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LC71
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

By starting with Mary's death, it really drew me into the story. This was a book I couldn't put down. I had to know what happened to lead to Mary's death. I did think that when Mary's death happened at the end, it wouldn't be very emotional since I already knew she died but I did shed some tears.

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Hyperviper
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Mr. Monninger's Eternal on the Water is really a joy to read. I love it. I didn't even realize that it was late when I took my eyes off from the book around 3 AM. The setting is interesting -it makes me want to go there up north, since I haven't really been anywhere past Washington DC, and I haven't really camped before. 

 

Mary's death in the beginning gives us something to worry about; it motivates us to turn the pages and makes us question how'd it come to that point. It is sad and inevitable, but I think this Mr. Monninger's approach of storytelling is just fine. It really motivated me to keep going. And as I come to know Mary more throughout the story, I find it hard to accept that she will eventually die in the future. I love her cheerful and down-to-earth personality; as well as the stories she tells Cobb.

 

The imageries of nature in this novel is really well-written. He personifies the things in nature, making it more vivid and capitvating. The kinetic imageries of the kayaking scenes really made me feel I was part of that experience even though I wasn't familiar with its mechanics.The writing truly feels fresh and pure.

 

I was feeling Cobb and Mary's chemistry from the beginning. They kissed too much, and talked about bears, Thoreau a lot. Love at first sight? Hmm...I don't believe in immediate love. I see it more like . I thought it was just mere physical attraction at first, yet they come to like each other more as they talked, kissed, talked, kayaked, and kissed. They have a lot of things in common -they both teach, they're both nature lovers, etc..

 


What do you make of Mary's nightmares?

 

I know that she jerked uncontrollably, hit her head, and hit Cobb while sleeping. Hmm...this could be a sign of her fears for the future, or hidden health complications that she might have. I didn't give much thought to it though. I just thought that it didn't have any abstract meaning; just a nightmare- that's all.

 

What do you make of Cobb's relationship with Henry David Thoreau? Mary respects his reason for being on this trip. Does she seem to embody any of what Cobb admires about Thoreau? Why do you think this writer is so important to Cobb?

 

Cobb admires Thoreau perhaps because he could relate to themes in Thoreau's works such as Walden. Walden's theme, the simplicity of living in nature is reflected in this story. Perhaps Mr. Monninger wants us to see the resemblance between Cobb's experience and Thoreau's Walden.

 


What do you make of the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arrange for them? How seriously do all of them take it?

 

Magical. I think it was more significant to Mary than Cobb though.

 


 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 

No, I couldn't tell, but now that I think about it, I feel like Mary's nightmare could be a foreshadowing of her "sickness" and death.

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dclement04
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Registered: ‎09-30-2008
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?


At first, I thought ok well this will be the story about HOW she died and I figured that Cobb was her husband because the ranger asked him. The fact that this book started off with the death did not repel me at all. As I continued to read I forgot about the fact that she died because the story has been so intriguing and full of life you can't focus on the fact that she dies. So I am thoroughly enjoying this book so far.

 

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

 

I absolutely have faith and believe that love can be like this. This is so romantic and I am excited for both characters that they get to enjoy each other like this so much. it gives me hope that maybe one day I can feel as passionately about someone like Mary does about Cobb and Cobb about Mary....LOVE ON!


 

What do you make of Cobb's relationship with Henry David Thoreau? Mary respects his reason for being on this trip. Does she seem to embody any of what Cobb admires about Thoreau? Why do you think this writer is so important to Cobb?

 

I would first have to know who this person was to answer this question..I will have to research more on this person and his work.

 

What do you make of the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arrange for them? How seriously do all of them take it?

 

I think the girls really believed that Mary and Cobb would be a great couple. Mary just seemed so happy that she met Cobb and they had such a strong connection because at this wedding ceremony it writes that "Mary's eyes began to tear" (p123). I think Mary started to cry because either she thought that this could be the only wedding she really gets to experience or that she could stay with Cobb but then he decides to leave after the trip is over. I just get so excited for them because this kind of love is possible. I'm optimistic! 

 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 

OOYEE..I think that Mary's honesty in this situation is necessary. She knows something that Cobb doesn't and by being upfront with him about everything is best. At least both of them know what they will be getting themselves into. Cobb from this point on will have to be honest with himself and truly ask can he deal with this.

 

I am currently in a situation similar to this (but in another capacity) where I have to ask myself truly do I want to deal with this..So I feel his pain on making this decision.

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Thryth
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎02-05-2008

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I have no problem with knowing the ending before reading the rest of the novel.  If truth be told, I always read the last few pages first of each novel I pick up to read.  It has never caused me to not read the rest of the novel, and often makes me want to read the novel even more so than before.  I was really pulled into the story when Cobb began telling the ranger about his life with Mary.  I honestly couldn't wait to turn the page and start reading the first chapter.

 

I most definitely believe in love at first sight - I believe the Italians refer to it as being struck by a bold of thunder through the heart (or something like that).  Speaking personally, I've experienced it once in my life . . . it was incredibly astonishing to say the least.  Unfortunately, he did not feel quite the same as I did.  After a relationship over the span of three years, we went our separate ways and married other people.  However, we still have a very close connection, and are good friends to this day.  I find Cobbs relationship with Mary to be wonderous, and in a strange way, very familiar.

 

We all have nightmares from time to time, for a variety of reasons, but more often than not because we have unresolved issues - sometimes unresolved, sometimes tramatic.  In Mary's case, I think she was wrestling to rid herself of something both tramatic and unresolved.  Perhaps she wishes to shed the disease only we know she carries and will ultimately die from in the hope that she and Cobb might share a normal life together.

 

Cobb seems somewhat distanced from Thoreau at times, but overall, he is drawn to the way of life Thoreau advicated: living close to nature without the burdens of overly complicated technology. I believe one of the reasons Cobb is drawn to Mary is how close she is to nature due in part to her obsession with every aspect of crows' lives - not just the physical aspects, but the spiritual aspects as well.  She appears to have found her way to living life in a simple straight forward and exhuberant manner.  In a fast-paced world of technology, day-to-day life can be unbearably cruel for no reason, and beyond enduring, with little reward, hope or direction as illustrated in the unfinished story he told about the young blackman whose friend committed suicide. I believe Cobb yearns for the simplicity of living in harmony with nature, of being one with and part of the circle of life found in nature.

 

 

The beauty and spirituality of the wedding the Chungamunga girls arranged for Mary and Cobb was wonderous, mystical and sacred.  Without a doubt, I believe everyone took the ceremony to heart, and more importantly, believed in the sanctity of the ceremony.  Mary and Cobb were truely husband and wife regardless of whether they were legally married or not.

 

I believe Mary is trying to be as fair to Cobb as possible by requiring him to agree to her conditions for them to continue their relationship.  In her mind, he must have all the information before he can make an informed decision; it would be  both selfish and cruel to allow him to commit to any sort of relationship otherwise.  Although I think Mary is being terribly selfish, it may be she has to be selfish in order to go on living.  I would not be able to keep the test results to myself if the results indicated she did not actively have Huntington's.  I believe I would be able to keep the results to myself if they indicated she was indeed going to die from the disease.

 

I am so drawn in by this novel.  It is an incredible story thus far,  well written, and very compelling.  I can not wait to continue reading it.

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Lisa1971
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I'm not all the way to the end of chapter 8 but from the beginning I was pulled in right away. You can tolerate away to the truly holds married to a higher level right from the beginning.

 

This love story is truly beautiful. It makes me want to believe that there is such a thing as immediate and true love.

 

So far what I've read of Mary's nightmares makes me think that there's some kind of deep and dark secret was just lurking to be found out. Because so far she seems just too perfect.

 

So far I find Cobb's relationship with Henry David Thoreau to be a little obsessive and find that he seems to be searching for something and thinks he'll find it through this escapade of following his mentors Route. I think had seems to be searching for some kind of inner peace he identifies in his mentors memoirs.

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8


vanettaq wrote:

Do to unexpected events, I didn't get to read the chapters yet, I hope to catch up by the next posting of the chapters. 

 

I am new at this, as this is my first book club as well. 

 

I don't want to read everyone's reply's because I want to read the book and not "spoilers" for me at this time. 

 

Keep reading everyone... I will catch up.! :smileyhappy:     Dear vanettaq....All the threads are kept up,for quite some time,so just enjoy Josephs "Eternal on the Water" we are here if you need us....Vtc


 

 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Popper19
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

This thought crossed my mind too.

 


spaz_k7 wrote:

Just a thought, but...Are we really sure that Mary has the disease? Maybe I missed something at the beginning, but didn't she say that as soon as she started developing symptoms she would kill herself? So isn't it possible that she thinks these things (nightmares, loss of balance, etc.) are symptoms and kills herself even if it turns out that they aren't? I would be very mad if it ended like this but maybe Cobb never finds out until she dies and then he looks at the test results and realizes she didn't even have the disease and only thought she was developing symptoms. That would be tragic. Anyway, I've just been wondering if it's possible that she doesn't actually have Huntington's.


embersky_gemini wrote:

Overall, I am loving this book.  At first I wasn't phased by the fact that we know she dies at the beginning, but the more I read I am starting to not enjoy that fact. It kind of makes it obvious that she will have the disease because we know she chooses to die right from the beginning. But in a way it makes it better because I won't be shocked to find it may not end happily.  I don't feel that I could keep a secret in the way Cobb promised to about the test results. I feel my actions would give it away. What if he found out that she has the disease and just never talks to her again. Not that he would do that with the love they seem to have between them, but if someone else were to do such a thing wouldn't that be a giveaway to her? I'm getting at that her choice she gives him could easily betray her wish to not know somehow. 

I enjoy the stories Mary tells, and it made me think of crows in a different way, and I really love stories of different mythologies.


 


 

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AIRKNITTER
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Mary's knock-knock jokes are so silly that just thinking of this one makes me laugh out loud.

 

"knock, knock"


who's there

 

"Sam and Janet"

 

Sam and Janet who....

 

:smileyvery-happy:

Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.
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babzilla41
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

What do you make of Mary's nightmares?

 

When I first read the passage where she was having  a "nightmare", I immediately thought she had a brain tumor or something.  When she was so insistent when asking Cobb about what he saw, I was more certain that she had some kind of medical condition.  Then it was revealed that she has Huntington's disease; so I thought that maybe it was the disease manifesting itself - which would explain why Mary was so intent on getting the details from Cobb.  If it was the disease, it may indicate to Mary that the disease was progressing.

 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 

I think Mary has every right to place those conditions on Cobb.  It's her decision on how she choses to continue her life with her disease.  Although I think Mary is a very strong person in that she chooses to live her life fully, no matter what, that that way of life is "ingrained" in her, but I think she is somewhat naive to think that Cobb could know the results of the test and never reveal to her, in any way, those results.  He may not purposely reveal what he learns, but I think his actions would eventually tip her off one way or the other.

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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dhaupt
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 


AIRKNITTER wrote:

Mary's knock-knock jokes are so silly that just thinking of this one makes me laugh out loud.

 

"knock, knock"


who's there

 

"Sam and Janet"

 

Sam and Janet who....

 

:smileyvery-happy:


 

I agree with you on the knock-knock jokes, in fact the humor in the book was really what got me through the tough parts.

 

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

VT Agrees,Joseph has exceptional timing,the humor is there when we needed it most...

Adapt wrote:

 


ORIENTATE wrote:

Mary's knock-knock jokes are so silly that just thinking of this one makes me laugh out loud.

 

"knock, knock"


who's there

 

"Sam and Janet"

 

Sam and Janet who....

 

:smileyvery-happy:


 

I agree with you on the knock-knock jokes, in fact the humor in the book was really what got me through the tough parts.

 


 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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chris227
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

That thought has actually crossed my mind.  I think we are all inferring that the fact that she is dead means that she has Huntington's.  Maybe this isn't the case and all.  Could it be that this woman who has been so fearful of Huntington's actually succumbs to another illness and just chooses the same path as she would if she developed Huntington's?

 

I would hate to think as you say, spaz, that Mary attributed symptoms to Huntington's and chooses to end of her life when in fact she does not have the disease at all.  That would make a sad story even sadder!

