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Carole_Baron
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Everyman wrote:
Carole_Baron wrote:As far as the story is concerned, what did you think of Ginny's perception of things? Why did Vivi come home? How did their mother die? These are so many questions that I think make the book exceptional. What did you think?

I haven't finished the book, so maybe these questions will be answered in later chapters, but so far: I think it's clear that Ginny has a mental problem, but I'm not sure yet what it is. We've speculated on several things here, but as one poster noted in another thread for much of the book she has seemed to be totally insensitive to human interactions, but then suddenly with her mother and in other aspects of later chapters she seems acutely aware of them. She seems at time quite perceptive and at other times totally clueless. Her response to Bernard's possible fondling seemed more bizarre than any other behavior she's exhibited. So I'm not sure now how to take her. (And I have no idea yet whether Vivi fell or was pushed.)

As to why Vivi came home, I have no clue yet. Maybe I'll find out in future chapters -- I hope so, because I would feel not really cheated but not treated fairly by the author if we never found out.

I'm persuaded that Clive pushed Maud down the cellar stairs with the intent of killing her after taking her out for a final picnic to round off their relationship (I recall the photo of the picnic when they were, I think, first courting. Picnic at start, picnic at end.) But I am concerned a bit because pushing somebody down cellar stairs is not a reliable way of killing them. Lots of people, particularly if their bodies are loose from drunkenness, survive falls down the stairs. And if it hadn't killed her but has made her crippled, maybe needing to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair being cared for constantly, his life would have been worse, not better. It seems a clumsy way for somebody as comfortable with killing as he is to kill off his wife. But it does provide a book-end with Vivi's fall, and makes us wonder whether he knew that that was intentional and is using the fall down the cellar stairs to tell Ginnny that he knows she pushed Vivi? That's wild speculation, but fun!

I think your imagination is terrific.   I myself simply thought she fell down the stairs in a freak accident. I thought her reaction to Bernard showed how disconnected she was. I think her going in and out of reality kept me interested because I wasn't sure who Ginny really was.  Keep reading.....


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Re: Questions for the Editor



bookhunter wrote:
Carol_Baron writes:
"I,too, was taken with the unique voice of GInny.  What did you think of her in the beginning?  She was certainly disturbed by her sister changing the natural order of things.  How do you think their mother died?  I would love to hear from you on that." 
 
Ms. Baron,
I was very sympathetic towards Ginny from the beginning.  I have a bit of personal experience (but not professional) with autism and Asperger's Syndrome, as well as working with people who have learning differences, so I enjoyed her voice and unique perspective on the world throughout the book.   I don't know if Ms. Adams intended Ginny to be labeled with a particular disorder.  But I imagine part of the story is the connection between biology and response to one's environment.  We can tell from Ginny's narration that she perceives and reacts differently from "the norm."  (Ordinarily that is not a bad thing--those are the people who make great advances in science, art, etc.)
 
Even though Ginny has what we would call a limited and rigid view of her world, it gives us insight into our own thinking:  How does our own "chemical makeup" influence the way *I* and *you* see the world?
 
I am not sure I understand your question about their mother's death.  Maud died because she was drunk and mistook the cellar door for the kitchen door.  Why in the world would you think otherwise, Ms. Baron?
 
Ann, bookhunter


Message Edited by bookhunter on 03-11-2008 12:47 PM

I don't think that the author had any labeled condition attached to Ginny.  When I started reading , I felt she was off.  And that was good enough for me to continue.  I love reading books with unrealiable narrators. I never quite know where they are going.
 
I asked the question about Maude and her death because Vivi herself raises the question when she comes home.  She is convinced that her father pushed her mother down the stairs.  Ginny is horrified to hear this.  As the reader I am not sure.  Other posters seem to question it as well. One poster said she/he was "persuaded" that Clive pushed Maude down the stairs.   You didn't have the same question when you were reading.  That's what makes the book so interesting.  NOthing is exact; and all depends on perceptions.


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Re: Questions for the Editor



bookhunter wrote:
Carol_Baron writes:
"I,too, was taken with the unique voice of GInny.  What did you think of her in the beginning?  She was certainly disturbed by her sister changing the natural order of things.  How do you think their mother died?  I would love to hear from you on that." 
 
Ms. Baron,
I was very sympathetic towards Ginny from the beginning.  I have a bit of personal experience (but not professional) with autism and Asperger's Syndrome, as well as working with people who have learning differences, so I enjoyed her voice and unique perspective on the world throughout the book.   I don't know if Ms. Adams intended Ginny to be labeled with a particular disorder.  But I imagine part of the story is the connection between biology and response to one's environment.  We can tell from Ginny's narration that she perceives and reacts differently from "the norm."  (Ordinarily that is not a bad thing--those are the people who make great advances in science, art, etc.)
 
Even though Ginny has what we would call a limited and rigid view of her world, it gives us insight into our own thinking:  How does our own "chemical makeup" influence the way *I* and *you* see the world?
 
I am not sure I understand your question about their mother's death.  Maud died because she was drunk and mistook the cellar door for the kitchen door.  Why in the world would you think otherwise, Ms. Baron?
 
Ann, bookhunter


Message Edited by bookhunter on 03-11-2008 12:47 PM

whoops.  one more thing: you have given me something to think about:  that there is a connection between biology and response to one's environment.  That is a good question for Poppy. She is a scientist by education....


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Re: Questions for the Editor

Ms. Baron: I don't know how long you'll be with us, but I want to thank you for taking the time to be here and for your insightful comments. It's been very interesting.
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Re: Questions for the Editor



nhawkinsII wrote:
Hi, Carole.  Thank you for the opportunity to read The Sister.
 
I have to admit I was hooked from the beginning of the story.  Ginny's narrative while waiting for Vivi to arrive was unique and almost spellbinding.  It was as if Poppy Adams puts you inside Ginny's head as an observer.  The longer you stay in Ginny's "presence",  the more you realize she is not a trustworthy observer.  I was surprised at how quickly I decided there were observations from Ginny that just didn't "ring true" (and that included her description of herself as a great scientist.) 
 
As Ginny narrates the circumstances of Vivi and the bell tower, I could not read fast enough to see if I thought she really pushed Vivi.  No matter what Ginny's words were I had to see if Maud held to her fear/ "conviction"  that Ginny had pushed her sister.   Maud's comments about "wanting to be a normal family"  were really thought provoking...her family had always been fanatical on the subject of moths, devoted their lives to the pursuit...Maybe Clive had been Maud's hope of change and the result was Ginny (supported by Dr. Moyse's presence).
 
As the story progresses, I really wanted to push Ginny...to communicate, to stand up for herself, to express her feelings (or lack of) and to join the life around her.  I did have a problem with reading about the moths until I realized the inclusion of much of the moth detail let Ginny as the narrator hide.  As the observer (reader) of Ginny's thoughts, the details of the moths will keep you at arms length.  Ginny loaded us with scientific detail to keep the emotions at bay, to avoid dealing with any feelings,to protect herself and to assure all of us that she was a great scientist.
 
I guess my big problem is...try as I might I really don't have a good diagnosis for Ginny's problem.  After finishing the book, I thought in  "The Apprentice" chapter Clive's discussion of insight, instinct and self-awareness seemed to apply to his daughter.
 
Oh, I do think Clive killed Maud.  He gave her a day...a ride in the country and a picnic (a very normal day for a husband and wife), he made certain she had a few drinks, helped her choose the wrong door and he killed her.  (The net result...I think he lost his own initiative and desire for existing.   And Ginny was left in her own confusing "pupal soup".)
 
 
 
Nancy  
 
 


I love what you wrote about THE SISTER.  I am going to share it with some of my colleagues here at Knopf.  We have been discussing the book since we all first read the manuscript a year ago and we are still discussing it.  It is a book we can't seem to get out of our minds.
 
I think that you have to read the book as a whole to appreciate the balance of story and the science of moths and how it comes together.  I agree that Ginny was hiding behind the science; and that she could control the science aspects of her work. Where there was a natural order of things.  WHen VIvi came along to disturb this natural order, she had the need to put things back where they were..and to restore order.
 
about Maude:  there was one poster who asked why I asked the question.  When I first read the book, I thought that she simply fell.  ANd I still do. But I think that there is enough ambiquity for me to rethink. If CLive did it , it was to save Ginny, he was on to Maude destroying Ginny and beating her.  But I agree, he couldn't handle it. 


