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jabrkeKB
Posts: 164
Registered: ‎11-15-2008
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Re: A Sense of Place

One of the reasons I am enjoying this book so much is beacuse of the descriptive writing.  It gives me a very clear picture in my mind of these places as I am reading.

 

Granna's house feels more like a character than a place.

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AMoriarty
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎12-20-2008

Re: A Sense of Place

I think that she also uses a lot of descriptions for the places, people and especially the dog(!) with an eye toward nature. Many times dirt, trees, sun and shade seem to play an important role in her terminology. The plants, garden, trees, ocean...all become characters in and of themselves.
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
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Re: A Sense of Place

I agree - her descriptions of people, places, actions & activity are superb. She truly does, as you say, make every word come alive.

kiakar wrote:

Reading_Seductress wrote:

I think Ms. Howe did a wonderful job describing the different areas throughout the book. I love the description of Granns house and garden. I never had a hard time w/picturing the places she described.


  Ms.Howe is a very talented writer. She makes every word come alive with her brilliant cast of characters. 


 

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Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
Registered: ‎03-16-2009
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Re: A Sense of Place

Going back and forth through time was an exciting experience.  This book "takes me there", which is important in reading for me.  I get bored very easily, and this was definitely a page-turner. 

 

 

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TRJ4SQ
Posts: 193
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: A Sense of Place-RESPONSE TO MODERATOR QUESTIONS

1. We are visiting some of the novel's settings over the course of generations.

Are there places in the novel with as much "personality" as characters themselves?

 

I believe that all places absorb some amount of energy from it’s inhabitants, both past and present. The author has done a wonderful job of playing upon this in my imagination so that I couldn’t help but feel the personality of the settings. Her ability to bring places to life is an immensely satisfying necessity of the story.

 

2. How would you describe the Milk Street house, or Granna's garden?

 

Grandma’s house came to life in vividly in my imagination. It’s overgrown and careworn facade stands like a tireless old matron protecting, sheltering and providing for past generations as well as those now present. She whispers her secrets only to those she holds dear.

 

3. Saltonstall & Harvard's campus?

 

What I see is an aged, scholarly and impersonal old gentleman. He would be rigid, strict and terse in manner preferring to peruse old books in a silent library rather that engaging in the liveliness of younger souls.

 

4. Marblehead?

 

Marblehead would be one who is relaxed and content with very little notion to change and almost impervious to outside influences.

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DSaff
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Re: A Sense of Place-RESPONSE TO MODERATOR QUESTIONS

I love your description of Granna's house! Very nice. =)


TRJ4SQ wrote:

 2. How would you describe the Milk Street house, or Granna's garden?

 

Grandma’s house came to life in vividly in my imagination. It’s overgrown and careworn facade stands like a tireless old matron protecting, sheltering and providing for past generations as well as those now present. She whispers her secrets only to those she holds dear.

 



 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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TRJ4SQ
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Re: A Sense of Place-RESPONSE TO MODERATOR QUESTIONS


DSaff wrote:

I love your description of Granna's house! Very nice. =)


TRJ4SQ wrote:

 2. How would you describe the Milk Street house, or Granna's garden?

 

Grandma’s house came to life in vividly in my imagination. It’s overgrown and careworn facade stands like a tireless old matron protecting, sheltering and providing for past generations as well as those now present. She whispers her secrets only to those she holds dear.

 



 

 


 

Thanks!:smileyhappy:
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BambooMom
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Re: A Sense of Place

I definitely think that places can have "personality" -- in college, I lived in an old apartment building, and I used to imagine all the lives that those walls had seen before me, and how they had shaped the lived of previous residents.  

I think this book would make a great book club book.  I am really enjoying it!  If you are looking for similar books to read, I would recommend The River Wife by Jonis Agee, and any of Geraldine Brooks' work.

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ladybug74
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Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: A Sense of Place


rkubie wrote:

We are visiting some of the novel's settings over the course of generations. 

 

Are there places in the novel with as much "personality" as characters themselves?

 

How would you describe the Milk Street house, or Granna's garden? Saltonstall? Harvard's campus? Marblehead?


I would definitely have to say that Granna's house had a lot of personality (as well as the attached garden.) It sounds like a place that I would like to visit and explore!

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deaver
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Re: A Sense of Place

For me, not only does the house, with it's wild garden and antiquated decor have its own character; but it also helps build Connie's character.

 

If you notice, her visions start after finding the house.  Before that time, she didn't have them.

 

In chapter two, for example, she "tried to picture the anonymous long-dead boys who had once lived" in her room at college. 

 

But when she arrived at her Granna's house, she vividly pictured and had visions of her Granna and Granpa. 

 

 

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deaver
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Re: A Sense of Place

I also think that the house helps to build relationships. Connie and Grace is the most obvious but there are other relationships that it helps define. 

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JulieC82
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Re: A Sense of Place

Of the authors that read I find the one's that can describe a place or a thing vividly are the ones that suck you into the story. When we are first introduced to the house on Milk Street I pictured it vividly in my mind. It's like I was there with Connie and Liz, moving the vines off of the iron gate.

 

I agree with another poster when they said that they felt that place start to take on the personalities of their inhabitants. I don't necessarily believe in ghosts but I do believe that in a house that old has essence of former inhabitants.

 

I think I'm more interested in Marblehead, Granna's house/garden and Salem than I am in the Harvard Campus. To me it's no different than most old campuses. Although I did have a pretty good feel for the Faculty dining room when Connie had lunch with Chilton. Havard's personality to me is stuffy and pretentious.

 

I'm looking forward to finding out more about the history of Granna's house and the family history.

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Fond_of_Books
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Registered: ‎09-24-2008
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Re: A Sense of Place

The settings are part of what make this a good book for escaping the real world. Marblehead seems like such a quaint little town. Quiet and slow paced, which is the opposite of Las Vegas, where I live. Granna's house sounds incredible. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to step back in time by living in an old house like that. I still think there have got to be more secrets in that house then have been revealed so far. The garden and house just seem to take you back in time instantly. Connie having to use candles makes it seem more authentic. I really enjoy being able to escape into Connie's world and these little towns and old houses.
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She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain. ~Louisa May Alcott
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HannibalCat
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
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Re: A Sense of Place


AMoriarty wrote:
I think that she also uses a lot of descriptions for the places, people and especially the dog(!) with an eye toward nature. Many times dirt, trees, sun and shade seem to play an important role in her terminology. The plants, garden, trees, ocean...all become characters in and of themselves.

 

I agree. What I find exceptionally enjoyable is the descriptions are vivid without being overdone. Although Michner is one of my favorite authors, his descriptions can really bog you down. Not here. Ms. Howe gets the images, smells, and feel of the places without slowing down the pace of the story. The reading flows very well.
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cocospals
Posts: 115
Registered: ‎12-25-2007

Re: A Sense of Place

I agree that the physical description of the house and it's surroundings is very descriptive without being overdone. There are times where you can almost hear the footsteps, can almost see the dust on the jars and the dead plants. Very, very well done.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
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biljounc63
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Registered: ‎11-02-2008
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Re: A Sense of Place


cocospals wrote:
I agree that the physical description of the house and it's surroundings is very descriptive without being overdone. There are times where you can almost hear the footsteps, can almost see the dust on the jars and the dead plants. Very, very well done.

I also agree but in my case it may be the actual dust in the house that I put off dusting just to read one more page!

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
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Zeal
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Re: A Sense of Place


MSaff wrote:

Good Afternoon everyone,

 

 As for the Milk Street house, at first glance, it appears to be run down and in need of either a complete overhaul or demolition.  It is definitely a home built in the seventeenth century.  As I looked deeper, I found it to be magical with its own unique personality, even being in disrepair.  The house is sound from the descriptions given and can or maybe will be cleaned up and utilized.  (That part we will have to wait and see).  The grounds are overgrown and possibly as a way of hiding itself in order to protect itself.  

 

  Granna's garden:  This is a work of art.  It still is producing vegetables and although this garden should be strangled from weeds and underbrush, it still is a viable source of food.  The multi colored large tomatoes caught my attention, so much so that I wanted to pick some of them, wash them up and start eating them.

 

 

 

 

 


MSaff,

 

Your thoughts and descriptions are almost as good as Ms. Howe's!  I especially loved your thoughts on the garden being a "work of art" and "The grounds are overgrown and possibly as a way of hiding itself in order to protect itself."  These two settings do tend to give life to themselves through Ms. Howe's descriptions, and I find Ms. Howe's ability to appeal to all 5 senses, in a very subtle (yet extremely powerful) way, a great strength of her novel and her writing talent.

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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jennaml
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: A Sense of Place

I agree that the descriptions of the settings are well done. The portrayal of a setting or a place is so critical to the feeling of a book in order for the reader to get a sense of the mood of the place. This is a good example.
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artist4nature
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Re: A Sense of Place

One of the most important things to me when i am reading is whether the author can hold me captive in the story.   katherine how has mastered that art for me!

 

I could not only visualize the setting but could "smell" as she discribed Granna's house and garden, the old books in the library, the salty air at the docks. 

 

Any one else notice this effect?

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mattzay
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Re: A Sense of Place


dhaupt wrote:

There are definitely places in the book with much personality, one place of course is Granna's house another one is the dorm room shared by Liz and Connie.

I would describe the Milk Street house as inspirational and the garden as magical. Saltonstall as historical. Harvard as devotional. Marblehead as encompassing and comfortable. 


I am curious about what you mean by Harvard being seen as "devotional". I view Harvard as being more traditional and old fashioned. Connie has to sit at a hard table while being questioned. She visits Dr. Chilton in his hot, stuffy office and goes to lunch with him in a very uptight place. I am not disagreeing, I am just curious.