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Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 912
Registered: ‎08-30-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

The Cave of Hands.  I haven't had time to research, but someone else in this group has probably already made the connection.  Muse mentioned something aboriginal(?)  Is this name an allusion to something of which I'm not aware?

 

And what about Quinn's fitting his hand inside one of the prints?  Was this a cave Quinn had visited as a child?  Was that his handprint?  Was that action included to make us further question Sadie's being capable of real magic (This is a place all kids think is magical)?  

 

Anyone want to share thoughts?  :smileyhappy:

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


whiteginger wrote:

The Cave of Hands.  I haven't had time to research, but someone else in this group has probably already made the connection.  Muse mentioned something aboriginal(?)  Is this name an allusion to something of which I'm not aware?

 

And what about Quinn's fitting his hand inside one of the prints?  Was this a cave Quinn had visited as a child?  Was that his handprint?  Was that action included to make us further question Sadie's being capable of real magic (This is a place all kids think is magical)?  

 

Anyone want to share thoughts?  :smileyhappy:


Hi whiteginger,

I was also intrigued by the Cave of Hands, and I found this information regarding hand stencils in Aboriginal cave art at http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/aboriginal-rock-art.html

 

Some stencils were left to mark a nation's territory or a hierarchy of importance. The higher up a hand stencil on the rock and the more of the wrist and arm appeared the more important the person. Children's stencils are usually found at the bottom of stencil arrangements.

 

I think that the cave must have been a place where Quinn and Sarah must have discovered and played in. It just seemed like he was happy to be there, it was a natural reaction to place his hand on the drawing. And I think it added to the magic that Sadie performed - it didn't make me question her ability, rather it added to my belief that she could perform magic. I think we have enough evidence from earlier information in the book that Sadie has the ability to perform some kind of magic, for lack of a better word, but it seems uncontrolled. She has bits and pieces, here and there, kind of like one of those radio satellites that seems to pick up random noise from the universe. I suspect that she will be a force to be reckoned with, as she grows older and her power matures.

 

I'm really sorry, I've been a bit incognito this week. My car was hit in a grocery store parking lot, and subsequently the bumper fell off while I was trying to get to a body shop for an estimate. I'll check in again later this week, but this whole thing has kept me busy, which has set the rest of my life back by quite a bit. The discussion is great - couldn't have said all of your comments better myself! ;-)

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Sorry I am late to the table. I have been traveling north from Florida and just got to a computer that is happy to have me play with it. The Ipad is a pain to post on.

 

1. Quinn tells his mother about the years since he left, but he still refuses to tell her who killed Sarah
What would you have done

 

I think i would surely have done what Quinn did. I don't think it would serve any purpose to hurt his mom as she lay dying.

It would have  solved nothing and surely would not helped Quinn in his effort to bring his uncle to justice.

However, I think he was able to do keep it secret because he felt that she believed he was innocent. Had she not, I thought perhaps, he would have told her in order to clear his name.

 

I think that your question in week two clarified this for me. After overhearing the conversation, I think he believed his mom asked his father about what happened in order to reassure him that she was unafraid of his father's answer, that she believed Quinn, regardless of what his father said. Mary did not seem the type of person to try and humiliate her son and trap him. Her love for him seemed to be the overarching attribute of the stituation.

:

(7. At the end of week two Quinn is caught in his mother’s sick room as his father stands outside the window when his mother asks his father to tell her what happened on the day Sarah died. Quinn thinks this may be a trap do you?)

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


elaine_hf wrote:

whiteginger wrote:

The Cave of Hands.  I haven't had time to research, but someone else in this group has probably already made the connection.  Muse mentioned something aboriginal(?)  Is this name an allusion to something of which I'm not aware?

 

And what about Quinn's fitting his hand inside one of the prints?  Was this a cave Quinn had visited as a child?  Was that his handprint?  Was that action included to make us further question Sadie's being capable of real magic (This is a place all kids think is magical)?  