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Re: Questions for the Editor



Wrighty wrote:
Hi Carole. I just have a quick question for you. In a previous post you mentioned how you like to read, read, read. It's a good thing being an editor! :smileywink:  Do you ever have the free time to read what you want for pleasure? I imagine it would be easy to get burned out having to go through so many manuscripts, good and bad, on many subjects you may not be interested in. Maybe you don't even want to look at  the newspaper by the time you get home. I was just curious. Thanks for joining us here.


Excellent question. I always have a stack of books next to my bed that I want to read from other publishers.  I can't go into a bookstore and not buy a book.   I like to read magazines and newspapers as well.  It is true that that sometimes I read manuscripts one after another and don't like any of them and I wonder, am I burned out; will I ever like anything again.  BUt I keep hoping when I get the manuscirpt that this will be the one and as long as I still have the hope I will keep doing what I am doing.  ANd then when I start reading and I think the book is a winner, it is all worth it.      During Christmas holidays, I try to have a rule: only read books that other people have published.  And last vacation, I went to the library and got TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and it is still one of my favorite books and my faith in reading was restored once again....CB


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Re: Questions for the Editor


Carole_Baron wrote:
about Maude: there was one poster who asked why I asked the question. When I first read the book, I thought that she simply fell. ANd I still do. But I think that there is enough ambiquity for me to rethink. If CLive did it , it was to save Ginny, he was on to Maude destroying Ginny and beating her. But I agree, he couldn't handle it.



***end of book spoiler***
I think its very possible Ginny pushed Maud down the stairs. Look how cool she was about doing in Vivi, she could have done it because of whatever reason her mind made up, maybe that it was just time to stop her, that she had failed at times to help her and now she just needed to help her stop drinking and stop being hurt by her. It would be as logical in her mind as why she needs to kill vivi now. And that would send clive over the edge, losing Maud but knowing what she had been doing to Ginny and not doing anything to help either of them. I could see him running around yelling is she alive, is she ok, unable to look, if Ginny had done it and then just came out of one of her "blackouts" she finally admits to. And I could see her just standing there wondering why he is so upset and doing the checking too. Clive would never say anything about what Ginny did to Maud, but it would be a darn good time to get his butt out of Dodge and to a safe place like he did, to get away from Ginny since he would be there alone with her now. It ties in with a couple of things to me, to think of Ginny doing it or for the author to let you wonder anyway. Much more to think on, if you think Clive or Ginny did it, rather than, she just fell. Especially with the intrigue of the tower (which Ginny says, was the beginning of the domino affect of why vivi left, and I never could understand why that would be a part of it unless maybe Ginny "helped" her fall), and then vivi's death. What if Ginny killed both?
Vivian
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Carole_Baron wrote:


Carole_Baron wrote:


BookSavage wrote:
Carole,
One of the problems that I had with this novel, was the confusing nature of the characters.  I have now read through chapter fourteen.  Up to chapter nine I felt like I had a hold on Ginny.  I really believe that she has Asperger's Syndrom and I felt like Adams was doing a good job of creating this character.  Then I come to chapters ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen and I felt like Adams completely lost her focus.  Ginny's ability to relate to people and handle uncomfortable social situations was greatly increased and to me felt like a real disconnect between her in these chapters and Ginny in the early chapters.  Did this present a problem for you?  Have you conisdered including a note in the back about autism and where parents of autistic children can look for support?
Thanks again for this first look opportunity.


I think you should ask Poppy adams next week when she joins us.  I had this very discussion with Poppy just last week when she came to New York for a short visit.  I don't think that she meant it to be a labeled disability.  
 
And I felt that Ginny was uncomfortable with herself through the whole book which made her story as the unrealiable narrator so revealing.  Have you finsihed the book yet?





I find will most definetely ask the Poppy Adams about the autism issue next week.  Although she may not have intended it to be a labeled condition it could be a wonderful opportunity to shine light on a serious issue plagueing our children right now.
 
I have not yet finished the book.  I am interested to see how Ginny changes up till the end.  Thanks again for this opportunity.
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Carole_Baron wrote:


Wrighty wrote:
Hi Carole. I just have a quick question for you. In a previous post you mentioned how you like to read, read, read. It's a good thing being an editor! :smileywink:  Do you ever have the free time to read what you want for pleasure? I imagine it would be easy to get burned out having to go through so many manuscripts, good and bad, on many subjects you may not be interested in. Maybe you don't even want to look at  the newspaper by the time you get home. I was just curious. Thanks for joining us here.