 


spaz_k7 wrote:

Just a thought, but...Are we really sure that Mary has the disease? Maybe I missed something at the beginning, but didn't she say that as soon as she started developing symptoms she would kill herself? So isn't it possible that she thinks these things (nightmares, loss of balance, etc.) are symptoms and kills herself even if it turns out that they aren't? I would be very mad if it ended like this but maybe Cobb never finds out until she dies and then he looks at the test results and realizes she didn't even have the disease and only thought she was developing symptoms. That would be tragic. Anyway, I've just been wondering if it's possible that she doesn't actually have Huntington's.


embersky_gemini wrote:

Overall, I am loving this book.  At first I wasn't phased by the fact that we know she dies at the beginning, but the more I read I am starting to not enjoy that fact. It kind of makes it obvious that she will have the disease because we know she chooses to die right from the beginning. But in a way it makes it better because I won't be shocked to find it may not end happily.  I don't feel that I could keep a secret in the way Cobb promised to about the test results. I feel my actions would give it away. What if he found out that she has the disease and just never talks to her again. Not that he would do that with the love they seem to have between them, but if someone else were to do such a thing wouldn't that be a giveaway to her? I'm getting at that her choice she gives him could easily betray her wish to not know somehow. 

I enjoy the stories Mary tells, and it made me think of crows in a different way, and I really love stories of different mythologies.


 


 

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Stewies_Mom
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

 

I like the introduction of the ending, i.e.. Mary's death, as a kind of starting off point in the present.  Then the story begins, in the past.  Kind of like a flashback that Cobb is experiencing while he is telling Officer Sarah his story.  Beginning the story in this manner grabbed my attention right from the beginning.  I visualized this almost as though it were a movie, the ending being kind of clear, and the next part sort of like in a fog that clears once the story telling begins.  I know, it's kind of funny, but that's how my minds eye saw it.

 

 

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

 

I understand what the author is trying to convey, soul mates.  I don't know if I believe it, though.  The dialogue between Mary and Cobb is great, but, somewhere in the back of my mind, I find it unbelievable, not real.

 

What do you make of Mary's nightmares?

 

I don't think Mary's nightmares are nightmares, but I'm not very far into the story, yet.  I have only read about one such occurrence.  I'm waiting for more as the story progresses.

 

What do you make of Cobb's relationship with Henry David Thoreau? Mary respects his reason for being on this trip. Does she seem to embody any of what Cobb admires about Thoreau? Why do you think this writer is so important to Cobb?

 

I don't know what Cobb's attraction to Thoreau is about, but what makes anyone admire anyone else?  It satisfies me enough to know that he admires him, no questions asked.

 

I haven't read enough to address any of the other thoughts posted at this point, but those are the feeling I have right now.

HBT
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HBT
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 

 

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

 

     I thought the beginning was a great introduction. To me it let me know that we are listening to a man who loved this women and that these were his memories. The fact that the beginning implies that Mary killed herself was a turn off for me. I did not want to read the book after that. However I did keep reading. I doubt that it was an accident but I am hoping that it was. 

 

 

What do you make of the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arrange for them? How seriously do all of them take it?

 

     I thought the wedding was perfect. Granted it is not legal but it was the most romantic wedding I have read about. The Changamunga girls took everything so serious and that made the event special. The fact that they said they are eternal on the water make me think the story will be passed from one year to the next. Even if Cobb and Mary never continued their relationship after leaving the river, she would tell the story about her "husband". Maybe she would say he turned into a bear and lives in the forest.

 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 

     I think Mary's conditions for Cobb are fair. She never wanted to know and she is only having the test so Cobb entered into a relationship knowing everything. I could now the results of the test and not say anything. It is the wishes of the other person. I would be wrong not to respect them.

 

 


 

 

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rosia408
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

Knowing the ending captured my attention. I was excited to find out what it was that happened in Mary and Cobb's lives to bring this ending. It immediately drew me into the story. I still have the last section to finish " An Egg OF Air", so I want to be careful not to read any spoilers. Even though we know she will take end her own life, I don't want to spoil the story for myself. 

 

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

 

I have to say that I do believe in immediate true love such as Mary and Cobb had. I don't think it happens very often though. What is so sad is the tragedy of how fleeting their love is. It reminds me of the shooting stars that they were looking at later on in the Yellowstone section. They shine so brightly and then are gone. Mary and Cobb's love shone so brightly and then was gone.

 

As for the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arranged, although it was not a legal marriage, it was binding for Mary and Cobb. Being eternal on the water was all important to her, being married before the Chungamunga was eternal to Mary. I don't get though that Cobb went along with it. It seemed a bit daft to me! I thought he just went along with it to please her, yet he never expressed that.

 

I totally understand Mary not wanting to know the test results, as her character just wants to live each day as it counts the most! I don't know how long I could not tell what the results are. Eventually I think it would slip out about what the results were.

 

I have to say I am enjoying this book immensely.

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literature
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8


Peppermill wrote:

Most girls may not have persued Cobb the way she did because she felt she has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

Mom -- an interesting comment.  One I hadn't considered, particularly in relation to Mary's need to distance herself from Cobb for awhile.  It seems to me that in love one often cares about the other as much as about oneself -- perhaps almost a definition of love.  Thus, what must it have been like for Mary to come back and go ahead with the relationship with Cobb?  We are only told this story from Cobb's perspective.  Somewhere, her soul must have told her she could still give more or at least as much to the relationship as she would receive -- at least if Cobb could accept the condition of her potential illness.

 

 


momoftwinsMM wrote:

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

 

I am absolutely captivated by Mary & Cobb's relationship. I believe in immediate true love like this, with the caveat that it does not and will not occur for everyone. There are so many factors that have to be at play (as Mary indicated) to ensure that they not only met, but that they met at a certain time in their lives when they were ready to accept this love. Mary's condition also changes the way she reacts to situations. Most girls may not have persued Cobb the way she did because she felt she has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

The beauty and lack of complication in this relationship makes me happy. I am sitting back and enjoying the ride of their relationship and wishing that all relationships could be so transparent.


To MOM and Peppermill,

When Cobb was telling Mary about being his Yeti,  Mary said she had to be apart from him for 1 or 2 nights to collect herself, that she was the anthropologist of her own life and that she preferred to think of it as taking pleasure slowly.  It was this type of bantering back and forth that sets the pace in their relaitonship...sort of a verbal lovemaking.

 

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milkamilka
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Registered: ‎08-24-2009
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I just received the book last night and unfortunately I have just read the first 3 chapters.

 

I will answer to this question: Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

 

I loved the beginning of the book. It catched my attention and I know I will be reading the book with a thought of Mary's death in my head. I think that by telling the ending at the beginning catches the attention, it makes the reader want to know what happened before that all happened.

 

So far, this book has been really good, can't wait to read some more of it!

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basson_mommy12
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

Please use any of these questions to begin discussion of Eternal on the Water. Also please feel free to post your own questions for the group!

 

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

 

I thought it was effective to grab you.  We don't know how long the relationship lasted, we don't know the precise leading-up-to sequence of events, so there's still much to be known.

 

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

 

This is really similar to my husband and me, so yes, it is totally believable for me.

 

What do you make of Cobb's relationship with Henry David Thoreau? Mary respects his reason for being on this trip. Does she seem to embody any of what Cobb admires about Thoreau? Why do you think this writer is so important to Cobb?

 

I think it's foreshadowing (but I haven't read past much of the second section, so not trying to spoil, really!) since Thoreau only lived another 4 years after his journey on the Allagash.  It's just a guess.

 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 

Yes, I think I could do it.  I don't blame her for not wanting to know, but I think she's assuming she has Huntington's anyway, so if she gains an impression from him one way or the other, whatever the results be, what difference does it make, really?

 

 


 

 

"The Answer to the Great Question of ... Life, the Universe and Everything ... (is) 42." -- Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Ruth W.
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bibanon1
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I thought this was a really powerful way to begin the book. It actually reminded me of the beginning of John Irving's new book LAST NIGHT ON TWISTED RIVER. Both begin with a body in the cold waters of a New England river.  I always like it when a book opens by giving away a major plot point and then going back to tell you how it happened. I find it intriguing.

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maxcat
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Best of luck, Norma. I just know everything will go well.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost