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kiakar
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



noannie wrote:
I feel that Ginny has lived alone for so long she is a recluse and very paranoid of other people. She likes to watch others but does not become involved in anyway with people around her. She is expecting her sister Vivi to judge her when she arrives at the family home. She is very eccentric. This book was a lot darker than I thought it would be, but once you start reading you cannot put it down.
 
noannie


Yes, I agree, most anyone would be a recluse and become paranoid if they never had any kind of life but the insides of a house. She should be batty and then some.
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Thayer
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Everyman wrote:
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.”

Ginny mentions in the first chapter that she has "lived here all  my life and, before me, my mother lived here all her life and, before her, her father and grandfather." It's as if there is never any question as to being anywhere else.
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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pheath
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Re: The Sister Chapter 1: Look-out



HannibalCat wrote:


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.




I won't reveal what the answer to the question is, but it is cleared up by the end of the book.
-Philip
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



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?


Yes, this is bringing alot of questions our way to be answered along the way.
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pheath
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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 think it is the case that the narrator's own perception of herself is not reliable.
-Philip
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vivico1
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Re: The Sister Chapter 1: Look-out


pheath wrote:


HannibalCat wrote:


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.




I won't reveal what the answer to the question is, but it is cleared up by the end of the book.


and so you had to tell us that why?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Amanda-Louise
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Everyman wrote:
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?

 
My knowledge of real estate in the UK is very foggy.  My parents tried to purcahse a farm there, but while they were bidding, a farm came up in Victoria, BC and they didn't want to lose that while still not having the place in England.   So, I'm not entirely certain, but I believe it's quite different from here.  Houses are not passed down in wills, etc..but they are passed down through generations?  Estate homes, not your average country house.  Although, perhaps that too, that's just not where my very limited experience is.  I could be completely wrong and I could google it and try to research, but I'm trying to get through all these posts!
 
In addition, Everyman, what you could be saying is that I'll find out later in the book to whom the home belongs???
 
Amanda
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dordavis33
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Although the narrator sees herself as the more level-headed sister, her actions dictate otherwise..."My face close up to the diamond-shaped leaded panes, keeping lookout." You can feel her heightened sense of anxiety as she wait for her sister, almost child-like and close to neurotic. She is ever aware of the fact that her sister is running late and once again being waited on--just like old times.
Just based off of chapter one, I am dubious that the narrator is a reliable source of information. I think there is so much more to her character, something that may possibly be psychologically unsettling, and I can't wait to find out!!
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Lildove3
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Yes, Viv is very apprehensive of the arrival of her sister. the author does a fine job in actually
making you achieve this feeling. I can relate because toward the end of this month it was way over 10 years ago that I made my way back to the state I was born in.
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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out


Lildove3 wrote:
Yes, Viv is very apprehensive of the arrival of her sister. the author does a fine job in actually
making you achieve this feeling. I can relate because toward the end of this month it was way over 10 years ago that I made my way back to the state I was born in.



you now, this VIV is getting anxious about seeing her name bantered about so much LOL!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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CathyB
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎12-30-2006
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I enjoyed this chapter. 
 
I too see some evidence of OCD - my daughter has a mild degree of
it; however, I will reserve judgement until later.  There is something just
not quite right and I can't put my finger on it.
 
The first person narrative is ok.  It does give a skewed perspective though.
 
Strange that they did not keep in contact for many years.  What drove them apart?
What kept them apart?
 
-CathyB
 
 
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Thayer wrote:
Ginny mentions in the first chapter that she has "lived here all my life and, before me, my mother lived here all her life and, before her, her father and grandfather." It's as if there is never any question as to being anywhere else.

Vivi, of course, is totally the opposite, living all her adult life somewhere else.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Amanda-Louise wrote:
In addition, Everyman, what you could be saying is that I'll find out later in the book to whom the home belongs??

