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HannibalCat
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



grapes wrote:


dhaupt wrote:
I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending, there were so many questions that I had throughout the book that I was hoping to have answered in the end and alas I know no more now than then. In a thread a bit farther back someone said that Ginny failed as a narrator I think I'll have to agree with them.

I think this book is true to life. Perhaps, in other novels we have been fed baby food. In "real" life we aren't given all the answers. Situations come about leaving us puzzled. We become angry and hurt because there is no solution. The Sister is written like real life happens. It's never a neatly wrapped gift.





Right on. There are so many questions left unanswered in life and this book falls right in play with reality. I moved around constantly as a child, leaving friends, neighbors, schoolmates behind. I have a gazillion unanswered questions. I know that is different from the book, but it may be why I am so willing to accept the many unanswered questions in The Sister. However, many of my current friends will reminisce asking "I wonder what ever happened to ____" (Baby Jane), or whomever, that I can see it is a part of humanity. We all want answers, but we don't always get them. Besides, we can now discuss to our heart's content exactly what we think happened to Vivi's dog, and was Michael really looking after Ginny, and how long did it take Clive to make all those arrangements, and why in the world did he do that to her so quickly after Maud's death? Just think of the hours of discussion we can have. Or, we can walk away!
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jholcomb
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Registered: ‎02-03-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I would be terribly unsatisfied if I felt like the book was ambiguous just for the sake of being ambiguous. I hate that--it makes me feel manipulated.
 
Here, though, I felt like the ambiguity served the purpose of making the processes of Ginny's mind, if not the facts of her life, more clear. Those things that were left ambiguous were things that, evidently, Ginny herself either did not know or could not process. For instance, she didn't want to be diagnosed; notice that even in the institution, she doesn't seem to think of herself as unwell or there to get better, just there. Since she doesn't want any kind of label, she won't absorb one and won't share it with us. And so on--if she's not interested in it or is threatened by it, it never becomes truly clear.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



LizzieAnn wrote:
Which of course is possible.  Ginny just tells us where she is living "now" and not how she arrived there.  To her that may not be as important as how she's being treated there.


Everyman wrote:

All true, but they would still need a court action and court order to take her out of her home and institutionalize her.






Yes, exactly! I fear we are losing sight of the point by arguing about the legal propriety of various possible repercussions. One thing that really struck me about these final chapters is the fact that Ginny seems completely oblivious to her legal fate and is quite happy with the way things turned out. To me, as the reader, that conveys that I need not concern myself too much with worrying about whether she's been sent to prison or been institiutionalized. Ultimately, it is all the same to Ginny and I find this provides remarkable insight into her mind. Like the larva Ginny discovers preying on the ants outside of church, Ginny remains unfettered by "knowledge or burden of guilt for [her] obscene past" (p. 195).
 
What do you all think this says about Ginny?
 

 
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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think you're right Ginny is just searching or striving for structure and routine, which she finds in the end, she doesn't have to worry if her clocks/watches slow or stop as she can ring a bell and get the correct time confirmed.  I got the feeling that she likes being in this room, smaller and more to her liking. As the years went by she kept closing up the house room by room, wing by wing until her living space had been substantially diminished from what it was as she grew up.  I think she views ridding herself of Vivi as a necessity to her well being, Vivi is disrupting her structure, she keeps walking about the house trying to discover what has occurred there while she has been away.  She's prying into things Ginny would rather leave alone. I still don't think Ginny feels he did anything wrong, she had a problem now she doesn't.  It's a win-win situation as far as she's concerned, she can still look out at the world through the window in the door.


KxBurns wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
Which of course is possible.  Ginny just tells us where she is living "now" and not how she arrived there.  To her that may not be as important as how she's being treated there.


Everyman wrote:

All true, but they would still need a court action and court order to take her out of her home and institutionalize her.






Yes, exactly! I fear we are losing sight of the point by arguing about the legal propriety of various possible repercussions. One thing that really struck me about these final chapters is the fact that Ginny seems completely oblivious to her legal fate and is quite happy with the way things turned out. To me, as the reader, that conveys that I need not concern myself too much with worrying about whether she's been sent to prison or been institiutionalized. Ultimately, it is all the same to Ginny and I find this provides remarkable insight into her mind. Like the larva Ginny discovers preying on the ants outside of church, Ginny remains unfettered by "knowledge or burden of guilt for [her] obscene past" (p. 195).
 
What do you all think this says about Ginny?
 

 



 
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



jholcomb wrote:
I would be terribly unsatisfied if I felt like the book was ambiguous just for the sake of being ambiguous. I hate that--it makes me feel manipulated.
 
Here, though, I felt like the ambiguity served the purpose of making the processes of Ginny's mind, if not the facts of her life, more clear. Those things that were left ambiguous were things that, evidently, Ginny herself either did not know or could not process. For instance, she didn't want to be diagnosed; notice that even in the institution, she doesn't seem to think of herself as unwell or there to get better, just there. Since she doesn't want any kind of label, she won't absorb one and won't share it with us. And so on--if she's not interested in it or is threatened by it, it never becomes truly clear.


Terrific point. And look what happens when Vivi forces Ginny to become cognizant of information she does not wish to face: what really happened to Maud. Aside from being the breaking point that leads Ginny to murder, the information is something she chooses to completely discount (saying that it doesn't really matter to her whether Clive killed Maud). I think it would be in keeping with her character if she eventually represses what Vivien told her completely. 
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Good point!  I hadn't thought of that but she does have her lookout again and can watch the world go on around her.

bmbrennan wrote:
 It's a win-win situation as far as she's concerned, she can still look out at the world through the window in the door.

 
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

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Mary1234
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎02-03-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I found the book both enjoyable and most definitely sad. It was clearly a story of betrayal in the truest sense. What a sad life each sister had. The comparison of the lonliness that each had experienced in their life was in the end a statement of the lack of appreciation of each other over the years. I just felt it never had to be that way, had they trusted and cared for each other. Rather, they basically discarded each other.
 
Mary
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Mary1234
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎02-03-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this reading group!!
 
Mary
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Mary1234 wrote:
I found the book both enjoyable and most definitely sad. It was clearly a story of betrayal in the truest sense. What a sad life each sister had. The comparison of the lonliness that each had experienced in their life was in the end a statement of the lack of appreciation of each other over the years. I just felt it never had to be that way, had they trusted and cared for each other. Rather, they basically discarded each other.
 
Mary


I agree, Mary -- it was sad! What do you think most contributed to their inability to truly care for one another? Was it the family's habit of keeping secrets, or various misguided attempts to shield and protect each other from the truth, or the failure to do just that?... Or something else? There are so many possibilities  :smileyhappy:
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readerbynight
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-07-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

[ Edited ]
I think the important thing to remember in tying up loose ends is that the story is told from Ginny's mind. The book is full of symbolism, such as the cannibal caterpillar/puss moth, the symbolic use of time and as such we have to use the symbolic part to try to get at the truth. One of the few constants throughout the book is time, a brilliant, Hitchcock type of background (I think someone else mentioned the Hitchcock flavour, too). We can not really learn the answers from Ginny's mind, it functions in a radically different way. I am not even persuaded now in thinking back that she was involved with the research following Clive's demise. Even arthritic as she was, her mind tells her that she will be the best lepedopterist, so I can't see her letting the condition of the lab to deteriorate to such a degree. She doesn't even seem to have known of its condition yet she was planning on showing her research to the entomologists. This would only make sense if she believed they would never be coming.
There is a hint as to the moment of decision to kill Vivi on pg 220 just after Ginny discloses to Vivi that her mother was an alcoholic: "I know that" she [Vivi] says simply. "That's why he murdered her." to which Ginny's mind responds "THAT WAS IT."
This book I found very hard to describe. I think we are so deep into the mind of Ginny that we begin to find it difficult to separate what is true and what is fantasy. Was she as brilliant as we have been led to believe? I don't know. At one point I thought she may have had the savant syndrome, but her brilliance may have been in her own mind.
I think the use of one clock in her room at the end of the book is again symbolic, she is in an orderly world and does not have to be connected to anyone, even Helen, who is there but not a threat.

Message Edited by readerbynight on 03-19-2008 02:08 PM
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Mary1234
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎02-03-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I don't think they ever knew each other as children, much less as adults. The life styles they lived were so different in so many aspects that it really seems impossible for them to ever get to really know or understand each other. They were afraid of each other, it seems. They each thought they had missed out on something.
 
 I wonder what it would have been like had they bonded as adult sisters. The fact remains that it could have been much worse!!!!
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

[ Edited ]


readerbynight wrote:
I think the important thing to remember in tying up loose ends is that the story is told from Ginny's mind. ...snip...
This book I found very hard to describe. I think we are so deep into the mind of Ginny that we begin to find it difficult to separate what is true and what is fantasy. Was she as brilliant as we have been led to believe? I don't know. At one point I thought she may have had the savant syndrome, but her brilliance may have been in her own mind.
I think the use of one clock in her room at the end of the book is again symbolic, she is in an orderly world and does not have to be connected to anyone, even Helen, who is there but not a threat.


Good description of our reading experience to say "we are so deep into the mind of Ginny."  That is exactly how I felt! 
 
One of the things I found intriguing was the huge difference in her ability to express herself to us, the readers, and express herself to people in her world.  She really says very few lines of dialogue in the entire book.  We see that she is articulate and knowledgeable, but I don't think the rest of her world saw that.  She could tell us all about moths, but her role was as Clive's assistant and only recorded things or changed the slides at his lectures.
 
But I still don't know how to answer your question about whether she was brilliant.  If she had found a way to communicate the knowledge stored in her head, would she be considered brilliant?  I am thinking of Stephen Hawking whose ALS prevents him from being able to speak without a computer.  We know he is brilliant because he has a way to break that barrier his ALS has put up.  If Ginny's barrier were somehow broken, and it was for us readers, would she be called brilliant?  Maybe all she really knows is random facts about moths--facts that CLIVE discovered.
 
Ann, bookhunter


Message Edited by bookhunter on 03-19-2008 10:27 PM
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Yosproc
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Debbie,
 
I am totally agree with your post!
 
I was very much into the book . . . . especially from the cemetery portion on and was hopeful that I'd get to the end with answers.  Unfortunately, not only did I not get the answers I was looking for . . . I feel like I was left with even more questions.
 
Although the book is well written and intriguing . . . the ending left me wanting.
 
Yolanda
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Portiabr
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-27-2008
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Re: Today

Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with the posts as well as I would have liked, so please excuse me if some of these points have been brought up already.
First of all, in relation to Ginny's feelings on Vivi, it is pointed out in the beginning of the book that she did not even realize at first that this was indeed her sister. She grouped her with the rest of the children in the house and even wondered why she was staying when they all left. That same lack of emotion sprung forward at the end of the book when she decided to kill Vivi.
Also, assuming Ginny is telling the entire story from wherever she ended up (hospital, prison, nursing home), I have to assume that the cloudy details are related to her state of mind. Clive obviously had dementia, if not Alzhiemers, and I assume that Ginny was entering the same fate.
Many people want to assume that their was something "wrong" with Ginny. The way I see it, she is a child of an alcoholic and a victim of domestic abuse. Those 2 things alone can explain her various moods and issues with reality.
Overall, however, I was disappointed with the book. It had great potential to use the metaphor of the moth with Ginny's life, but failed to give me the connection I was looking for. I often got lost in the details of the book and that was extremely frustrating.
I do, however, appreciate the chance to have the first read of a novel and add my 2 cents to the discussion.
 
Portia
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DarcieB
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Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today


Chapter 23: Intuition

-what do you make of Ginny's statement that this is her most "naturally emotional moment" (p. 270), being taken away from her house and Michael, her only friend. What does this tell us about Ginny?

-is Ginny's connection with Michael all in her head? We get just a small snippet of his behavior during this encounter – do you feel it indicates the same depth of feeling between them that Ginny claims?

Today

-we find that in captivity, Ginny feels she has actually been released and freed from the imprisonment of Bulburrow Court (and her memories?)

. I think it's fitting that we don't have a chapter name or number and we can't tell how long ago the events of the book took place; it's as if time as ceased to matter beyond just the minutes on the clock, which Ginny monitors as vigilantly as ever.

So is Ginny better off, having been relieved of all choice, all freedom, but with her delusions in tact and her obsessions apparently humored? She certainly seems happier!

-do you think Ginny got what she deserved in the end? What about Vivi, Maud, and Clive? Was this whole family made up of cannibals, or was Ginny the maggot that devoured the rest from the inside out?


I think Ginny leaving the house would bother her on many levels.  I can't imagine growing up in one house and then living there as adulthood.  She didn't know anything else, but living at boarding school (which she didn't enjoy).  I am not surprised she has an emotional reaction to leaving.  In addition, considering how much she likes her routine and has certain places where she feels comfort.  It is inconceivable to me the trauma that she would be going through leaving the house.

Michael - I think Michael does care about Ginny.  He has known her since childhood and has known her family.  I think it is sweet that he gets her groceries  - although I would say that he isn't taking great care of her if he is only going there every 3 weeks or so, but I am assuming he is able to judge her condition based on aspects of the house.

I like to think Ginny is better off.  She is a character that I really cared about.  I would like to know that even though she killed her sister that her life ended good.  It's odd, but I don't blame her as much for killing Viv.  I think Viv let her sister down in many ways.  For example, how much was she really trying to stop Maud's abuse of Ginny? But what really gets me is that she took as much advantage of Ginny by asking her to give birth to her baby!  Knowing that she had some "mental" issues I think is irresponsible of Viv. I wonder if anyone else thinks that Viv was as abusive to Ginny as well?

I don't feel that Ginny devoured her family.  It is interesting how Clive took her under his wing and Maud escaped into alcohol..and Viv escaped.  I think as with any disfunctional families there are events that define the relationship and the desperation for a change.  For example, Clive couldn't ignore Maud's abuse of Ginny once he saw her going after her with a frying pan.  He had to realize that Maud was going to kill Ginny - her abuse had came to a head.  Plus the witness of Arthur brought someone from the outside who witnessed the abuse.  Although I think Ginny contributed to Maud's drinking by helping her hide it I think she would have drank without her help.  Also the whole family knew about the drinking and choose not to do anything about it until it was severe.  I see them all having a part of the demise of the family not more one than the other.

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dghobbs
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I do feel that ginny is in a better place for her at this time. Everything is provided for her - it seems more like an expensive resort / retirement home. Eventhough she spends all of her time in the room, I don't get the impression that she is required to. It may just be easier for her, so she doesn't have to deal with other people - she was certainly socially awkward. doug
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MissKay1
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Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I also agree that I was disappointed with the ending. I knew that her sister was not going to fair well when she returned home. But I found the last chapter an easy ending and was hoping for more. The poison was a bit predictable for me. I think there are many who will like this book, but for me, it could have had more meat to it in the end.
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LollySirk
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎12-22-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I agree with you that there were no answers for questions arising from statements made early in the book.  Especially the idea of Ginny being protected from the world according to Vivian. Was there something wrong with Ginny from birth? And, of course, why did Vivian come home? I've never read a book before that made me feel so off balance. Still, I enjoyed it very much.        Laura
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Today

The possibility that what is really at issue with Ginny's state of mind is her developing dementia doesn't explain, though, why her mother early on talked about the problem of a "normal" family, nor why Dr. Moyse needs to spend time working with her on what appears to be an early version of a mental diagnostic tool.

Portiabr wrote:
Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with the posts as well as I would have liked, so please excuse me if some of these points have been brought up already.
First of all, in relation to Ginny's feelings on Vivi, it is pointed out in the beginning of the book that she did not even realize at first that this was indeed her sister. She grouped her with the rest of the children in the house and even wondered why she was staying when they all left. That same lack of emotion sprung forward at the end of the book when she decided to kill Vivi.
Also, assuming Ginny is telling the entire story from wherever she ended up (hospital, prison, nursing home), I have to assume that the cloudy details are related to her state of mind. Clive obviously had dementia, if not Alzhiemers, and I assume that Ginny was entering the same fate.
Many people want to assume that their was something "wrong" with Ginny. The way I see it, she is a child of an alcoholic and a victim of domestic abuse. Those 2 things alone can explain her various moods and issues with reality.
Overall, however, I was disappointed with the book. It had great potential to use the metaphor of the moth with Ginny's life, but failed to give me the connection I was looking for. I often got lost in the details of the book and that was extremely frustrating.
I do, however, appreciate the chance to have the first read of a novel and add my 2 cents to the discussion.
Portia



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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mimi29
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I wanted to know so much more about these characters.  I am left with many (too many?) questions.
What was Vivi's purpose in returning to Bulborrow Court?  What had she be doing for the last forty-something years?  Her reaction to the grave of the baby...her inablility to make an emotional connection  to someone she so desperately wanted,  mirrors Ginny's behavior throughout the book.  I found that curious.  Was Ginny severely autistic? What ever happened to Dr. Moyse...and what were those tests he gave Ginny?
I finished this book in the middle of a sleepless night, thinking that reading it might help me get to sleep at 4:00 A.M.  Wrong!  My head was swimming with questions!
 
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