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


Carmenere_lady wrote:

I thought Mary's rush to have herself sterilized was a bit far fetched.  She doesn't know for certain if she has the disease and I would think she would have to pay for the procedure herself.  I can't see medical insurance covering something like that without affirmation of medical necessity.


 

I don't think it was strange that Mary be sterilized.  Even if she didn't have the disease, she might be a carrier. And I don't think insurance comes into the picture here.   I know a person whose mother commited suicide, and she decided not to have children because she was afraid of "post natel depression".  She was also concerned that the depression would be inheritable and didn't want to pass it on to generations. 

MG

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

So, I did make it through the first eight chapters, eventually.  It took quite some time to get into the book.  I did state previously that starting with the ending would be sort of like skipping to the end of the book, and I stand by that assertion.  

 

From a Love at First Sight point of view, I absolutely believe in immediate attraction, so the relationship between Mary and Cobb didn't seem to be too much, too fast for me.  It was very uncomplicated, as new love normally is,  I will tie in the test information here: I think I could avoid telling the results, but I think it would be hard to keep that knowledge from changing the way I would react to the other person.  I might consider being a little more forgiving when he was having a bad day, a little more reluctant to be irritated or annoyed with him when he was just being ridiculous.  

 

As for the relationship Cobb has with HDT, that is one of my least favorite directions of this novel.  That story line only serves to be pretentious and far-reaching.  I understand the idea of taking a sabbatical to learn more about a favorite author and work on an essay, but I get writing only serves to be annoying.

 

Thankfully, the story takes a turn for the better with the introduction of the Chungamunga girls.  I really love the premise of this group and the goals they have set for themselves.  The idea of allowing a girl to be a girl in the face of illness is beautiful.  I also like the fact that Monninger writes Cobb as being understanding instead of making any snarky comments, which could be the "easy" route to go.

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

 

Pretentious and far reaching? Could you explain how you arrived at this? I have taken several trips to follow in the footsteps of a favorite writer or artist and don't understand what you mean. As I see it in this novel, the author gives Cobb a love of nature; Thoreau is an incentive to explore. That he finds a nature lover and expert kayaker like Mary, falls in love, and experiences nature through Mary rather than through writing about Thoreau seems fitting to me.

starie_nite wrote:

 

As for the relationship Cobb has with HDT, that is one of my least favorite directions of this novel.  That story line only serves to be pretentious and far-reaching.  I understand the idea of taking a sabbatical to learn more about a favorite author and work on an essay, but I get writing only serves to be annoying.


 

 

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

I wasn't sure what to think when the ending was written first. The more I read the more I thought it gave the story a whole new meaning and how you looked at it. The love story part I thought was very passionate and sincere. I liked the outdoor and very simple life style that the book had. Very enjoyable to read.

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

I have to agree! Initially, I was somewhat put off with reading the beginning of the book, and already knowing the ending. My first thought was 'What the hell?...why would I keep reading it now?'  But, that thought quickly changed, as I continued to read the next few chapters. I quickly became interested in what happened, and how she ended up dying. It was interesting to read on and see how Mary and Cobb's relationship developed. I loved how he remained loyal to her, standing by her side until the very end. He very well could've walked away, knowing that their relationship wasn't going to go any further. He didn't though and, even knowing the destiny of Mary's life, he stayed and supported her until the end. Needless to say, I'm glad I decided to finish the book and didn't go with my initial thought of quitting since I already knew the end.

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

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

 

I thought it was cute, and provided a nice picture of what the Chungamunga girls are about. i'm sure they knew (or at least most of them) that the ceremony wasn't an official marriage. Although they all took it seriously, and were all dedicated to the roles they played, I'm sure they knew it was just a play. However, I believe it had more to do with honoring Mary and showing their thankfulness to her. They saw what Cobb meant to her, and the effect he had on her. They were also thankful for all that she has done for the group thus far, and wanted to give something back to her.

 

As others have said, this may be the only wedding that some of the girls got to participate in, so of course they made it as realistic as possible. It meant something to everyone involved; to the girls, to Mary, and even Cobb, since he was sincere enough to go along with the ceremony.

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sgregg88
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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? This can be a tricky way to open a book, and often feels like a spoiler. But, in this story, it is a dramatic way to open that immediately intrigues you. You don't realize it is an ending immediately - or at least I didn't. It seems like the opening of a mystery novel, where the action has taken place and now you want to go back in time and find out what happened and led to this dramatic action. I truly enjoyed being placed right into the story and emotions of the characters and this intrigued me to jump right into the novel.

 

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? If the story had started a year earlier, their lives would have shown the complications and reversals that happen, and that effect on their love story. As it is written here, they have moved past their personal complications and can begin unencumbered in that way. They don't bring the "baggage" into it right away, which seems more mature and more realistic for their characters. As well, you believe that these two people are adults who are comfortable with themselves, are self-aware, and therefore recogize an immediate true love without the drama one might assume comes with that. The connection between these two leaps off the page and you immediately believe in their love and come to get engrossed in their story. I don't believe everyone finds true love immediately, but I believe that some do. And in this case, I believe that these two characters find it.

 

What do you make of Mary's nightmares? I was intrigued, not by the nightmares, but by her response to her nightmares. At how much they have become a response mechanism and tool for her to judge herself and the possible progression of her illness by them. An interesting use of the dreams and nightmares we all have.

 

 

 

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sgregg88
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8


Sunltcloud wrote:

 

Isn't that how life operates quite frequently? 1.We have a vague notion about an event. 2. Something serious or unexpected happens. 3. We inquire and find out what lead up to the event - how circumstance brought about the happenings, what psychological questions are behind the resolution, who was involved, and how it actually happened.

 

I think this is a really great way of looking at this novel. We know what happens and we jump in to find out how it happened and what led to it. Seems to take all the extraneous details out and keeps on focus.

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

Well chiming in a little late here because of a family emergency.  Let me start off by one of the things that I like about participating in B&N First Looks, is that it opens me up to read different genres of books that I wouldn't have before (OB&M was something I would have ever picked up but absolutely loved!).  That said I have never liked romance/love stories, but this one has pleasantly drawn me into the pages.  Starting off with Mar's death was intriguing to me but also made me stop to wonder what the book could offer me in it's pages if it already gave me the ending.  Wonderfully the intriguing aspect kept me reading, & I am glad of that.  I am not sure what to make of Mar's nightmares, as they hint to possibly being an affect of a possible disease that she is prone to or a horrible sleeping disorder.  Cobb seemed to have a connection to Henry David Thoreau before the drive to the Allagash, but it slowly slipped into the background (as many things do when you are falling in love). Everything about the Chungamunga girls is interesting, fun & a commendable organization that is a great experience for those girls.  It seems that the actual girls have set the wedding as a serious but whimsical event.  I am torn about the conditions that Mary has set for Cobb, as I know that knowing the results (either way) would be a very difficult thing to hold to one's self with such strong feelings involved, but is a compromise so that she can continue to live her life as she has settled/planned to & for Cobb to be able to know what he is in for.

Now on to the next section! :0)

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

 


kstempien wrote:

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

 

I thought it was cute, and provided a nice picture of what the Chungamunga girls are about. i'm sure they knew (or at least most of them) that the ceremony wasn't an official marriage. Although they all took it seriously, and were all dedicated to the roles they played, I'm sure they knew it was just a play. However, I believe it had more to do with honoring Mary and showing their thankfulness to her. They saw what Cobb meant to her, and the effect he had on her. They were also thankful for all that she has done for the group thus far, and wanted to give something back to her.

 

As others have said, this may be the only wedding that some of the girls got to participate in, so of course they made it as realistic as possible. It meant something to everyone involved; to the girls, to Mary, and even Cobb, since he was sincere enough to go along with the ceremony.


Young girls have a propensity to be romantic and dramatic. I loved this part of the book, as it rang so true to the feelings I and my friends experienced as young girls. We would have loved to put on a wedding like they did. I am amazed that a man could put this into such emotional context. Kudos to Joseph Monninger for having the courage to attempt this emotional story and successfully, I might add!!

 

 

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

I really enjoyed the open chapter and this it doesn't damage the story. On the contrary, I think the misteries around Mary's death are one of the things that absorb the reader during the narrative. I liked the first chapters and we see its connection to the meeting between Mary and Cobb. I confess next chapters didn't catch my attention cause I thought them too slow. Only when Mary described her nightmares I got really interested to stories. In my opinion hardly ever a story is so psycollogically uncomplicated. But we see Mary's nightmares are not so soft as she could perhaps desire her life could be.

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skiibunny1213
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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 this was an effective method of tellling the story because it made every moment he described between them even more special.  Those singular experiences, strung together as one story and ultimately one great love, would not have been as capitavting or special had we not know how limited their time together would be from the beginning.  I think that this is our own fault in life - not appreciating every moment to the fullest.  In starting with Mary's death you appreciate every moment of her life and their love even more.  I think this is a special realization because it must be how Mary felt every day - which is why she counts her life in days!

 

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?

 

Yes I believe in "love at first sight" but I also believe it is rare, and just as rare for someone to meet their true soulmate.  I think that the name "Yeti love" is perfect for this type of experience because a) yetis are mythical so you wouldn't believe it to be true unless you saw/experienced it and b) with their life surrounded by nature and Mary's love of mythical stories it seems like a perfect way to describe their love.

 

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 that Mary always knew the results of that test in her heart.  No one had to tell her for her to know in her soul that her time was limited on earth.  I don't know that I could know the test results without wanting to talk to her about them - and I don't know that I could be as strong as Cobb was in a) knowing that she would eventually lose her and b) eventually letting her go.  I know that I would not be strong enough to let someone I love that much go.  

 

 


 

 

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

I didn't like it.  It confused me a little when he came to take her body.  I thought that he may have had something to do with it.  It didn't help in the story.  I would have GREATLY preferred that the audience not find out that she passes until the end of the book.  When he talked of seeing her in the woods and driving by I thought they were already together and that he was stalking her.  It shouldn't have but it confused me =(

 

I do believe that some people just make a great fit.  I guess my personal relationship gets in the way because I met a guy who I felt was my soulmate and he moved away.  So I guess my chances at romance are gone now that my one and only is gone.  I like the way they both just fit together.  They just matched each other really well. 

 

Mary's nightmares were a part of her disease or perhaps she was dreaming of already having the disease.  I think the disease was slowly manifesting itself. 

 

I think Thoreau is important because he's a naturalist.  He lives for his time in the woods to experience everything that Thoreau experienced.  I think Mary respects Cobb's love of Thoreau.  It is afterall a part of his research and she has her crows.  She quotes from Thoreau and knows a lot about him as well.

 

They all take it very seriously.  They are bound together forever on the river.  They are eternal on the water as well.  It is a very sweet ceremony.

 

I think he agreed to it because he hasn't really truly bonded with Mary and spent enough time with her to truly think about what he agreed to.  After spending a lot of time with her he will have more difficulty letting her go the way she wants him to.  I think his behavior would give Mary a clue as to the test results.  I think Mary knew deep down that she had it and test results didn't really matter to her either way. 

"You cannot love life until you live the life you love."
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HannibalCat
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 


drbjaded wrote:

I didn't like it.  It confused me a little when he came to take her body.  I thought that he may have had something to do with it.  It didn't help in the story.  I would have GREATLY preferred that the audience not find out that she passes until the end of the book.  When he talked of seeing her in the woods and driving by I thought they were already together and that he was stalking her.  It shouldn't have but it confused me =(

 

I do believe that some people just make a great fit.  I guess my personal relationship gets in the way because I met a guy who I felt was my soulmate and he moved away.  So I guess my chances at romance are gone now that my one and only is gone.  I like the way they both just fit together.  They just matched each other really well. 

 

Mary's nightmares were a part of her disease or perhaps she was dreaming of already having the disease.  I think the disease was slowly manifesting itself. 

 

I think Thoreau is important because he's a naturalist.  He lives for his time in the woods to experience everything that Thoreau experienced.  I think Mary respects Cobb's love of Thoreau.  It is afterall a part of his research and she has her crows.  She quotes from Thoreau and knows a lot about him as well.

 

They all take it very seriously.  They are bound together forever on the river.  They are eternal on the water as well.  It is a very sweet ceremony.

 

I think he agreed to it because he hasn't really truly bonded with Mary and spent enough time with her to truly think about what he agreed to.  After spending a lot of time with her he will have more difficulty letting her go the way she wants him to.  I think his behavior would give Mary a clue as to the test results.  I think Mary knew deep down that she had it and test results didn't really matter to her either way. 


 

 

It confused me too. I also thought he might have had some hand in her death. I did, however, enjoy it as soon as the ranger sat with him and he told his story. At that point I thought it was a great way to start the story.

I also agree with you about the fit some people enjoy. I met my husband on a blind date and we both knew before the end of the evening that we were hooked. That was 45 years ago. We still fit. So I really, really believe in love at first sight.

I though the nightmares were the result of something dreadful that had already happened to her, it never dawned on me it was a disease.

The rest, I am in completey agreement with you.  I loved the ceremony and how he could accept it as simply as he did.

I also love your quote, and enjoyed reading your responses.

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

I agree that Mary's nightmares are connected to her mysterious reasons for her death... even after we find out the specific reason why she's out on the river.  They nightmares emphasize how fragile Mary's life is, and how brave and amazing she is to continue on with her life, despite her condition.  She finds all kinds of little things to enjoy--I especially loved her knock knock jokes and couldn't help but share them with anybody nearby.