 

Anyone want to share thoughts?  :smileyhappy:


Hi whiteginger,

I was also intrigued by the Cave of Hands, and I found this information regarding hand stencils in Aboriginal cave art at http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/aboriginal-rock-art.html

 

Some stencils were left to mark a nation's territory or a hierarchy of importance. The higher up a hand stencil on the rock and the more of the wrist and arm appeared the more important the person. Children's stencils are usually found at the bottom of stencil arrangements.

 

I think that the cave must have been a place where Quinn and Sarah must have discovered and played in. It just seemed like he was happy to be there, it was a natural reaction to place his hand on the drawing. And I think it added to the magic that Sadie performed - it didn't make me question her ability, rather it added to my belief that she could perform magic. I think we have enough evidence from earlier information in the book that Sadie has the ability to perform some kind of magic, for lack of a better word, but it seems uncontrolled. She has bits and pieces, here and there, kind of like one of those radio satellites that seems to pick up random noise from the universe. I suspect that she will be a force to be reckoned with, as she grows older and her power matures.

 

I'm really sorry, I've been a bit incognito this week. My car was hit in a grocery store parking lot, and subsequently the bumper fell off while I was trying to get to a body shop for an estimate. I'll check in again later this week, but this whole thing has kept me busy, which has set the rest of my life back by quite a bit. The discussion is great - couldn't have said all of your comments better myself! ;-)


Elaine, thanks for the link.

I'm not glad your car was hit but I am glad you were not hurt and I know that life takes on a life of it's own sometimes preventing us doing what we "want" and precipitating "need".

 

Your's and everyone's comments have been great during this pre-pubbed read and I'll take you and everyone else however and whenever I can.

I hope everything goes well for you.

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

4. While in the cemetery sweating in his boots Quinn tells Mrs. Porteous that yes he did meet her husband in Egypt and that yes he did talk about her.
Was this merely a way to avoid his uncle or do you think he did it for the sake of her memory too

 

I think this was the author's way to hint that Quinn was truly innocent and not a man with murderous intent toward anyone.

None of the memories Quinn shared exhibited deliberate malice toward anyone. He had been forced to commit a terrible injustice; he never wanted to do it. He had witnessed horrible tragedies. Now, when he was given an opportunity to show a kindness to this woman, as with his mom, he chose the route of compassion and empathy. What would the truth have done but hurt her? It served no purpose and was a white lie of a good nature.

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


thewanderingjew wrote:

4. While in the cemetery sweating in his boots Quinn tells Mrs. Porteous that yes he did meet her husband in Egypt and that yes he did talk about her.
Was this merely a way to avoid his uncle or do you think he did it for the sake of her memory too

 

I think this was the author's way to hint that Quinn was truly innocent and not a man with murderous intent toward anyone.

None of the memories Quinn shared exhibited deliberate malice toward anyone. He had been forced to commit a terrible injustice; he never wanted to do it. He had witnessed horrible tragedies. Now, when he was given an opportunity to show a kindness to this woman, as with his mom, he chose the route of compassion and empathy. What would the truth have done but hurt her? It served no purpose and was a white lie of a good nature.


Thank you TWJ, I think that throughout the novel Chris brings forth in many ways Quinn's innocence by just showing us the kind of man he became even through all the things he suffered. 

Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 912
Registered: ‎08-30-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Thanks, Elaine!  Hope you get everything "back together"  :smileyhappy:  You're OK, right?  No injuries?  And please tell us it wasn't a hit-and-run.

 

I'm headed to the link you sent!

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Thanks, all! No, not a hit and run; I had backed out of a parking spot and a guy driving a beer van decided to back out without looking and hit me. Of course, he claims it's my fault ("I didn't see you!"), I'm sure it's his, but his boss cut me a check for the damages. So, it has a happy ending, but who needs the inconvenience? And I feel so fortunate that no one was hurt, either there or when I was driving and my bumper started to flap loose...

 

I have to comment on the cemetery scene with Robert Dalton and Mrs. Porteous. To expand a little on what THJ mentioned, yes it was a kindness, but beyond that I think that she recognized Quinn and was trying to protect him. If not recognized, she at least saw that he was in danger from Robert and stepped in to help him. So I think that his comments regarding her husband were a way for Quinn to pay her back, to set her mind at ease. It cost nothing to either party, and certainly gave her some comfort.

 

Off soon to drop the check off to the body shop, so we can get these repairs rolling...so to speak....

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

1.  I think Quinn was right in not telling his mother who killed Sarah.  Why spring that information on her on her deathbed.  He felt there was nothing to be gained, only lost, by sharing that information.

 

2.  For Quinn, I don’t think it was a question of whether or not he should have told Sadie about what happened the day Sarah died, I think he had to tell her.  Quinn found someone he could share the information with who would believe him without question.  Quinn needed to unburden himself from the years of keeping the secret.  I expect that merely being able to tell someone after all the years was a relief in and of itself.

 

3.  As I said on another thread, I thought that Sadie had some physic abilities.  Part of what made the book fascinating for me was that I couldn't quite state for certain that this was true.  There was enough ambiguity to keep the seed of doubt alive.

 

4.  I loved the scene in the cemetery with Quinn, his uncle, and Mrs. Porteous!  The tension was palpable!  Quinn wanted to provide comfort to Mrs. Porteous, and did so, even though he had to take the details of Sadie’s brother’s life to do so.  I thought it was touching.

 

5.  It is hard to say what Jim Gracie’s motive for suicide was.  I got the impression that he was truly sorry, but I think he knew deep down that Robert didn’t really make him do anything.  He was responsible for his own actions.  I got the impression that he punished himself by taking his own life.

 

6.  I thought that having Quinn kill Robert Dalton was completely appropriate for the story.  Quinn stated to Robert on page 225, “I came to protect Sadie Fox and to get justice for my sister.”  Sadly, I think the only way for Quinn to protect Sadie was for him to kill Robert.  I don’t think they could have escaped from him undetected.

 

7.  I think Sadie and Quinn went toNewcastle,England.  After that it is not clear what happened.  It sounds as if Sadie and Quinn were separated, Sadie went toIreland, and then died.  I don’t think either of them lived for five years, sad to say.  

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


aprilh wrote:

 

The real mystery for me throughout this entire book was whether or not I believed that Sadie was Sarah in another life. I find myself going back and forth on this issue. I'm curious what everyone else thinks. Did Sadie just have psychic abilities or was she really Sarah?


 

Yes, I was going to ask the same question.  I loved the ambiguity.  I thought it was well done by the author.  Since I do believe that people are able to communicate with the dead and the dead with us, I was able to believe that Sadie had some type of psychic powers.  When Quinn did call her Sarah a few times, I felt those were scenes/instances where the similarities with Sarah or with an experience he had with Sarah were so similar, Quinn found himself replacing Sadie with Sarah in his mind, though Sarah and Sadie were two different people.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Scribe
optic_i
Posts: 750
Registered: ‎06-26-2011
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Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


whiteginger wrote:

The Cave of Hands.  I haven't had time to research, but someone else in this group has probably already made the connection.  Muse mentioned something aboriginal(?)  Is this name an allusion to something of which I'm not aware?

 

And what about Quinn's fitting his hand inside one of the prints?  Was this a cave Quinn had visited as a child?  Was that his handprint?  Was that action included to make us further question Sadie's being capable of real magic (This is a place all kids think is magical)?  

 

Anyone want to share thoughts?  :smileyhappy:


I had to really think about the Cave of Hands, Thank You Elaine for the Aboriginal link !  I just kept thinking about the poor lamb sacrifice. Although I did think it demonstrated one more way Sadie was trying to get some protection and perhaps her way of getting God to notice them .
Optic

Inspired Wordsmith
kimba88
Posts: 790
Registered: ‎01-05-2011

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

I too waivered back and forth as to whether Sadie was real or not. The Cave of Hands was fasinating, and I do believe he's been there before perhaps with Sarah. I think Quinn was trying to be compassionate to the widow. I think Quinn was right in sparing his mother, and I agree with someone who said their relationship seemed too new. I do believe she felt Quinn did not kill Sarah. I think it was a fitting ending that Robert dies *shivers*

I enjoyed this novel and it sounds like most of you did too. Thank to Deb. Chris and Penguin :smileyhappy:

Scribe
Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
Registered: ‎06-09-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Geez guys,

 

I guess the old adage those who sleep weep.  I got left on the porch this week.  Our daughter is here from California and we are touring WV with her so I haven't been near a computer either.   The conversation is fantastic.  I don't know where to start or what to reply to.  

Thank you Elaine for the link to the Aboriginal ste on the Cave of Hands.  I knew I had seen it before. :-) .  

 

aprilh wrote:

 

The real mystery for me throughout this entire book was whether or not I believed that Sadie was Sarah in another life. I find myself going back and forth on this issue. I'm curious what everyone else thinks. Did Sadie just have psychic abilities or was she really Sarah?

 

I really do not think Sadie was Sarah's reincarnation.  If anything I think that Sarah was a product of one of Robert's rapes.  Hence it makes Robert's final rape even more heinous.  But that aside, Sadie was just a very observant young girl that was old beyond her years.  She was smart and had an analytical brain that allowed her to put 2 and 2 together and figure out a lot of things.  Psychic?  No, I don't think so, but she didn't leave anything to chance.  She tapped into all spiritual sources she knew of to try to make sure she survived and used her great creative spirit to fill in any blanks she didn't know.

Sadie is also, in the Greek sense, the "chorus" to this story.  She is the tool that keeps the story going.  She is the storyteller who is able to provide us with the details that we have no other way to find out about.  The storyteller has to be all knowing and all seeing.  They are the one responsible for keeping the story moving along.  Sadie's character performed these tasks admirable.

 

Muse 

 

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,653
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


elaine_hf wrote:

Thanks, all! No, not a hit and run; I had backed out of a parking spot and a guy driving a beer van decided to back out without looking and hit me. Of course, he claims it's my fault ("I didn't see you!"), I'm sure it's his, but his boss cut me a check for the damages. So, it has a happy ending, but who needs the inconvenience? And I feel so fortunate that no one was hurt, either there or when I was driving and my bumper started to flap loose...

 

I have to comment on the cemetery scene with Robert Dalton and Mrs. Porteous. To expand a little on what THJ mentioned, yes it was a kindness, but beyond that I think that she recognized Quinn and was trying to protect him. If not recognized, she at least saw that he was in danger from Robert and stepped in to help him. So I think that his comments regarding her husband were a way for Quinn to pay her back, to set her mind at ease. It cost nothing to either party, and certainly gave her some comfort.

 

Off soon to drop the check off to the body shop, so we can get these repairs rolling...so to speak....

Elaine


TWJ and Elaine,

I had wondered aobut the cemetery scene and thought it gave Quinn a way out of his situation with Robert Dalton. I love these ideas and recognize how good you are piecing this together.

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Muse,

Just curious - what leads you to believe that Sarah was Robert's daughter? I just figured him for a disgusting pedophile, among other things, but maybe I have missed some subtlety of their relationship. As I (maybe poorly) recall, it's been mentioned that Quinn's mother holds her brother in some kind of respect - or could it be fear? Anyway, just wondering what led to that thought.

 

I also don't really think that Sadie is Sarah, but I do think that Quinn is confused and maybe spiralling a bit down into some kind of madness. He's tired, afraid, he's probably hungry, upset about the plague and his mother and the war, Sadie is constantly coming up with information that he doesn't understand. It would be easy to see him start to meld the two people, Sarah and Sadie, into one. And we have to figure in his PTSD, which is easy to neglect. I like the idea that Sadie provides the chorus - without her, I think there wouldn't be the continuity that holds the story together - I think of her more as the glue, filling in the gaps.

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


Mountain_Muse wrote:

Geez guys,

 

I guess the old adage those who sleep weep.  I got left on the porch this week.  Our daughter is here from California and we are touring WV with her so I haven't been near a computer either.   The conversation is fantastic.  I don't know where to start or what to reply to.  

Thank you Elaine for the link to the Aboriginal ste on the Cave of Hands.  I knew I had seen it before. :-) .  

 

aprilh wrote:

 

The real mystery for me throughout this entire book was whether or not I believed that Sadie was Sarah in another life. I find myself going back and forth on this issue. I'm curious what everyone else thinks. Did Sadie just have psychic abilities or was she really Sarah?

 

I really do not think Sadie was Sarah's reincarnation.  If anything I think that Sarah was a product of one of Robert's rapes.  Hence it makes Robert's final rape even more heinous.  But that aside, Sadie was just a very observant young girl that was old beyond her years.  She was smart and had an analytical brain that allowed her to put 2 and 2 together and figure out a lot of things.  Psychic?  No, I don't think so, but she didn't leave anything to chance.  She tapped into all spiritual sources she knew of to try to make sure she survived and used her great creative spirit to fill in any blanks she didn't know.

Sadie is also, in the Greek sense, the "chorus" to this story.  She is the tool that keeps the story going.  She is the storyteller who is able to provide us with the details that we have no other way to find out about.  The storyteller has to be all knowing and all seeing.  They are the one responsible for keeping the story moving along.  Sadie's character performed these tasks admirable.

 

Muse 

 


Muse, you just enjoy that girl while you can and give WV a week it'll never forget.

 

hmmm, when you said that Sarah was a product of Robert's rape, I'm assuming (and we all know what that does) that you're meaning that she's his daughter.

I just don't see that, first he seems to prey mostly on young girls, and as forward thinking as Mary was and as much as she respected and loved her brother I just can't put that in my pipe and smoke it.

Let us in on the the whys please.

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


I agree with Elaine here, I also love the idea of Sadie as the chorus.

 

I never thought that Sadie was a figment, I always saw her as Quinn's salvation as she's not only giving him a reason to go on but someone to protect after he failed Sarah.

 

And now my impression of them going forward five years, yes my optimism is showing. I don't see them in the role of brother and sister although it's an evolution for them. They do survive make it to England and prospser with all the other growing middle class in the UK after WWI.

I don't know what leads me to believe this, but I see a romance that grows out of this, but very slowly and after much soul searching.

 

I really loved this novel, I loved that Chris didn't actually give us an ending but left it open to our own interpretations. I loved how he incorporated historical facts with his fiction, I loved how his narrative flowed and I loved his dialogue. And my optimist loved how his villains got theirs in the end.

 

I want to take this time to thank all of you for your interest in and participation in reading the novel, all the comments and thoughts gave me some different ways of thinking of the novel and as always I learn from all of you just by reading your thoughts and your ideas.

 

So this is to all my participants here

and don't go too far because I'm looking into more ways of doing this kind of read in the future.

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

Hi Pen,

Do you think that the cemetery scene might also show Dalton for the bully he was? He was pretty arrogant and impressed with his own power. He knew he was the final word in town and easily passed judgment on others.

twj

Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,653
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Week three discussion of Bereft


thewanderingjew wrote:

Hi Pen,

Do you think that the cemetery scene might also show Dalton for the bully he was? He was pretty arrogant and impressed with his own power. He knew he was the final word in town and easily passed judgment on others.

twj


I hadn't thought of that. It does make sense. Dalton seemed full of himself. I agrees that he was arrogant. I could see the power of his job going to Dalton's head. Thanks, you are thinking, that went right by me when I was reading.

Scribe
Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
Registered: ‎06-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Week three discussion of Bereft

I have not left you guys behind, nor ignored your questions about my  reasons for suspecting Robert being the father of Sadie....just getting back from a week of play and exploration with the daughter...so let me get my info and wits collected and I will respond.  It's all there.

The week with the daughter was the BEST.  They are too few and too far between anymore, so we treasure each and every visit.  Hopefully, I will have it all put together tomorrow.  Thanks for your patience.

Muse

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.