Excellent question. I always have a stack of books next to my bed that I want to read from other publishers.  I can't go into a bookstore and not buy a book.   I like to read magazines and newspapers as well.  It is true that that sometimes I read manuscripts one after another and don't like any of them and I wonder, am I burned out; will I ever like anything again.  BUt I keep hoping when I get the manuscirpt that this will be the one and as long as I still have the hope I will keep doing what I am doing.  ANd then when I start reading and I think the book is a winner, it is all worth it.      During Christmas holidays, I try to have a rule: only read books that other people have published.  And last vacation, I went to the library and got TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and it is still one of my favorite books and my faith in reading was restored once again....CB


This was one of the best comments of this entire discussion.  Thanks for that insight.
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Carole_Baron wrote:


Thayer wrote:
Ms. Baron,
 
I am interested to know if there is a vast difference in what is considered "marketable" in the U.S. versus the UK? It seems as if there are more "cross-overs" of late, for instance, (and one of my favorites)  Penny Vincenzi.  As an editor, how do you make the distinction as to what will reach each target audience-or not?
 
The B&N ARC book club is a wonderful program that I am delighted to be a part of. I have greatly enjoyed participating  and  hope to see it continue. Thank you for taking time to join us!   
 
Dawn


Hi Dawn;  I always like to read Penny Vincenzi too. But I know she is a very big bestseller in the U.K. but struggles to find a big audience here.  Her publisher has really made a big push on the last two books but can't seem to bring her to the level of popularity she enjoys in England.   There are many authors who are popular in both countries; and many authors that simply "don't" travel and sometimes I really don't know why. I remember last year there was a book called THE THIRTEENTH TALE and it was a great success here; not so in the U.K.  And there was another book, I think called THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER that the publisher promoted here but just couldn't get the book going whereas in England it was a huge success I am told.  So yes, there is lots of crossover but the Americans and the Brits are still quite different.  As an editor, I am never quite sure.  As always, it is the reader who decides....Thanks for asking such a good question.


Thank you for your reply. Coincidentally, After reading The Sister, I just finished The Thirteenth Tale, and loved it as well. It will be very interesting to see how sales go with The Sister both here and in the UK. (I know I will be recommending it.) Again, thanks for taking time out of your-no doubt-hectic schedule to join us and answer our questions.   Dawn
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Re: Questions for the Editor



vivico1 wrote:

Carole_Baron wrote:
about Maude: there was one poster who asked why I asked the question. When I first read the book, I thought that she simply fell. ANd I still do. But I think that there is enough ambiquity for me to rethink. If CLive did it , it was to save Ginny, he was on to Maude destroying Ginny and beating her. But I agree, he couldn't handle it.



***end of book spoiler***
I think its very possible Ginny pushed Maud down the stairs. Look how cool she was about doing in Vivi, she could have done it because of whatever reason her mind made up, maybe that it was just time to stop her, that she had failed at times to help her and now she just needed to help her stop drinking and stop being hurt by her. It would be as logical in her mind as why she needs to kill vivi now. And that would send clive over the edge, losing Maud but knowing what she had been doing to Ginny and not doing anything to help either of them. I could see him running around yelling is she alive, is she ok, unable to look, if Ginny had done it and then just came out of one of her "blackouts" she finally admits to. And I could see her just standing there wondering why he is so upset and doing the checking too. Clive would never say anything about what Ginny did to Maud, but it would be a darn good time to get his butt out of Dodge and to a safe place like he did, to get away from Ginny since he would be there alone with her now. It ties in with a couple of things to me, to think of Ginny doing it or for the author to let you wonder anyway. Much more to think on, if you think Clive or Ginny did it, rather than, she just fell. Especially with the intrigue of the tower (which Ginny says, was the beginning of the domino affect of why vivi left, and I never could understand why that would be a part of it unless maybe Ginny "helped" her fall), and then vivi's death. What if Ginny killed both?

Hello:  You have given me lots to think about.  Yes, indeed, Ginny might have pushed Vivi.  And again Maude.  And finally did in Vivi when she comes home.  Look how complacent she is at the very end.  All is well and in its place.  As you say, no wonder Clive left in a hurry.  He was never one to face right on the problems even though I think he knew very well what was going on.  Yes, the more I think of it, your scenario works for me.  It is all set up the at once innocent and then all knowing Ginny and her black outs.  Interest Maude was always worried about Ginny....and she seems to have had control.....


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Re: Questions for the Editor



Thayer wrote:


Carole_Baron wrote:


Thayer wrote:
Ms. Baron,
 
I am interested to know if there is a vast difference in what is considered "marketable" in the U.S. versus the UK? It seems as if there are more "cross-overs" of late, for instance, (and one of my favorites)  Penny Vincenzi.  As an editor, how do you make the distinction as to what will reach each target audience-or not?
 
The B&N ARC book club is a wonderful program that I am delighted to be a part of. I have greatly enjoyed participating  and  hope to see it continue. Thank you for taking time to join us!   
 
Dawn


Hi Dawn;  I always like to read Penny Vincenzi too. But I know she is a very big bestseller in the U.K. but struggles to find a big audience here.  Her publisher has really made a big push on the last two books but can't seem to bring her to the level of popularity she enjoys in England.   There are many authors who are popular in both countries; and many authors that simply "don't" travel and sometimes I really don't know why. I remember last year there was a book called THE THIRTEENTH TALE and it was a great success here; not so in the U.K.  And there was another book, I think called THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER that the publisher promoted here but just couldn't get the book going whereas in England it was a huge success I am told.  So yes, there is lots of crossover but the Americans and the Brits are still quite different.  As an editor, I am never quite sure.  As always, it is the reader who decides....Thanks for asking such a good question.


Thank you for your reply. Coincidentally, After reading The Sister, I just finished The Thirteenth Tale, and loved it as well. It will be very interesting to see how sales go with The Sister both here and in the UK. (I know I will be recommending it.) Again, thanks for taking time out of your-no doubt-hectic schedule to join us and answer our questions.   Dawn


Dawn:  I know you read THe House on Riverton...I liked that book too. Did you? carole


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Re: Questions for the Editor



dumlao_n wrote:
I like seeing a Table of Contents, but I wish the page numbers would be listed as well. I don't like seeing just 0's.

Thank you.

The page numbers were not listed because what you read are not the final final pages...


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Re: Questions for the Editor



Tasses wrote:
Thank you for presenting 'The Sister' as an ARC for our fun club here at B&N.

While it wasn't one of my favorite reads, I felt like I was able to give it an honest review as I always finish ARCs. It's my belief that if a publisher is kind enough to send me a free book, I should at least read it. This leads me to my question:

Given the possibility that any exposure is better than no exposure, would publishers rather recieve honest reviews or have us just skip reviewing titles we find faulty? I've wrestled with this quite a bit (good ole guilt there). Thanks.

To answer your question:  if the comments are thoughtful and considered I am always interested in what someone has to say about a book.  If the comment someone gives me simply trashes a book it is no help to anyone.   Sometimes I read a review of a book that the reviewer may not like, but the description of the book is so intriguing that I will want to read anyway.  Thank you for being so considerate.


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Everyman wrote:
Tasses wrote: Given the possibility that any exposure is better than no exposure, would publishers rather recieve honest reviews or have us just skip reviewing titles we find faulty? I've wrestled with this quite a bit (good ole guilt there)

Excellent question. I've wrestled with it myself. With a book I've bought and paid for, I have no problem giving it a negative review if that's how I feel about it. But the ARCs feel a bit different; they are gifts, and you know what they say about gift horses! Since I can't give this book a glowing review, at least as far as I've read so far, I'm wondering whether I should just not review it at the end. But then, is that fair to other readers who might get to save their tie and money if they had a better picture what the book is about?

I may have answered this before but I am always open to hearing smart remarks about a book even if the reader didn't like the book.  What I never like to hear from a reviewer or even from a friend is a trashy comment without telling me something about the book.  AS I said before, there have been reviews of a book that have been negative but something in the review sparks my interest nonetheless.  Also when it is a first novelist I am often more lenient about my comments....especially if I feel something good is there in the first book. What is so great is to follow a writers career.  ANd finally, what you might hate, I might love and vice versa.  Isn't that great:  that is something for each one of us.  I love it.


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Jeanie0522 wrote:
I would agree that the moth science does add a certain unique quality to the novel; however, I am not sure that it will have as wide of public appeal that it would have without so much of that included.  Since it is clear that the final editing of the book has been done, this may not be the time to mention that I did find a couple of typo's in the ARC. 
 
I have finished the book, but will not communicate any spoilers.  I truly think that the only thing that may hold this book back is the "moth talk."  It is important to make a book unique, but I think at some point the balance of moths outweighed the story line.  Here is where it would seem that editing is important.  Of course this is only my opinion and I did enjoy the story.  I wish Poppy Adams much success.  I will certainly recommend the book, but I will also indicate that moth science is very much part of the book. 


Hello;  I am happy you liked the story.  Many people have liked the moth theme that seemed to be reflected in the story of this one family.  I am sure Popppy will like to hear from you.  But remember, this is her first book and I know she is nervous about hearing from everyone.  Thanks for takiing the time to read.  CB  P.S. Remember, the galley you have is uncorrected; it will be proofread so don't worry about the typos.


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Re: Questions for the Editor

Ms. Baron -- have any lepidopterists reviewed this book for you?
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Re: Questions for the Editor


Carole_Baron wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Carole_Baron wrote:
about Maude: there was one poster who asked why I asked the question. When I first read the book, I thought that she simply fell. ANd I still do. But I think that there is enough ambiquity for me to rethink. If CLive did it , it was to save Ginny, he was on to Maude destroying Ginny and beating her. But I agree, he couldn't handle it.



***end of book spoiler***
I think its very possible Ginny pushed Maud down the stairs. Look how cool she was about doing in Vivi, she could have done it because of whatever reason her mind made up, maybe that it was just time to stop her, that she had failed at times to help her and now she just needed to help her stop drinking and stop being hurt by her. It would be as logical in her mind as why she needs to kill vivi now. And that would send clive over the edge, losing Maud but knowing what she had been doing to Ginny and not doing anything to help either of them. I could see him running around yelling is she alive, is she ok, unable to look, if Ginny had done it and then just came out of one of her "blackouts" she finally admits to. And I could see her just standing there wondering why he is so upset and doing the checking too. Clive would never say anything about what Ginny did to Maud, but it would be a darn good time to get his butt out of Dodge and to a safe place like he did, to get away from Ginny since he would be there alone with her now. It ties in with a couple of things to me, to think of Ginny doing it or for the author to let you wonder anyway. Much more to think on, if you think Clive or Ginny did it, rather than, she just fell. Especially with the intrigue of the tower (which Ginny says, was the beginning of the domino affect of why vivi left, and I never could understand why that would be a part of it unless maybe Ginny "helped" her fall), and then vivi's death. What if Ginny killed both?

Hello: You have given me lots to think about. Yes, indeed, Ginny might have pushed Vivi. And again Maude. And finally did in Vivi when she comes home. Look how complacent she is at the very end. All is well and in its place. As you say, no wonder Clive left in a hurry. He was never one to face right on the problems even though I think he knew very well what was going on. Yes, the more I think of it, your scenario works for me. It is all set up the at once innocent and then all knowing Ginny and her black outs. Interest Maude was always worried about Ginny....and she seems to have had control.....



If its not what happened, the author at least set up some interesting incidences that are either pure coincidence or breadcrumbs leading to very possible likelihood of it happening. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Questions for the Editor



Carole_Baron wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Carole_Baron wrote:
about Maude: there was one poster who asked why I asked the question. When I first read the book, I thought that she simply fell. ANd I still do. But I think that there is enough ambiquity for me to rethink. If CLive did it , it was to save Ginny, he was on to Maude destroying Ginny and beating her. But I agree, he couldn't handle it.



***end of book spoiler***
I think its very possible Ginny pushed Maud down the stairs. Look how cool she was about doing in Vivi, she could have done it because of whatever reason her mind made up, maybe that it was just time to stop her, that she had failed at times to help her and now she just needed to help her stop drinking and stop being hurt by her. It would be as logical in her mind as why she needs to kill vivi now. And that would send clive over the edge, losing Maud but knowing what she had been doing to Ginny and not doing anything to help either of them. I could see him running around yelling is she alive, is she ok, unable to look, if Ginny had done it and then just came out of one of her "blackouts" she finally admits to. And I could see her just standing there wondering why he is so upset and doing the checking too. Clive would never say anything about what Ginny did to Maud, but it would be a darn good time to get his butt out of Dodge and to a safe place like he did, to get away from Ginny since he would be there alone with her now. It ties in with a couple of things to me, to think of Ginny doing it or for the author to let you wonder anyway. Much more to think on, if you think Clive or Ginny did it, rather than, she just fell. Especially with the intrigue of the tower (which Ginny says, was the beginning of the domino affect of why vivi left, and I never could understand why that would be a part of it unless maybe Ginny "helped" her fall), and then vivi's death. What if Ginny killed both?

Hello:  You have given me lots to think about.  Yes, indeed, Ginny might have pushed Vivi.  And again Maude.  And finally did in Vivi when she comes home.  Look how complacent she is at the very end.  All is well and in its place.  As you say, no wonder Clive left in a hurry.  He was never one to face right on the problems even though I think he knew very well what was going on.  Yes, the more I think of it, your scenario works for me.  It is all set up the at once innocent and then all knowing Ginny and her black outs.  Interest Maude was always worried about Ginny....and she seems to have had control.....


After reading the end of the book I am leaning towards Vivico's ending above and I am beginning to think that the author wants the reader to make their own mind up about what really happened.  I asked Kris Radish the same type of question about the back story on some characters in The Elegant Gathering of the White Snows and she told me that she wants the reader to put their own spin on the book/characters. 
Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Questions for the Editor

 
Vivi's fall from the tower was the start of everything because it was this fall that rendered her sterile, and that led to the surrogate pregnancy, and Vivi's rejection of that infant at birth led to her divorce from Arthur among other things, and Vivi's total lack of acknowledgment of the infant's grave led to Ginny's rage and her decision to kill her sister.   I don't think it matters much if Ginny pushed her or not, at that age she would have had no real grasp of being able to imagine the outcome of your actions.  One is not considered 'competent' or 'responsible' so young.  I thought the implication was pretty clear that Clive pushed Maud down the stairs (and possibly dispatched her with some other help as well;  too much drink, or even poison).  He had finally realized that he could no longer ignore the danger that Maud presented to Ginny, after the episode with the frying pan.  Maud dies just a couple of days afterward;  that's unlikely to be a coincidence   He couldn't  encourage  Ginny to leave the house;  where could she go?, but her life was clearly in danger.  Ginny never showed any inclination to defend herself from her mother's rages.  She just endured.  Clive arranged to move away and left Ginny reasonably comfortable in the family home.  I don't believe he would have left Ginny alone if he felt she was violent.  They were close in their own way, and he would not have wanted her to be, or get into, any serious trouble.  
 
 
 vivico wrote:
 
Much more to think on, if you think Clive or Ginny did it, rather than, she just fell. Especially with the intrigue of the tower (which Ginny says, was the beginning of the domino affect of why vivi left, and I never could understand why that would be a part of it unless maybe Ginny "helped" her fall), and then vivi's death. What if Ginny killed both?

 

Carole, thanks for joining in this discussion, and sharing your insights with us.  My question to you would be whether you felt that some parts of the book just didn't ring true.  For me, the description of Ginny sounded more like a woman in ill health in her 80s, rather than her 60s.   The 60-something women I know, as I said in a post on another thread, if they chose to live alone, would be picking up books at the library, taking long walks in the countryside,  and renting movies from Netflix.   So did you question that at all?  I wondered if Poppy Adams had much experience around women of that age, or perhaps she just sees everyone over 50 as old.  (I can remember those days when we didn't trust anyone over 30.)   The other thing I couldn't buy, although it was a key twist to the story, was the idea that Vivi would choose Ginny - with her strange ways, her unattractive looks, her inability to connect with others - to bear a child for her.  I just can't believe it.  People used to be pretty cold about such things.  It wasn't at all unusual for parents of 'retarded' children to have them sterilized, for instance, so everyone was well aware of the genetic dangers of the not-normally-endowed.   I don't see self-centered Vivi wanting another little Ginny to raise, and I can't imagine how she ever would have talked her husband into it.   

I'm intrigued to find that even the editor of the book, who has been working with it for months, doesn't have all the answers as to what the backstory really was:  the degree of Ginny's incompetence, the culpability of whom in various mishaps, and so on.  I think I might have been hounding the author to clear things up for me, had I been in your position!  I join in the impatience with some of the lengthier moth-life digressions, but I guess I have to admit that some of the uglier ones actually caught my attention, rather than just making me feel as if I wanted skim over them.   If the book gains the attention of the major press, I will be interested to see what that reaction is. 

Having the chance to read this and discuss it with others has been an enjoyable, sometimes challenging, and always interesting experience, and again, I'm grateful to have had it. 


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