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grapes
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I think Vivi moving back is not surprising. She is a free spirit. Go when the spirit hits. She's not the one full of fears. Is she?
Grapes
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grapes
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

To Ginny, I think, there childhood and family life seemed perfect, very natural and satisfying. This is why she thinks it was in "perfect balance." Does Vivi feel the same way? Each child in a family looks at the family structure in a different way.
 
What I don't understand is statement about "a snake of upended dominoes."
 
Grapes
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grapes
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Re: Time frame

I believe she has gotten to that point which is totally frightening.
Grapes
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grapes
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

This bothered me the whole time I was reading. Why call them Maude and Clive? I don't get it. There has to be a reason.
 
Grapes
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Amanda-Louise
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Can  she argue? It isn't as though she is living in a house she has purchased.  She's living in a family home, so it's really is their home, not hers.  So, if Vivi says she's coming home, there is no room to question.  However, I, like you, am curious to find out why!


LizzieAnn wrote:
 she meekly accepts her sister's letter & the fact that Vivi is going to move in.  I'm interested into seeing why the narrator is so accepting.
 


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bestfriendjane
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

i'm very interested in the "time" and "balance" themes and am looking forward to the direction they each take.

the tone is delicious keeping me interested and hungry to know more.

jane
"maybe all we can hope to do is end up with the right regrets." arthur miller
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I like that point. I hadn't attended to the old cardy point. Though that also could be from a lack of money to afford new clothes. But I like the idea that it's a comfort relationship with a father figure.

grapes wrote:
I sense anxiety too. I like your thought about OCD. The fact that she is wearing her father's old wool cardy makes me believe she is in need of comfort and security from someone bigger than herself. Wearing clothes worn by people who have shielded us can bring feelings of "real" protection. Why is she so anxious? What happened in her life?



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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grapes
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Yes, that's a possibility too, just keeping warm due to low funds.
Grapes
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

True. But do they decide to move in with those biological parents even before they're met them?

Although these sisters were brought up together, they haven't seen each other since they were quite young women. Wouldn't you want to at least meet the person you'd not seen for nearly fifty years before committing to spending the rest of your life with them? Isn't it a bit like retiring at 65 and then writing to you high school sweetheart and saying you're coming to marry them at last?

grapes wrote:
Hmmm. I think it is realistic. How many adopted children look for their biological parents after years and years have passed? It happens. Something snaps. The past becomes more important than the present in order to live a brighter future or a future filled with more knowledge of their identity.



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Jaelin
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



KxBurns wrote:

In this chapter, the as-yet nameless narrator awaits the arrival of her sister Vivi, who has long been absent from the family home.

What interests me about this opening chapter is that although we appear to find out more about Vivien (she is 68, has been away for 40 years, and fell off the bell tower when she was 9), we do in fact glean some insights into the character of our watchful narrator. Her assessment of herself as generally the more sensible and level-headed sister is in contrast to her obvious anxiety -- i.e. "…I can sense I’m about to be judged," -- and her constant preoccupation with the time (she comments upon Vivi's lateness three times). She comes off as uptight, perhaps eccentric, and reclusive.

Do you attribute this disconnect to the significance of the occasion, or is it an indication that the narrator's own perception of herself may not be reliable? Is her comment "I don’t often look at my reflection" (p. 3) a metaphor for something deeper?

I wonder if/how the concept of time, so prominent in this chapter, will play a role in the separation of the sisters…

I particularly like how the last paragraph sets up the story to come, especially with the sentence: "It's a sequence of events, an inexorable chain reaction, where each small link is fundamental to bring about a whole event like a snake of upended dominoes" (p. 5). And I sure can’t wait to read more about this bell tower incident!

Looking forward to reading your thoughts/observations!

Karen



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-03-2008 01:20 PM


I can see her being eccentric though I can also see her as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  This could explain the preoccupation with time. 
 
As to here appearance that could just be when you are alone who cares what you look like.  Though it could be that since she does live alone that maybe she just doesn't really look at her self mentally since she doesn't live with anyone so who would care even if she did so.
 
This quote about "small links" is actually quite interesting since it seems that in life the small things are the ones we stress over when the big ones we just seem to glide over.  This reminds me of the the quote "...can't see the forest for all the trees."  We look at the small links/events and never realize where they are going to fall in the big picture so they seem so huge and overwhelming to us until we really have to look back and "see" what really happened.
 
