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applelarae
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Everyman wrote:
 
>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 absolutely agree. When I first picked the book up to start reading it my immediate impression was that I really didn't like the style of writing and I found the first person perspective a bit off putting. It didn't pull me into the story at all. I feel that looking at the first chapter and how Ginny stands at the window apprehensive about the arrival of her sister that she's unwelcoming so the book felt a bit unwelcoming.
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tgem
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

The unnamed narrator of the first chapter states: "I'm not as a rule, an emotional person." (p4) Yet the chapter is full of examples of her emotion.  When she sees her reflection it "..feels more disconcerting than it should..." (p3) She uses the weather as a distraction to keep herself from "..getting slightly anxious." (p3) She states: "I don't feel lonely...I'm glad...a little nervous..." and "... a surge of apprehension is swelling up in my stomach." (p4) Her feeling excited about her sister's arrival surprises her.  She even mentions feelings of the past: the "clammy hands [and] shared anticipation" (p5) during their first day of boarding school.  Are all these feelings expressed within the first 3 pages of the novel an exception to the rule or not?
The description of the house being so cold that her breath turns liquid on the windowpane surprises me.  That and her description of herself with her "lock of gray straggly hair" and wearing her father's "wool caddy," (p3) create a dark, gothic atmosphere.
Someone mentioned the use of the word little in relation to her sister falling and almost dying.  Yes, she does seem off but I hesitate to do armchair diagnosis yet.  Maybe this is part of the page-turner appeal of the first chapter.  If I'm going to consider the possibility of  OCD , then I want to know what this is, so I can keep it mind in the future.  tgem
 
 
 
 
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out


I see I'm late to the party!  There's not much more that I can say that hasn't been already been said except I've been wondering what Ginny would do if things didn't seem balanced to her.  What would she do to make things balance again?  Seems to me she likes things a certain way.  Moving on to Chap 2 to see what you've been talking about there.

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



HannibalCat wrote:

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.


This is a wonderful observation, HannibalCat! Right now the question seems to be, What could have happened to drive such close sisters apart for so many years? But that may not actually be the case at all! It is just too soon for us to say.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



blkeyesuzi wrote:

I would suspect that she is a person of habit. She know every aspect of the old glass and every view from every window. She can see the world from where she is and she can see her sister coming from a distance. I suspect she is a person who isn't willing to wait for the moment she comes to the door, rather she wants to know when she rolls up the drive. There's also an element of control there for her.

Yes, control and habit do figure largely in the life of this character, for whom the world (inside the house, that is) is so small and so well-known. I would add that predictability appears to be pretty necessary to her, as well. It will be interesting to see how she copes with having another inhabitant around the house!
 
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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out


KxBurns wrote:


HannibalCat wrote:

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.


This is a wonderful observation, HannibalCat! Right now the question seems to be, What could have happened to drive such close sisters apart for so many years? But that may not actually be the case at all! It is just too soon for us to say.



yes but why does Ginny see this incident as the beginning? Why would she think thats when they began to not be so close? Even if its always been different, why does Ginny point to this?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



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.  So, if Vivi says she's coming home, there is no room to question.  However, I, like you, am curious to find out why!


I agree -- regardless of whether one or the other rightfully owns the home, it is an ancestral (or at least multi-generational) home place, and therefore is likely a spiritual home to Vivi no matter how long she's been away. I don't get any indication here that the narrator questions her sister's right to return to their family home.
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kellir7
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Chapter 1: Look-out

The narrator's personality so far is very intriguing. I feel like she definitely has some type of mental disorder. It almost seems like it's maybe a type of autism - the way that she tries to interpret people's moods based on their behaviors or their words, but she herself doesn't understand them without analyzation. It will be interesting to see how this character develops, and to find out what really happened in the bell tower!
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



Everyman wrote:
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 don't know -- I think the intimacy between siblings (paticularly those close in age) often endures into adulthood, even if a great deal of time has passed since they were close. It seems to me like one of those relationships where you can always pick up where you left off.
 
Of course, I'm generalizing and we have no idea what the story is between these two siblings. But it did not strike me as odd that they would live together again after such a long time.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



detailmuse wrote:
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.

So true! And yet, the length of the absence could be all the more reason for her to feel impatient at her Vivi's tardiness.
 
It is definitely a possibility that the narrator's fixation on time is a result of her not having a very good internal sense of time passing -- which could be indicative of deeper issues with her mental state.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out


Charlottesweb1 wrote:
 The title of the chapter "The Lookout" fits the narrator to a tee. When the book opens up she is perked at the window awaiting the arrival of her younger sister.
I think one of the reasons the author may have omitted the narrators name in the beginning of the book is to stress how overshadowed the narrator was living in her sisters gregarious shadow.

Great point! The narrator is both literally and figuratively in the shadows in this chapter, and her namelessness is just another way in which she is somewhat invisible in contrast to Vivi.
 
Makes me think of the importance of names and the root of the name Vivien, which is "viv" meaning life/alive -- as in vivacious, vivid, etc. But now I digress...
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:

Charlottesweb1 wrote:
The title of the chapter "The Lookout" fits the narrator to a tee. When the book opens up she is perked at the window awaiting the arrival of her younger sister.
I think one of the reasons the author may have omitted the narrators name in the beginning of the book is to stress how overshadowed the narrator was living in her sisters gregarious shadow.

Great point! The narrator is both literally and figuratively in the shadows in this chapter, and her namelessness is just another way in which she is somewhat invisible in contrast to Vivi.
Makes me think of the importance of names and the root of the name Vivien, which is "viv" meaning life/alive -- as in vivacious, vivid, etc. But now I digress...



Well now speaking on the name, Vivian supposedly comes from the story of King Arthur. Vivian, was the mistress of Merlin, the Lady of the Lake. She gave the sword Excalibur, and when no one was worthy of it any longer, the sword was thrown back to her in the lake for safe keeping. My middle name comes for the extended same story and my mother didnt even know it. :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 03-03-2008 10:11 PM

Message Edited by vivico1 on 03-03-2008 10:12 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



CubbyVet wrote:
 
I also thought that the broken view from the stained glass window might have been a symbol for the POV of th enarrator.  It said that she could only see certain aspects of the town, probably like she could pick and choose what she saw in herself. [emphasis added]


Absolutely! And this is a process that we all engage in to some extent -- it's how we build our sense of identity. However, the narrator's level of self-awareness will influence whether the identity at which she arrives bears any resemblance to reality/what the rest of the world sees, or not.
 
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LyndenMomof2
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

I'm intrigued by everyone's thoughts.  The name:  Lookout, so describes her vantage point and perspective.  And I also agree, what is up with the time issue, so she's 20 minutes late after 50 years, at this point does it really matter?  Although, after being gone for so long, why put an exact time on your final arrival.  Why have they been separated for so long?  What is drawing Vivi home?  The 1st person writing is interesting, you do only get one side of the view but maybe there is something to it.
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CathieS
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Re: Time frame



ELee wrote:
I would tend to agree with you.  She seems very concerned with living her life in actual time.  Oddly, the very reasons she gives for needing to be sure of the correct time - living alone in a house one rarely leaves that is more rarely visited - would seem to be the very reasons why it would not be important to be so conscious of time. 


Her wanting to make sure she was living her life in actual time didn't bother me in the least. About 5 years ago my dad (at age 70) had a medical condition that caused him to colapse.  He was found by a friend and brought to the hospital.  When I arrived the doctor on staff mentioned that, as part of the questioning that went on to try to figure out what was wrong with him, they asked him what day it was and he was a day off.  My comment was I wasn't sure that neccessarily meant anything because he really had no reason to know exactly what day it was.   I guess at that point making sure I knew exactly what day it was became important to me because you just never know what judgement will be made about your condition if you don't know.  I could easily see myself losing track of the days of the week if I wasn't still doing the 'working for the weekend' deal.
 
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out



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:
 
 


I have 4 brothers too (no sisters) and it defitinely would depend on which one came to live.... could be a riotously fun time or the very definition of what drives people to harikari (though I love them all dearly)...  but I agree with Everyman.... I don't know how I would react if any of them just announce the were coming to live.  However,  I don't live in the family home,  so maybe that's why it was just accepted,  maybe the house is still mentally view as the family home and not Ginny's own. 
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grapes
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

Everyman,
 
You definitely have a point, a good point. It is unrealistic to expect the two sisters to want to live together immediately. Neither in other reunions is there a feeling of wanting to come lets play family immediately. So, this is a situation that is becoming odder and odder. You helped me see far deeper.
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

[ Edited ]
 
 
 
Laurel, I definitely get it now. This is so powerful. It's like her whole world is being upended in a matter of minutes.
 


Message Edited by grapes on 03-04-2008 05:15 AM

Message Edited by grapes on 03-04-2008 05:18 AM
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

 
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”
 
These are my favorite lines. I have used the quote, heard the quote and never knew the lines were from a Robert Frost poem. Thank you for the earlier lines as well. So, our narrator really hasn't any choice.
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Re: Chapter 1: Look-out

[ Edited ]
 
"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."
 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
 
Already it doesn't appear like a perfectly balanced family to us, the reader. At the same time to the sisters every member might have seemed in balance except the relationship between themselves. I have the feeling our narrator, in childhood, might have felt uncomfortable with her sister.


Message Edited by grapes on 03-04-2008 05:39 AM

Message Edited by grapes on 03-04-2008 05:48 AM
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