Since I haven't read beyond Chapter 5 yet, I have no idea whether or not we'll find out. We'll have to see! Though I'm not sure whether it's going to be of any importance to the story. I might be barking up a dead and empty tree.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Mary1234
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

It does seem like there is something up with these two sisters. I have 4 sisters myself and sometimes can't figure it all out!!!!
 
Mary
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Amanda-Louise
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Oh!  I totally agree that it is likely of no significance.  I don't think it's too far flung to think that a silbling would be accepted back to the family home.  I can see it being odd for a sister to come and live with a sister who was out on her own, but not so odd to come back to the home you were raised in.  Certainly isn't a situation of there not being enough room in that big house!
 
Amanda


Everyman wrote:

Though I'm not sure whether it's going to be of any importance to the story. I might be barking up a dead and empty tree.


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SweetReaderMA
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I am just as interested to find out why these sisters haven't seen each other in so long and I am wondering if something has happened in Vivi's life that has made her yearn for her sister's closeness as well as the memories of the house she grew up in.  I found it strange, as many others did, that the narrator was waiting for Vivi and looking out the window and that she hadn't even bothered with her appearance at all and doesn't even think of that until Vivi is already at the door.  I also find it odd that the narrator is the older of the two sisters and yet she acts like the younger one in regards to how she has always waited for Vivi to make the move and Vivi was the one who had to have her "tag along".  I can't wait to hear more about the bell tower either.
These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~Gilbert Highet
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

As a counterpoint to the Frost poem I cited earlier, there's the Thomas Wolfe novel YOu Can't Go Home Again.

About twenty years after I left the homestead where I grew up, I returned for a sentimental journey home. It was a huge mistake. The distances that had seemed so vast to me as a child were just a few hundred feet. The enormous field where my friends and I played jungle games in the tall grass was just a lot. The huge tree where I climbed into the sky and built tree forts in the heavens was, even after 20 years more growth, just an ordinary tree, and I could almost touch the remnants of our tree house from the ground. the deep gulley where we had hidden from the adult world and plotted our games and activities was a mere dent in the ground.

I wonder what Vivi will find when she returns after fifty years to where she grew up, whether it will be as she remembers it, or whether all the magic will be gone and it will just be a pedestrian house on a few ill kept acres.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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bookhunter
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Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

So excited to finally be jumping in to discussions!  Hello to everyone--I have not been in the Community Room this time around to keep up with everyone, so I look forward to learning a bit about all you new names.
 
I am enjoying the book, and agree with all of you that have pointed out the narrator's obsession with time and her detachment.  Detachment from parents (who aren't called mom and dad), from a sister she hasn't seen, from the world around her, from her own appearance,...
 
The passage on page 5 that many of you have mentioned about a "childhood in perfect balance" that has somehow changed really made me laugh.  Is there intentional irony on the part of the narrator or the author when she says that it was a series of "small links" and the first one is Vivi almost dying from all fall--that sounds like a rather BIG event.  If that is a small link, then our narrator has a skewed sense of reality or many of BIG events come along that make almost dying seem like just one more domino.  (I am leaning toward skewed sense of reality, myself.)
 
Happy Reading!
Ann, bookhunter (who says THANK YOU MS ADAMS for chapters with titles AND a table of contents!)
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runnybabbit620
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

The author definitely puts a "hook" out in the first chapter and dangles it so that you HAVE to read on to gain more understanding, not only of the events and actions in Chapter 1, but of the whole scenario itself and how returning after a long abscense will work out for the both of them.
 
For someone to be mainly alone as the first-person narrative in the story begins (whether OCD or not), to me, explains how every minute, even the 20 minutes past Vivi's arrival time would be marked as an event, however irritating.
 
I find that this sentence may be a key phrase: "Every minute lost--if left uncorrected--would soon accumulate to an hour, and then houres, until--as you can imagine--you could easily end up living in a completely erroneous time frame"
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darma51
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

At first I found her referring to her parents by first name confusing.  I'm getting used to it.  At this point we don't know too much about Vivian but this sister seems has a few issues.
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