this is one post too many on the topic!  This thread is called RESOLUTION, after all! :smileyvery-happy:
 
Ann, bookhunter





Thank you for your words. I can understand what you said happened while reading this book. I think the book hit some and missed others. Resolution would be a tough word for this book; I agree. It is always amazing to me how folks can read the same book and feel so differently; but they do. I was rather unattached to any of the characters myself but I can understand only too well how this can happen. When I outlined the logic flow for the novel as I was reading it; I put aside and documented the details for each and every character; open ended details and questions were put together on one side like in a parking lot. Usually by the end of the novel, those open ended details/questions are moved elsewhere where there is a connection. In this case and with this novel, that did not happen. I think the book made me uncomfortable because the reader (from MHO) felt like a voyeur peeking in the window and catching just glimpses or bits and pieces of what had or was transpiring. I felt we knew less than Fran and Ed by the end. I think that for you the book struck a note which resonated with you or your life, your family or even maybe some of your fears about these kind of events. Goodness knows we hear too much about these kind of disappearances which are so devastating to the families; and so final for the poor victims.
Inspired Contributor
katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

For those who disliked the ending of Songs, I just finished Losing You, by Nicci French. The treatment and resolution of a story about the same subject were quite different, and you might appreciate it more:
http://yourehistory.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/its-a-mystery-losing-you-by-nicci-french/
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I don't think you have closure here as much as you have a resignation to the event.  KIm's parents resign themselves to her death.  There will always be a part of them that will remember exactly when everything changed.  Many people in various threads have stated they felt the ending was somehow incomplete.  I personally do not know how the Larsens will ever be complete again with an incomplete family.  There will always be the empty chair, the unanswered questions and a longing.  Kim's friends go on with their lives.  Lindsay goes the furthest emotionally and geographically in her quest to move past the summer. 

KxBurns wrote:
The real topic of this thread is closure, but I didn't want to give anything away by using that word on the schedule...
 
Is it possible for anyone to have closure in this situation, or is acceptance the best for which they can hope? If it is possible, who in your opinion achieves it? What are some of the individual turning points that precipitate acceptance or closure for various characters?
 
-Karen



bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution



bmbrennan wrote:
I don't think you have closure here as much as you have a resignation to the event.  KIm's parents resign themselves to her death.  There will always be a part of them that will remember exactly when everything changed.  Many people in various threads have stated they felt the ending was somehow incomplete.  I personally do not know how the Larsens will ever be complete again with an incomplete family.  There will always be the empty chair, the unanswered questions and a longing.  Kim's friends go on with their lives.  Lindsay goes the furthest emotionally and geographically in her quest to move past the summer. 

KxBurns wrote:
The real topic of this thread is closure, but I didn't want to give anything away by using that word on the schedule...
 
Is it possible for anyone to have closure in this situation, or is acceptance the best for which they can hope? If it is possible, who in your opinion achieves it? What are some of the individual turning points that precipitate acceptance or closure for various characters?
 
-Karen





Terrific insights, and I think your use of the word "resignation" is apt. Thanks!
Contributor
juliejon
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I agree.  With tragedies of this sort, family members, friends and all who have some connection to the event move in a fog throughout the process..denial, fear, hope, anger, etc. the acceptance has not come yet, despite word to the contrary.  I think that each character in the story experiences his or her own loss of what they had assumed was reality to a redefining of their  lives and reality. 
 
Such is the resolution.  Very often we expect a "TV" ending but, in actuality, there is never a simple or logical conclusion.  It is what it is..we will never know what really did or did not happen.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book for that very reason.  We got to peek into the lives of each of these characters for a discreet time in their lives....a seminal time.  I will read it again.
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 44 members 264 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: