Reply
Distinguished Correspondent
Bonnie_C
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎08-07-2009

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Beginning with the ending:  It's like getting the band aid ripped off a wound.  It was painful, but  I was actually less distracted.  I knew the ending.  I just needed to find out how I got there.  I'm not sure I buy into Cobb relating this entire story to the ranger.  There are a lot of intimate scenes to tell a perfect stranger.

 

Immediate true love:  Mary and Cobb fell into physical attraction.  They grew into love as they got to know one another.

 

Mary's nightmare:  I connected this to her childhood nightmare of the lady in the purple dress.  In this dream, Mary would become enveloped in the fabric of the lady's dress.  In her recent nightmare Mary was flailing her arms like she was trying to get out of a sweater.  What any of these nightmares mean is anyone's guess. 

 

Thoreau:  I'm not convinced of the true dedication of Cobb to the author.  He sure gave up his quest pretty quickly when Mary came along.

 

The wedding:  The Chungamunga girls have been entrenched with fantasy and magic on this trip.  They love Mary and view her as the princess who has finally found her prince.  They want to see a happy ending.  None of them are assured of being able to see too many happy endings.  It was a beautiful ceremony,

 

Mary's conditions:   I admire Mary for living each and every day to the fullest.  The decision of not knowing her test results is a very personal one and I would imagine a decision that was not made lightly.  Being with Mary is a decision that Cobb should not take lightly.  However the condition of Mary wanting Cobb to know her results and not letting her in on it I think is a bit unfair.  I think a better approach would be to ask Cobb to find out as much as possible about the disease.  That way he would be aware of what he could be in store for.  Then he could make the decision of whether or not he wanted to stay with her.  It would be a situation where both partners are on the same level.

Inspired Contributor
gmfuhlman
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Hi everyone I agree with a lot of you on this message board. The beginning starts off sad. But it moves on and tells the story of how Mary and Cobb met and fell in love with each other. Just wanted to say a few words for now.

Frequent Contributor
Mommy-Read-Write
Posts: 139
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I am finally caught up and ready to talk about the book! YAY! I want to say thank you to Barnes and Noble for choosing such a beautiful book.  I was moved from the beginning by Joseph Monninger's beautiful writing style.  I feel very much that every word he wrote and every piece of description thus far has been very relevant to the story.  I have intentionally taken my time reading this book in order to savor the beauty of the writing and the story itself. 

 

It didn't bother me to know that Mary had passed away from the beginning of the book.  In a way, it has enabled me to more fully enjoy Mary and Cobb's love story.  Otherwise, I know I would have been hoping that she would somehow live at the end.  As for Cobb telling Sarah, the Ranger, about Mary, I was quite moved.  I know when I lost my Grandma - I wanted to talk about her and share things I remembered about her.  I still do this because I want to always remember her.

 

I do believe in immediate and true love.  I think, in Mary and Cobb's case, they just connected in such a pure and uncomplicated way.  When Mary explains about her illness and the fact that she is trying to live her life to its fullest, well, I admire that greatly.  And I love that Cobb accepts this and still wants to be with her.

 

I'm assuming Mary's nightmares have something to do with her illness. 

 

Cobb and Mary both have an infinity with and a relationship to nature.  This is very much like Thoreau.  I like and respect the fact that Mary understands and respects this about Cobb. 

 

I thought the wedding was very beautiful and special.  I think they all take it seriously.  Especially the Chungamunga girls as they are trying to live their lives to the fullest, as well.  I think it was very special for them to arrange and be a part of Mary and Cobb's wedding.

 

I understand Mary's conditions.  I think it's awesome that Cobb is willing to go along with them.  I believe I could know the test results and keep them to myself.  It might be difficult at times but out of love and respect, I would do it.

 

I am truly looking forward to how this beautiful book continues.

 

 

Sheery

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
~ Emilie Buchwald ~
Frequent Contributor
kstempien
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
0 Kudos

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?

   Initially I felt slightly left down, after reading the final outcome first, but that thought quickly escaped me as I continued to read through the first few chapters. It was already understood that Mary was going to die, but reading through the book of how they met, how their relationship developed, their experiences,etc. was very interesting! I have to say that although I was just a bit left down, I was truly hooked on the story right from the beginning. I found myself not wanting to put the book down, as I wanted to see what Mary and Cobb hadd experienced next in their life, or how their love grew for each other.

 

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?

   Although it happens less often than we'd probably like to think, I do believe that it is possible for a 'true love' to blossom from a situation similiar to this. It's obvious that not all relationships are formed this way, but it should also be understood that, just because two people might not hit it off at first doesn't mean that it won't turn into something different in the future. I know people who are happily married, and couldn't imagine anything happier in their lives, although their initial contacts with each other were less than pleasant, to say the least. I also know a select few couples who have experienced a love like Cobb and Mary, blissful from the get go. It's safe to say that it all depends on the couple!! =)

 

What do you make of Mary's nightmares?

   Although I have already finished the story, so I now know what about her nightmares and her condition, I questioned them from the start. I knew that Mary was ill, but not knowing the exact situation, didn't know any sort of side effects or symptoms. In the beginning, I also thought the nightmares could've been stemming from some sort of abuse, or something similar.

 

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 is extremely passionate about Thoreau, and openly expresses this passion to Mary. It's important to Cobb because he shares his beliefs; his lifestyle and accomplishments have attracted Cobb to develop an interest to him, which he uses as his inspiration.

 

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

   I feel that everyone involved took wedding ceremony seriously. These girls take all of their activities seriously, putting forth their greatest effort into everything they do. Their dedication to doing well and showing their thankfulness to others is visibly shown in their preparation for this event. I believe that the other girls look up to Mary, so they took it to even another level, showing Mary their respect for her. I believe Mary and Cobb also took it seriously, as they knew what feelings they had for each other at the time. Although they had those strong feelings, they didn't necessarily know that they would be having an 'official' wedding later on, so I believe this one meant just as much to them!

 

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 it's understanding how the conditions were set. Although it may sound harsh for some, being that they just met and Cobb was getting this all thrown at him, I believe it's admirable to set the parameters and be straight forward with the situation. Knowing every bit of information allowed Cobb to make a strong, healthy decision. He wasn't mislead, or lied too, but he still followed his heart and stayed with Mary.

 

As for knowing the results and not telling them, it depends. If it were the same outcome as in the story, I believe I would be able to handle it well. I'm the type of person that would continue to be there and encourage the other person, stand as support, etc. However, if the results were reversed, I think I'd have a hard time of keeping it a secret. I think I would try to make subtle hits that she was free, so it would alleviate the 'secret stress'. She appeared to be doing well, living her life in a neutral way, but I believe, should she have been found to be negative, she would've had a life even more fascinating that what it already was.

 

It was extremely easy for me to relate to Mary and her belief for living her life. I myself am dealing with a medical condition that could be potentially dangerous. At this time, I'm not in extreme danger, but that could all change at any time, not necessarily showing any visible signs. I have handled it rather well, and live my life somewhat like Mary, trying to make the best of everything. Of course I want to make sure I'm ok, but at the same time I have the fear of getting the news that things have gotten worse. Although it's a tough spot to be, I feel comfortable at the same time. I just feel that if I get news that isn't so great, it will affect my mindset and I won't allow myself to continue thinking positively.

Inspired Contributor
JuneC
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Interestingly enough was that not until the end of the book did the reminder that I may have inherited a Parkinson's like syndrome from my father occurr to me. At that point I think it was clearer than ever that I, like Mary, have no interest in knowing whether I will suffer the fate of my grandmth, aunt and father. I'm not sure I want to live every day in anticipation of dread. Mary, finds the joy, the interest, the spirit, of each moment. Perhaps she is doing so with more urgency then most. Perhaps however  we should all experience life with those qualities since of course one never knows.


kstempien wrote:

 

 

  

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 it's understanding how the conditions were set. Although it may sound harsh for some, being that they just met and Cobb was getting this all thrown at him, I believe it's admirable to set the parameters and be straight forward with the situation. Knowing every bit of information allowed Cobb to make a strong, healthy decision. He wasn't mislead, or lied too, but he still followed his heart and stayed with Mary.

 

As for knowing the results and not telling them, it depends. If it were the same outcome as in the story, I believe I would be able to handle it well. I'm the type of person that would continue to be there and encourage the other person, stand as support, etc. However, if the results were reversed, I think I'd have a hard time of keeping it a secret. I think I would try to make subtle hits that she was free, so it would alleviate the 'secret stress'. She appeared to be doing well, living her life in a neutral way, but I believe, should she have been found to be negative, she would've had a life even more fascinating that what it already was.

 

It was extremely easy for me to relate to Mary and her belief for living her life. I myself am dealing with a medical condition that could be potentially dangerous. At this time, I'm not in extreme danger, but that could all change at any time, not necessarily showing any visible signs. I have handled it rather well, and live my life somewhat like Mary, trying to make the best of everything. Of course I want to make sure I'm ok, but at the same time I have the fear of getting the news that things have gotten worse. Although it's a tough spot to be, I feel comfortable at the same time. I just feel that if I get news that isn't so great, it will affect my mindset and I won't allow myself to continue thinking positively.


 

 

Contributor
Cyscokitty
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending didn't really bother me. It seems a fairly natural place to start telling a story about someone's life. However, I did find the love story a little unbelievable. While I believe in falling in love very quickly, Mary and Cobb's understanding of each other just seemed too sudden.

I was a little surprised that Mary was willing to take the test. I would think she would start reading meaning into everything Cobb said or did once he knew.

 

I was intrigued by the initial reference to Thoreau, but then a little disappointed when very little comes of Cobb's interest. For someone who is beginning a sabbatical based on Thoreau, he spends very little time doing anything related to his research project.

One thing I have thoroughly enjoyed are the crow stories. I have always been fascinated by storytellers and aboriginal tales. I find this form of teaching more interesting that simply explaining how a crow behaves or what distinguishes corvids from other birds.

 

Frequent Contributor
Sheltiemama
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎06-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I liked knowing about Mary's death first. It made me want to know everything that led up to that point, and I like the idea of Cobb telling the ranger the story.

 

I don't believe in love at first sight, but I'm willing to suspend that for a good book! Things have to get more complicated back in the real world, though.

 

Mary's nightmares seem to be the first manifestations of her disease. I've heard of Huntington's, but don't really know much about it, and this is a great education in it.

 

Here's where I admit that I was forced to read part of "Walden" in high school. We all hated it. Now, I want to go back and read it as a adult. I think it's wonderful that Cobb and Mary both have their own interests and don't expect each other to give them up. Instead, they enjoy learning about each others' fields of study. I've certainly learned more about crows than I've ever known. The legends are great. I loved the story of Madrid and his earring.

 

The wedding was awesome. They took it so seriously, and it was so detailed. I could picture them sitting around planning it out. "OK, you go collect acorns for the jewelry." "They need rings! I know -- let's make them out of wood!" No wonder Mary cried.

 

Knowing the results and not telling is one thing, but not letting your knowledge show in your actions would be extremely difficult.

 

 

Contributor
Susan57
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I found knowing the end of the story compelled me to want to read more.  I was curious why Cobb was opening up to the Ranger and what events had led them to this point.  Obviously, their beautiful love story is what brought them to the point revealed at the start of the book, and YES, I do believe that there can be a love like theres.  It's not often, I'm sure, but it can happen.  As for Mary's nightmares, I think they were a vehicle to introduce her illness.  It clearly did open the conversation between Cobb and Mary, however reluctantly by Mary.

 

Now the relationship between Cobb and Thoreau is one of thought and nature.  Thoreau wanted to live simply and enjoy nature.  The world had become too busy for him, and like Cobb, he retreated to the woods to rediscover himself and his purpose.  Anyone who has spent time in the woods alone, knows how rejuvenating it can be.

 

I loved the wedding the Cungamunga girls arranged for them.  I wonder who it was more for though.  Did the girls want to live a dream, one that some of them would never live long enough to experience personally, or was it to bless Mary and Cobb in the Chungamunga way? 

 

Mary's conditions for she and Cobb to be togother are tough, but her right.  She had come to terms with her possible fate and that's how she had to deal with it.  We all have the right to call the shots when it's such a personal matter. 

Frequent Contributor
shelley727
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-30-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I was intrigued to know what happened to mary at the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down after that.  I don't feel as anxious as I read since I already know what is going to happen to Mary.  I don't like what is going to happen to her--I like Mary & Cobb and think they are great for each other.  I do like the idea of learning about her as Cobb starts to tell the ranger at the beginning of the story. 

I do believe in love at first site.  My mom & dad (stepdad) have been happily married for 25 years.  They are totally devoted to each other and I think as the story continues for Mary & Cobb, it will be the same.  With all couples they have their ups & downs in a relationship & that's what makes a relationship stronger.

 

I just think right now that Mary's nighmares are just nightmares.  There has only been the one incident & I don't really think any thing of it yet.

 

I love the  Chungamunga girls and Wally.  The wedding they performed was beautiful!  At that moment I think it was very serious.  It may be the only wedding they get to have--we have yet to find out! 

 

In some ways I agree with Mary's thinking about not wanting to know about her condition.  I don't know that I would be able to keep it a secret if I knew she didn't have the disease.  I think Cobb wanting to be with her despite the disease in wonderful.  He believes he has found his soul mate & so does Mary (Yeti love) and he wants to be with her no matter what.  Nothing wrong with that.   

Shelley
Correspondent
GreenFairyLV
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎06-23-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Hi everyone.

I was just wondering does anyone know how old Mary and Cobb are?  I thought I read it but I can't find it.  I'm thinking 30's but I'm not sure.

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 

Yes, they are in their 30s.
page 43 "She (Annie) looked to be in her early thirties, our age, and she moved easily through the woods.

GreenFairyLV wrote:

Hi everyone.

I was just wondering does anyone know how old Mary and Cobb are?  I thought I read it but I can't find it.  I'm thinking 30's but I'm not sure.

 


 

 

Correspondent
GreenFairyLV
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎06-23-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Thanks Sunltcloud for answering.  I was so hoping someone would answer me.  I kept thinking 30's then 40's.  I knew it was written in there somewhere. LOL   :smileyhappy:
Sunltcloud wrote:

 

Yes, they are in their 30s.
page 43 "She (Annie) looked to be in her early thirties, our age, and she moved easily through the woods.

GreenFairyLV wrote:

Hi everyone.

I was just wondering does anyone know how old Mary and Cobb are?  I thought I read it but I can't find it.  I'm thinking 30's but I'm not sure.

 


 

 


 

Contributor
illanna
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I wasn't thrilled with the book's opening. It felt contrived and melodramatic. But reading on, I have become  charmed by this novel. The nature descriptions are riveting, and I am drawn to these two characters. The way their lives intertwine with the raw outdoors makes it a very unique story.I absolutely am hooked, invested in watching their story unfold. 

Frequent Contributor
Shapatm
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎04-25-2009
0 Kudos

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 that Mary and Cobb don't get to have the happily ever after that most romances dream of didn't deter me from continuing with the story.  It pulled me in just a little more.  It also made reading what I've read so far bittersweet.

 

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 love that the relationship between Cobb and Marry is intense and passionate from the start.  They're both working to make it that way.  A connection like the one they have is rare and magical.  It doesn't always happen in real life but when it does happen its wonderful.  I wonder about what will happen next because the beginning of a relationship is relatively easy.  Its only when the two partners move past the first magical phase of a relationship into the nitty gritty of being with another person that it can be difficult.

 

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

 

The wedding arranged by the Chungamunga girls is perfectly suited to them as the Chungamunga and to the relationship between Cobb and Mary.  It fits in perfectly with the established rituals of the Chungamunga.  I think all the parties take it pretty seriously - the girls more that Mary or Cobb.  The song they chant is simple but its powerful.  It sums up what the Chungamunga girls wish for and what any couple would wish of each other.

 

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

 

Mary's conditions are a safety net for her.  She doesn't want to know if she will develop Huntington's or is just a carrier but she can't reconcile continuing a relationship and having Cobb live with the uncertainty of knowing what might or might not happen.  I understand the conditions and her decisions even it they aren't the choices I'd make.  If I were in Cobb's place I think I could keep my end of the bargain.  I wouldn't be easy but that's what my partner wanted and I wouldn't be the one to impose that knowledge on them.  I'm not sure I would even open the results - if I wanted to be with them just for them, would the results really effect my decision to continue the relationship. 

Correspondent
mamawli
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎03-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending has an interesting effect. My mind keeps whirling trying to figure out why this happened. However, it fits in with the philosophy of the title of the story and that of the Chungamunga Girls. Eternal on the Water and that is how Mary chose to live her life and that of her death. There is always the desire to find love, happiness and one's soul mate, especially in a romantic story. Little girls and big ones too, believe in the Cinderella effect. Cobb is Mary's prince charming.
Frequent Contributor
milkamilka
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-24-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I just finished with the chapter 8. I really liked these first 8 chapters even though there are some things which really caught my eye. I think that as characters, Cobb and Mary are too perfect. Mary's sickness is only at the background, at least I feel like it, and Cobb has nothing which would make him unperfect. I hope there will be something which will make Cobb a little "darker" character. Right now I just feel like Cobb is "unhuman" and that there are no guys like him in real life; he knows about Mary's sickness and still wants to be with her without doubt etc.

 

I really like the way this book is written. It is well written and at some points I feel like I am reading poetry since some of the words just fit together very well.

 

I am really curious to read on and see what will happen at Indonesia. :smileyhappy:

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I haven't totally decided whether Monniger's failure to give us rounded characters (both the good and the not so good) in these early chapters (perhaps in the whole book, I'm not through yet) is a weakness or a strength of his writing.  I am inclined toward the latter, since we are listening to a grieving man tell his tale -- in real life, we would hardly expect someone who has had a loving relationship to be spinning out much negative at this point, would we?

 

 


milkamilka wrote:

I just finished with the chapter 8. I really liked these first 8 chapters even though there are some things which really caught my eye. I think that as characters, Cobb and Mary are too perfect. Mary's sickness is only at the background, at least I feel like it, and Cobb has nothing which would make him unperfect. I hope there will be something which will make Cobb a little "darker" character. Right now I just feel like Cobb is "unhuman" and that there are no guys like him in real life; he knows about Mary's sickness and still wants to be with her without doubt etc.

 

I really like the way this book is written. It is well written and at some points I feel like I am reading poetry since some of the words just fit together very well.

 

I am really curious to read on and see what will happen at Indonesia. :smileyhappy:


 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Contributor
JuneC
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎12-01-2009

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

The more I say the title Eternal on the Water the more it appeals to me.  How fortunate for the Chungamunga girls to know that their lives and stories will go on to others, and others again. We all share accounts of the people we were once lucky to have known.  It must be calming for the Chungamunga Girls to realize that although their lives may be short their stories may inspire and relieve others.

Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
0 Kudos

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?

 

 

 

 


 

Knowing the ending captured my attention because I wanted to know why and what happened.  I just wanted to keep reading to see how things had brought Mary to decide on her death.  The story is beautiful.

 

Frequent Contributor
McWarren
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎10-25-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8


biljounc63 wrote:

 

We know how the story ends (Mary dies) but we don't how how the story ends.


This.

 

Exactly.

 

Sydney