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lcnh1
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I was also curious why Vivi would be coming home after a 50-year absence.  I wonder what happened in Vivi's life that would make her not want to come home.
 
I'm also not sure what to think of the narrator's perspective.  Something must have happened in the past that we will hopefully learn about.  What perspctive are we going to hear though?  Ginny's perspective only or Vivi's perspective told through Ginny.  In any case, the truth might be somewhere in between. 
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ginger81
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Sorry. I got the sisters confused. I meant to say that Ginny is the one who seems to always have been on the outside looking in.
 
GW
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vivico1
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Re: The Sister Chapter 1: Look-out

Speaking on that last paragraph, page 5, about separating being not a single act but a chain of events,like dominoes falling, what interests me is her saying, if your looking for the first one to push it off, (the first domino) it had to be when Vivi fell off the bell tower. Now if this is the starting event of them separating, why? Wouldn't that bring you closer together rather than be a reason for separating? So, something (rings) suspicious to me about that.

The phrase "a childhood in perfect balance", I think could be a metaphor too but at this point I don't want to put too much into it until I see, because we have another British writer here dont we? And they have certain phrases we do not. My friend in England, always says when we play a game and are even, that we are level. I always give her a hard time, saying well I know I am level, but in this game we are EVEN! lol, so it could just be a way of phrasing something like "it was a good childhood, what it should be".

Depending on the writing, I sometimes prefer 1st person narrator and don't always take it as unreliable. It is as reliable as the author wants it to be. Some are the exact truth of things, here tho, we will see because this woman is alone, a bit off, definitely obsessive, compulsive (the watches and time) and it may become very interesting to see the world through her eyes.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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HannibalCat
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Re: The Sister Chapter 1: Look-out



Peppermill wrote:
I am curious as to which sister is going to turn out to be "The Sister" of the title -- or whether that will remain ambiguous.




I have the same question. I am seeing her as the sister right now. But - I don't know. I'll just have to keep reading.
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fordmg
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Oh, I'm going to have trouble with this - when it was stated that we would start with chapters 1-5, I read them as a unit.  Now I have to go back and separate by chapter.  The first chapter is so short, it is difficult to analyse it alone.  Basically we get an introduction to setting of the story.  Age of the sisters, haven't seen each other for 50 years - narrator identifies her parents by their first names.  I had trouble at first figuring out who Clive was because I didn't realize she was using first names.  It appears that the narrator is a bib old fashioned.  She is consumed by her immediate environment, and doesn't externalize well.  We wonder what she has been doing through her adult life. 
 
Time seems to be important to the narrator, but she doesn't give us any idea of what she does with her time to make it important.  Even though she says she is the sensible sister, I think that is a delusion.  She doesn't seem to experience life
 
MG
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



fordmg wrote:
Oh, I'm going to have trouble with this - when it was stated that we would start with chapters 1-5, I read them as a unit.  Now I have to go back and separate by chapter.  The first chapter is so short, it is difficult to analyse it alone.  Basically we get an introduction to setting of the story.  Age of the sisters, haven't seen each other for 50 years - narrator identifies her parents by their first names.  I had trouble at first figuring out who Clive was because I didn't realize she was using first names.  It appears that the narrator is a bib old fashioned.  She is consumed by her immediate environment, and doesn't externalize well.  We wonder what she has been doing through her adult life. 
 
Time seems to be important to the narrator, but she doesn't give us any idea of what she does with her time to make it important.  Even though she says she is the sensible sister, I think that is a delusion.  She doesn't seem to experience life
 
MG



I read it as a unit too and am having a little trouble breaking it down by individual chapter. It's helpful to have the book in front of you as you're reading the boards, I guess!
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

That's exactly how I read it, Paula.

paula_02912 wrote:
Everyman wrote: "What do people make of the comment that their childhood was "in perfect balance"? (page 5) I don't know what this phrase might mean -- what is an unbalanced childhood? What is she implying? Why is this point made here?"

Everyman, I think that their childhood being "in perfect balance" could mean that their lives were intertwined and one of give and take...they balanced each other out in the sense that they were both different sides of the same coin, so to speak...one was more serious (heads) and the other more playful (tails)...just a thought...it could also mean that they were in a home with a nuclear family, both parents playing the typical role that is expected...just tossing out ideas here...


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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HannibalCat
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Everyman wrote:
What do people make of the comment that their childhood was "in perfect balance"? (page 5) I don't know what this phrase might mean -- what is an unbalanced childhood? What is she implying? Why is this point made here?




I think that she thinks everything was all right. But we can see that is was not, or at least is not now. I think problems in her personality are poking their heads out. There is an awful lot of information in those first pages. The fun is in speculating and finding out how correct or incorrect we are.

The perfect balance is that even though she was the elder child she was content to let the younger be in the lead. She was content to follow. Her fear that we are speculating about, was there as a child and she followed someone she thought was in control. She thinks Vivi's fall was the first step in their separation, but I don't think they were as connected as she thinks they were. Perhaps she saw herself as an extension of her sister, rather than her own person.
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cocospals
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I think the "anxiety" that the narrator feels may be overjudged.  How would we feel awaiting a sister (or brother) who we have not seen for 40 years. I think I would be hiding behind the curtains to see how this "stranger" looked , how they arrived, etc.  I feel the author is calling their parents by their first names is just for ease of reading. What did strike me in this chapter is the graphic description on page 4 of the window and the droplets on the window and how if one looks a certain way that the glass distorts the view. This observation is almost childlike, you know how kids will move their heads back and forth when looking thru a distorted view just for the fun of it. I get that same impression.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

That struck me, too. I think that's more an English thing, but still, it suggests a distance within the family that, doesn't it?

MelissaW wrote:
I also wondered why Ginny and Vivian called their parents by first name and not Mom and Dad.



_______________
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Countrygirl
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

[ Edited ]
I think this is the first time in a long time she looked at her self and realzied that she has sort of stopped living she dose not leave the house and has not conntact with the outside world.  Her sister is out there living and doing things I think she a little worried about what her sister is going to say and think about this.


Message Edited by Countrygirl on 03-03-2008 02:48 PM
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out


>my first thoughts of the book were how well it's written.

At least for the time being, and I'm only through Chapter 5, I didn't find it that well written. It reads for me more like something written by a person who has read a number of books on writing and is trying hard to comply with their instructions rather than just writing out a story. But we'll have to see as the book progresses.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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paula_02912
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

countrygirl wrote: "I think this is the first time in a long time she looked at her self and realzied that she has sort of stopped living she dose not leave the house and has not conntact with the outside world. Her sister is out there living and doing things I think she a little worried about what her sister is going to say and think about this."

Countrygirl, I like this reading...makes you wonder at what point did she "stop living." I also think that her worrying could indicate what you suggest, but it could also indicate that she is worried because so many years has gone by and she may just be apprehensive about seeing her sister...makes you wonder why Vivi stayed away so long...was Ginny instrumental in her leaving?
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

paige wrote: "I also get the sense that our narrator is anxious and nevus about the arrival of her sister. Why isn't she waiting at the front door rather than "hiding" behind a window.'

Paige, I get the sense that Ginny has spent her life "hiding" and is fearful of what she might learn if she is "found." Do you think that she was successful in hiding? Doesn't Vivi find her anyway?
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

Author Unknown
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MsMorninglight
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Registered: ‎01-21-2008
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Our narrator most definitely sounds like she might be a recluse.  The lines:  "she said, we ought to be keeping each other company for the rest of our lives, rather than dying lonely and alone. Well, I'll tell you now, I don't feel lonely and I certainly don't feel as if I'm dying but even so I'm glad she's coming home."  Seem to best describe her feelings.  She wants to see her sister again, but could certainly have lived on perfectly well, without Vivi stepping back into her world.
 
I think, after so many years, I would feel the same.  But, I think once we find out more about the the two sisters & their differences, we will better know better if her angst is simply because she's happy living alone, or perhaps due TO their differences. 
 
Having 4 brothers and with all our differences, I'm not sure, I'd jump at the chance of having them come live with me after so many years! :smileywink:
 
 



"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James
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krb2g
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I think the use of "Maud" and "Clive" instead of "Mom" and "Dad" is symptomatic of the same estrangement with and alienation from her family that the narrator shows when we learn that she has not spoken with her sister for fifty years. These facts (as well as the fact that, as someone pointed out, she's sitting at home waiting instead of cleaning or getting ready in some way other than in her mind) make me at least a little wary of our narrator.
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pandora020105
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I was intrigued by this story from the beginning because of the element of estrangement in families. To me that element has a personal connection: my grandmother on my father's side as well as her sister (who has now passed on) had an estranged relationship with their brother, my uncle Max and his wife both who have also passed)for my entire life...neither of them even attended the funerals. They all had been very close at one time before I was born..and then something happened (really stupid thing to break up a family I assure you) and suddenly they stopped talking to each other...which put a hardship on my family because he was like a father to my dad (they never had children of their own and my dad's father died a long time ago) and like a grandfather and to me and my siblings. So for years we had multiple holidays and it was very hard...I didn't see my grandmother for several months after Max died and his wife came to stay with us until she passed a few months later. I never really understood why or how this could happen to families so as I said this personal element really intrigued me. As I started to read I immediately got the sense though that what caused this estrangement would be far worse in nature that what had happened in my own family.

The other that really struck me in this first chapter is the statement on page 4
"When you live by yourself in a house that you very rarely leave and is even more rarely visited, it's essential that you don't lose track of time." It struck me for two reasons: one that I would think the complete opposite...that if that had no where to be and no schedule to follow and no one or nothing depending on me I would just live and not care what time it was at all. The other reason was related to her other statement about not feeling lonely and yet she has no one really until Vivi comes back so that right off tells me something wasn't quite right about her..all human beings by nature are social...those who choose to cut themselves off from society generally have deep set problems.

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. Jorge Luis Borges
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Agorophobia keeps coming to my mind--about Ginny, not about me!

from Wikipedia:

'Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder which primarily consists of the fear of certain settings that may present unexpected challenges or demands. These could include parking lots, shoppings malls or restaurants. The social consequences of having a panic attack or losing control in public often becomes an additional source of fear in its own right. As a result, severe sufferers of agoraphobia may become confined to their homes, experiencing difficulty traveling from this "safe place."'



MsMorninglight wrote:
Our narrator most definitely sounds like she might be a recluse. The lines: "she said, we ought to be keeping each other company for the rest of our lives, rather than dying lonely and alone. Well, I'll tell you now, I don't feel lonely and I certainly don't feel as if I'm dying but even so I'm glad she's coming home." Seem to best describe her feelings. She wants to see her sister again, but could certainly have lived on perfectly well, without Vivi stepping back into her world.
I think, after so many years, I would feel the same. But, I think once we find out more about the the two sisters & their differences, we will better know better if her angst is simply because she's happy living alone, or perhaps due TO their differences.
Having 4 brothers and with all our differences, I'm not sure, I'd jump at the chance of having them come live with me after so many years! :smileywink:



"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Laurel wrote: "Agorophobia keeps coming to my mind--about Ginny, not about me!"

Laurel, I know this very well...I had it for a while after being hospitalized for a while...I didn't think of it in terms of Ginny though...it would definitely put a different spin on how I read her character and her pov...then it makes you wonder how reliable she is as a narrator, harking back to Karen's question...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

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MSaff
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

This short chapter made me want to read more. Our narrator seems skiddish about seeing her sister again, although most people might be after 40 years apart. It seems that she wants to prepare herself before their face-to-face meeting. I think she is a bit of a recluse - we will see.
 
Mike
Mike
"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
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