 
Jessee
That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

At this point, we don't know who her parents left the home to in their wills. Maybe it's theirs, maybe it's hers. We don't know, do we?

Amanda-Louise wrote:
Can she argue? It isn't as though she is living in a house she has purchased. She's living in a family home, so it's really is their home, not hers.

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



FrankieD wrote:
I wouldn't exactly say that I feel that 1st person narrators are "unreliable"...but I always feel that I'm getting a singular point of view. It would to know what Vivi was thinking on the drive to the house???
                                        FrankieD :smileyhappy:


Yes, I think alot of the mystery would be told if Vivi had a voice here. We do not know how she perceives Ginny or why she was gone so long.
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Eckwell
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I believe that the narrator gives a number of clues to the state of her mental health in this first chapter.  She is obsessed with time, keeping a number of them going so that if one or two fail to function properly she still has the others.  She is also very afraid of being judged, so much so that she cannot look herself in the eye in the mirror.  There appears also to be a disconnect from ther parents as she calls them by their names instead of Mom and Dad.  I also found it odd that she has not seen her sister in 40 years and now Vivi is going to move in with her. 
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



LizzieAnn wrote:
I wonder how much if any contact there has been between these sisters in all those years.  From the narrator's comment that she wonders if she'd recognize her, it's obvious that they haven't seen each other; yet, she meekly accepts her sister's letter & the fact that Vivi is going to move in.  I'm interested into seeing why the narrator is so accepting.
 
The concept of time may also be of importance as we see the narrator's anxious that Vivi's late, yet she remarks how they always waited for Vivi - therefore she's always been late.  Since the narrator's something of a recluse, I'm wondering how she's going to accept and deal with this sister now living in her own closed-off little world.


It does seem even when Ginny and Vivi were younger, Ginny adored Vivi no matter what, so maybe she is a bit skepic but still wants to see her and will accept whatever reason Vivi has for entering her life at this late date.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Everyman wrote:
You've hit a point that bothered me a great deal also. Why haven't these sisters seen each other for so long? And why would Vivi be coming back to stay permanently without a first visit to see whether they were still in any way compatible? What person just decides to move back to a home they left fifty years ago and it seems haven't been back to since? There's no indication that she's broke and needing to move back for financial reasons, or ill and needing care she can't afford.

This aspect of the story seems unrealistic to me. I am willing to suspend disbelief when reasonably required, but I'm finding it hard to swallow this as a realistic way human be




Yes, the opening was strange to me also.  Why all that time passed between them unnoticed.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

This chapter reminded me strongly of Frost's poem, The Death of the Hired Man with its wonderful lines

“Warren,” she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”

“Home,” he mocked gently.

“Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



MelissaW wrote:
I agree that our narrator is nervous and anxious while waiting for her sister to arrive.
 
I also think that she has never left the safety of her home and taken a chance, that life without her sister to lead the way, frightens her.  She's looked through the window and watched others living their lives, but she never made the break herself.
 
The point that Everyman made about the title heading is also very interesting.
 
Melissa


Yes, I get that also. It seems Ginny has never left or not very much. But after all those years, I guess I would be nervous if I hadnt seen my sister. Did she know where she was?
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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

For me, a surprising (and believable) aspect of Ginny's obsession with time is her focus on her sister being 20 minutes late -- after a 50-year absence! I agree with other commenters that Ginny seems already to have lost track of a present-day time frame.
 
I'm also curious about Ginny calling her parents Maud and Clive. Whether it's descriptive of character or setting/period will depend on what Vivi calls them.
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Thayer
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



grapes wrote:
To Ginny, I think, there childhood and family life seemed perfect, very natural and satisfying. This is why she thinks it was in "perfect balance." Does Vivi feel the same way? Each child in a family looks at the family structure in a different way.
 
What I don't understand is statement about "a snake of upended dominoes."
 
Grapes



I don't feel that the phrase "perfect balance" necessarily describes a stable or ideal family. I think it just denotes that Ginny feels as if the sisters roles in the family unit were in tune, and that she felt comfortable growing up in this role.
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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psujulie
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I thought your comment about the details of the glass in the windows is very telling about her life!
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