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
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Now that we have finished the "Saturday" chapters, what would you all say has developed over the course of this day? Although it seems like not much at all happens since there is little interaction between the sisters, I think quite a bit is going on inside Ginny's head. Maybe we can trace her state of mind over the course of the day through the memories that she recalls. If you were to use the progression of Ginny's recollections to guess at her mental state, what would you imagine to be going on? She is tackling some very difficult memories, no? How is she holding up in real time?
 
Or, alternatively, do you believe that Ginny has indeed reached the point of the "endless Now" that she so fears on Saturday morning?
 
Karen
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Now that we are deep into the book, I think it's a good time to look back at the passage in which Ginny describes the contributions of her ancestors, on pages 9 and 10. Do you think the Kendal family heritage has had any bearing on the story thus far, or has the impact of Maud's family been blotted out as completely as their possessions?
 
Karen
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Bonnie824 wrote:
I think one reason there are more questions than answers and things seem quite confusing is that we are reading this from the POV of Ginny, who is at least mentally ill if not autistic. Every scene and every action from others is only interpreted as much as she would be able. Not a whole lot.
 
I actually found it quite amazing that a writer, who is I assume socially typical, could capture the thinking of someone who doesn't get the overall picture so well.


That is something to think about, a author that can capture the meaning and thinking of someone that is supposingly mental in some way. And she never mentions this, as just to blirt it out at us, we catch this with the way she has written Ginny. That is amazing when you think on it.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Did any one notice the similarity in names (see link)? Do the story parallels go deeper still?

http://www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk/moth1.htm


KxBurns wrote:
Now that we are deep into the book, I think it's a good time to look back at the passage in which Ginny describes the contributions of her ancestors, on pages 9 and 10. Do you think the Kendal family heritage has had any bearing on the story thus far, or has the impact of Maud's family been blotted out as completely as their possessions?
Karen


"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
Contributor
GinMarie
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-30-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



umlaut wrote:
Chapter 14: Vivien's Day Out
-- The story has now taken a turn for the worse, it has now begun to sound a lot like a Soap Opera, which needs filler. This surrogate issue has been done so many times, that i was not at all surprise but sadden to see this author bring this up. I do have concluded this author (Adams) needs to seriously spend more time with her thoughts, friends or editor and refine her work. Over all the story sounded very promising with the sisters being apart for so long, however she has lost most of her touch as the book has progressed. This book will not be recommended.

I agree with you.  This book has more questions than answers.  I felt confused and unsatisfied while reading it.  For a while I couldn't figure out if the author was writing a treatise on moths or a novel.  It will not be recommended by me either
When you get to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on. Eleanor Roosevelt
Frequent Contributor
carriele
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Everyman wrote:
In the picture, Vivi appears visibly pregnant. We know this cannot happen due to circumstances described much earlier in the book, so how can this be? Maybe this is to cover up for the fact that Ginny plans to be a surrogate to Vivi for a child for Vivi and Arthur? Vivi could have constructed a makeshift "bump" to make it look like she was carrying a child while she and Arthur lived in London.

That's what I assumed, so they would have pictures to show the relatives and child to prove it was really Vivi's. We have to recall that this was probably in the 1950s, before surrogate parenting became at least somewhat acceptable. They probably felt it was still necessary to hide the reality.


I happen to be reading The Handmaid's Tale simultaneously with this book.  In it, there is a section that describes a ceremony that all the handmaids attend when one of them is about to give birth.  It goes on in some detail about how some of the handmaids will actually start to have labor pains, leaking breastmilk, etc as a psychological/physiological  response to the ceremony.  Lately, some consideration has also been given to men who put on weight and experience "cravings" throughout their wives pregnancies.  I am probably taking a leap here, but maybe Vivi is having a similar reaction?  She is so consumed with Ginny's pregnancy, that she is symptomatic.
 
Carrie E.
Frequent Contributor
carriele
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16


 



pigwidgeon wrote:

What did Ginny ever do to The Village People? steal the Native American's headdress? the construction worker's orange vest? Did she "go" in the pool at the YMCA? They always seemed like nice young men (Young men, are you listenin' to me? I said, young men, what do you wanna be?) Who knew..... :smileywink:

(Soooo sorry about that! I couldn't resist. I'm laughing and you're all probably rolling your eyes and "tsk-ing" :smileyvery-happy: )


Well, if we can't find much humor in the book, we can always count on you for some :smileyvery-happy:
Carrie E.
Frequent Contributor
SleightGirl
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I think I just assumed that when Maude said that Ginny ruined her life that it was because Maude was then stuck with Clive.  They are such a different and odd couple, I wonder if Maude would have stayed with him if she didn't have the child to worry about.  During that time, if one got pregnant (premaritally), then the only option was to get married whether one wanted to or not.  I think Maude had to give up a lot of who she was to stay with Clive.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



KxBurns wrote:


no4daughter wrote:
I also agree with several others who believe that Clive pushed Maud down the stairs. His breathing was heavy and he looked at the floor instead of at Ginny. He again refused to look at Ginny when he told her of his retirement. I wonder if something happened or was discussed earlier that day when they went out together (were they really on a "picnic" or did they just tell Ginny that) to make Clive want to kill her.

I think he took Maud out for a picnic because he really did love her but he already knew, after the previous night's incident, that he had to put her and Ginny out of their misery by killing her (Maud). I saw it as a farewell.



I saw the picnic the same way. A last pleasant time together, a good-bye, letting her go with a good memory of a nice time together. The picnic was apparently so atypical that I couldn't see its connection with the death as a random event. They seemed to me to be interconnected.

What I can't forgive is Clive sending Ginny down the stairs to see whether Maud was really dead. How could a parent do that to a child?

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
niknak13
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



no4daughter wrote:
 
It was clear to me after Clive tossed away the testtube that his rescue of Ginny was anything but a coincidence.  As mentioned by Vivi at one point, nothing that goes on in the house gets past Clive, even Ginny's pregnancy.  When Ginny tells Clive that she is pregnant he simply says, "Very good."
 
 



I also think that Clive either pushed Maud down the stairs or at least aided in her fall by directing her to that doorway.  He was too organized with the details of the estate and his move.  And I am sure that he knew Maud was hurting Ginny.  I think that the testtube was his "prop" to rush in and save her.  Unless I missed something, I don't think that we are told that anyone (besides Clive) saw the tube glowing.  I don't think that it contained his research and that is why he had no problem tossing it in the sink and why Arthur made sure that he ran the water to wash it out.  They didn't want Ginny to discover what it wasn't and to ask questions.
 
I also agree that the picture of Vivi and Arthur was just a photo of the couple with Vivi faking her pregnancy so everyone (especially the child) would be convinced the baby was really hers.
 
What I am dreading is that I am pretty sure that the pregnancy goes wrong or that the child dies.  I suppose it could even be as an adult that Arthur's child dies, but I am sure he or she is no longer alive.  Earlier in the book when Ginny is talking about selling the furniture and contents of the home she mentions that Ginny and Vivi are the end of the line.  There isn't anymore family.  pg. 33 "She thinks there's a legacy to continue, poor woman, but it's all over now.  Vivien and I are the end of the line, there is no future generation."
Frequent Contributor
niknak13
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



KxBurns wrote:
I also think Ginny's reaction to the photo is really curious -- she is shocked that she "can't remember this photo ever being taken." Why would she remember it when she wasn't there? She really has trouble understanding that things happen outside of her own point of view. It's like when you play peekaboo with an infant and he/she thinks you've really disappeared just because they cannot see you; similarly, I feel like Ginny lacks this function of object permanence.


Great point!!!

Contributor
darma51
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I so totally agree with you, these chapters read like a soap opera.  Viv exhibits the traits of a classic "enabler" who lives in an alcoholic nightmare.  She is a "battered daughter" so suffers the effects of domestic violence.  She is trying to take care of so many people in so many different ways it's a wonder she doesn't have a nervous breakdown!  or does she?  Ginny is totally selfish in all of this.  She doesn't want to live there anymore, she doesn't visit - yet she calls and riles up Maud, she wants Viv to have her baby, it's all about Ginny.
Frequent Contributor
SweetReaderMA
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Chapter 14

It was a huge mystery to me about Vivi's pregnancy with the whole bell tower incident. Then again, stranger things have happened in life. If Vivi really was pregnant, I have a feeling the baby didn't survive, otherwise, why didn't she mention it to her sister?

It was interesting to see Ginny start to have emotions after the first few times of having sex with Arthur. They still weren't the typical ones you would expect of someone in that situation but still.


Chapter 15

I think that the part where Ginny says "I could cope with the violence. That was easy--I could rationalize it. It was the incessant insults I found hardest to bear." (p. 153) might be surprising to some people. Some people believe words don't hurt but they definitely can hurt more than physical violence. Also, even though she tries to convince herself that Maud didn't mean what she said about how Ginny ruined her life, I think that on some level Ginny did believe her.

"Once or twice I let myself wonder what on earth I might have done to make her think it, but mostly I knew it was nonsense" (p. 153) kind of had me thinking that Ginny really didn't know that she might be different from others in some way , that they really tried to make her believe she was normal.

I see how Clive does know what is going on with Maud even though Ginny still believes that only she and Maud know about the drinking.

Chapter 16

I think that Clive must have killed Maud because of the setup about where he was going to spend his time in an old age home.
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
Frequent Contributor
Oldesq
Posts: 373
Registered: ‎10-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Everyman wrote:


I saw the picnic the same way. A last pleasant time together, a good-bye, letting her go with a good memory of a nice time together. The picnic was apparently so atypical that I couldn't see its connection with the death as a random event. They seemed to me to be interconnected.

What I can't forgive is Clive sending Ginny down the stairs to see whether Maud was really dead. How could a parent do that to a child?

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.

I agree with your assessment of the picnic- a "last meal" as it were.  However, I wondered if Clive indeed stayed at the top of the stair.  To me, there is some suggestion in the text that Maud was posed, "She was lying perfectly still on her back, her hands and legs splayed out wide to the sides, like a child acting dead."  (p. 171)  I wondered if Clive "helped" Maud at the picnic and then posed her at the foot of the stairs.  This theory gains some measure by Clive's heavy breathing and Ginny becoming "light headed" from the vapor emanating from Maud.  Of course, this method of disposal still doesn't excuse Clive from sending Ginny down the steps to "check" on Maud. 
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



SweetReaderMA wrote:
Chapter 14

(snipped)
It was interesting to see Ginny start to have emotions after the first few times of having sex with Arthur. They still weren't the typical ones you would expect of someone in that situation but still.


 

What an interesting idea, SweetReader!  The physical relationship with Arthur awakens something in Ginny that she has not before been able to access.  Reminds me of the movie "Pleasantville."

Ann, bookhunter


Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



KxBurns wrote:
Now that we are deep into the book, I think it's a good time to look back at the passage in which Ginny describes the contributions of her ancestors, on pages 9 and 10. Do you think the Kendal family heritage has had any bearing on the story thus far, or has the impact of Maud's family been blotted out as completely as their possessions?
 
Karen


I think one of the themes in the book is how biology determines reactions and actions.  The study of moths and the search for the chemical makeup that makes them tick (:smileywink: ) parallels the actions of the people in the story.  Clive said at the conference that he thinks moths are not self aware and do not make choices about their actions.  Those actions are determined by chemistry.
 
Can we look at the characters and say that their actions are due to their biology?  (Vivi asks Ginny to  have her baby because she biologically can't. )  I really look forward to exploring this question when we finish the book.
In the context of the house and the ancestors, Ginny has tried to pare down and get rid of the "claustrophobic tribute to one dynasty" but really can't.  She herself is the result of the genetics of that dynasty. 
 
We all live in "new" houses with clutter that is mainly from only one--maybe two--generations.  What must it be like to live with GENERATIONS of dead moths plastered around your house?  I picture all these portraits wispering everytime someone walks past, "This is who you are...this is who you are..."
 
Ann, bookhunter (with plenty of clutter accumulated in just my own lifetime!)
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Asperger's syndrome certainly seems to fit some of Ginny's behaviour:-
 
 


CAG wrote:
I think Clive knew what was going on between Maude and Ginny but not the degree of physical abuse. Maybe it was easier for him to let Ginny take care of his wife when she was drinking. I think Maude told Ginny she ruined her life because of Ginny's conditiion (my personal opinion is she has Aspergers syndrom) and I think both Maude and Clive felt they wanted to hide her condition as much as possible. They seem like a strange pair to begin with and Ginny may have made the family feel even more odd. Perhaps Maude had to give up something she wanted to do with her life in order to take care a child who wasn't quite "normal".
 
I am wondering more now if Ginny didn't push her sister.
 
I am not sure if Clive is responsible for Maude's death. I



Frequent Contributor
Frank_n_beans
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Everyman wrote:

What I can't forgive is Clive sending Ginny down the stairs to see whether Maud was really dead. How could a parent do that to a child?

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.

I was wondering about this too, Everyman; however, Clive wanted it to look "staged."  He wanted Ginny to think that she fell down the stairs and maybe part of his asking her to check that Maud was, in fact, dead was just part of the show.  He wanted Ginny to think that he appeared too distraught by her accident to check himself..(and clearly this worked since Ginny didn't question it). 
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16



renhair wrote:
One more thing about the attack.  I thought Clive's entrance was odd...glad to hear others did as well.  It's almost like he had ignored what was going on for so long and he just couldnt' do it anymore.  He had to do something, but he knew Maude well enough to know that he couldn't waltz in there and force her to stop....she could just as easily turn on him.  He had to diffuse the situation and the only way to do that was to wander in as the unaware and absentminded professor.  I think he was protecting Ginny - knowing he hadn't in the past.  That may also be why he helped Maude die.  I don't know that he pushed her, but I think he didn't stop her.  She'd had just enough to drink to make the wrong decision and he didn't pull her away from the door. 
 
Now, that's just me guessing, but.....



Clueless Clive does not know how to deal with Maud's loss of control.  As a scientist, he has no patience with her choice to drink and doesn't know how to deal with it, so he ignores it as much as he can.  Which of course just makes it worse.  I think his methods here are effective--he diffuses the situation, as you say, renhair. 
 
What bothers me more is that Arthur is part of this.  He knows what is going on and doesn't do anything to help.   Is this a sign of the times--not knowing how to deal with alcoholism?  Not valuing Ginny enough to see a need to get her out of this situation?
 
NO  ONE--Clive, Ginny, Arthur, Vivi--will confront Maud and say YOU NEED HELP.  Is that a sign of the times, too?  The only solution is to get rid of her?  Or "give her henough rope to hang herself with?"
 
Ann, bookhunter
Frequent Contributor
mwinasu
Posts: 149
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Ancestors contribute genes as well as accumulated wealth.  Alcoholism tends to run in families.  Alcoholism also causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I think the contributions of Ginny's ancestry have had a significant bearing on this story.
Users Online
Currently online: 44 members 268 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: