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dhaupt
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Hi Patti, I really love the novel and I'm glad you're enjoying it too.

 

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Lil_Irish_Lass
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I'm having the hardest time getting in to this novel. I normally don't fall behind the reading schedule but I just made it to chapter 5 yesterday. I WANT to like the story and the characters but it's not happening for me.

 

 

I thought that the opening was very awkward, as if as a reader you walked into a room with someone telling a story and they're half finished but no one whispers the beginning to you so you are left completely out of the loop with no idea what is going on.

I'm trying, I really am, but I'm finding that I have to force myself to sit down and read this. Hopefully it'll pick up soon

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"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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Lil_Irish_Lass
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Re: chapters 1-8


GreenFairyLV wrote:

It took me until half way through chapter 6 to start liking this book.  Now I'm hooked.  I understand the characters more and the story.  I'm now just starting chapter 14, I won't say anything that goes beyond chapter 8 on this thread, I just wanted to say if it's taking you awhile to get into it, like me, keep reading, it's worth it and it only get better.  A lot of people loved it right away and I was afraid this would be a horrid read for me since I didn't.  I'm glad I kept reading, now I can't wait to see what is going to happen next.  :smileyhappy:


 

Green Fairy, that's good to hear! I too was beginning to think that I was going to have to suffer through without enjoying it at all. I'll make it through Chapter 6 on my lunch break today so hopefully it will be a turning point for me as well.

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"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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babzilla41
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

I'm having the hardest time getting in to this novel. I normally don't fall behind the reading schedule but I just made it to chapter 5 yesterday. I WANT to like the story and the characters but it's not happening for me.

 

 

I thought that the opening was very awkward, as if as a reader you walked into a room with someone telling a story and they're half finished but no one whispers the beginning to you so you are left completely out of the loop with no idea what is going on.

I'm trying, I really am, but I'm finding that I have to force myself to sit down and read this. Hopefully it'll pick up soon


 

Lil_Irish_Lass:  I too felt the way you do about this book.  I thought the beginning was disjointed and I felt no connection to any of the characters, but I was determined to get through it.  When I finished the first section, I decided to re-read it before going on to the second section.  It was actually better the second time around, maybe it  was better because I knew something about the characters I'm not sure, but it did help.  I enjoyed the second section and am looking forward to getting into the last part.  So I guess perseverance is required.  I have to admit that if I picked the book up in a bookstore and leafed through it, I would've put it back down - which would have been unfortunate.  Keep at it - I think you'll be glad you did!

"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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USwede16
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

"How does the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 40s differ from our experience of getting news from the television and internet? Frankie thinks often of the path her voice travels and believes that the sound of war and a person's voice carries the events straight into American living rooms. Do you agree?"

 

I think that today we are able to get a greater sense of what is taking place. In the 40s what people heard about the war over the radio limited their knowledge of what was taking place. It was limited to the broadcasters' point of view and interpretation. Today we are able to view actual footage, see what is going on through photographs, and get up-to-date information in a matter of moments. I think that it changes the pace of the war itself.

 

I don't quite agree with Frankie thinking that the sound of war carries the events straight to Americans' living rooms. While I do think that it was able to have an effect and reach the American household, the war still comes across as being somewhat distant simply because at this point America is not directly involved.

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bibanon1
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

It's funny you should say that about listening to the radio.  At first, the transitions in the book were hard for me but then I learned to really appreciate how the radio and news stories are connecting all of the characters. As a long-time fan of NPR, it made me think about how much I love listening to the radio. I get all my news from the radio because it feels more intimate. Your mind isn't cluttered by a bunch of images and the radio personalities have a chance to really develop stories because they don't have to be narrowed down into 15 second soundbites like on television.  The book has definitely made me want to listen to the radio more.

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freelamp
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

T-Mo you are correct.  American men (like my father) were already volunteering and in training before being drafted.  He was born in Austria and his family came to the U.S. in 1926 because they knew what was happening in their homeland.  He refused to speak any German once he learned English and was sent to the Pacific side for his Army tour of duty.  Life was very hard here for my grandmother who got caught in the backlash against anyone who spoke German.  I am still finding this book difficult to read.  The structure has gotten a bit better but the jumping around between scenes is annoying to me.

freelamp
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freelamp
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Re: Music during the War (2)

Music was very important here as well, Choisya.  My mother remembers the Andrews Sisters, Kate Smith, Kay Starr, Vera Lynn, and all the Big Bands.   Songs like I'll Be Seeing You, She is 90 and all of this is still so clear to her memory.   There was the worrying but also the desire to keep up morale.  Churchill's and Roosevelt'sspeeches were heard on the radio and in the newsreels.   My mom was a "Rosie the Riveter" working in a factory making war machinery during the day, and writing letters to her brothers and to her fiance (my dad) for 5 years during her evenings.  She said the spirit of community support for the War Effort was exciting after the broken days of the Depression.  The 'canteens' were fun spots to gather, with music and joy available for a few hours before the worry returned.

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Sarah-Blake
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Before Pearl Harbour and before Roosevelt took you into the war?  Why? 

JerseyAngel wrote:
From what I could find online during my brief lunch break, the draft was reinstated in Sept of 1940.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

The Selective Service Act was passed by Congress in 1940 and the initial draft called that October. The men were called up for twelve months. That period of service was extended to eighteen months the following October in 1941. My understanding was that Roosevelt (as did Congress and the country) knew that we were woefully unprepared should we in fact, join the conflict, and though it was an election year (1940) and thus a highly controversial thing to back--both Roosevelt and his challenger Wendell Wilkie backed the draft. How Roosevelt juggled the many ways to fight/not fight the war is a fascinating study in preparation--Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time gives a good overview.

 


 

 


 

 

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cornwall
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I too am having a bit of trouble embracing some of the characters, especially Iris. I don't yet understand her or her intentions. Going to give it more time!

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mgood222
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Oh, I thought it was just me and my Sciatica. Pulled my back last week and just lying flat in bed, grateful for "The Postmistress" but at the same time didn't know if it was pain of the book but it seems hard to get into. Though I do like the three women.

Today is the first day I am able to sit and post. I'll catch up later I guess.

Maryellen

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Choisya
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Re: Music during the War (2)

[ Edited ]

 

I thought it would be freelamp, considering they were all American songs:smileyhappy:  My mother was an office bound Rosie the Riveter and she complained that the factory girls got the music but they didn't:smileysad:.  My father, an engineer, was on heavy munitions and he always knew more songs that she did. (I still think Sarah ought to have used more music than she did even though she has explained why it isn;t there).

freelamp wrote:

Music was very important here as well, Choisya.  My mother remembers the Andrews Sisters, Kate Smith, Kay Starr, Vera Lynn, and all the Big Bands.   Songs like I'll Be Seeing You, She is 90 and all of this is still so clear to her memory.   There was the worrying but also the desire to keep up morale.  Churchill's and Roosevelt'sspeeches were heard on the radio and in the newsreels.   My mom was a "Rosie the Riveter" working in a factory making war machinery during the day, and writing letters to her brothers and to her fiance (my dad) for 5 years during her evenings.  She said the spirit of community support for the War Effort was exciting after the broken days of the Depression.  The 'canteens' were fun spots to gather, with music and joy available for a few hours before the worry returned.


 

 

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AvidReader44
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

I am thoroughly enjoying this book, although I did find the excessive description at the beginning when introducing the characters of Iris and Emma a bit tedious, but I soon got used to this and enjoyed the flow.  The contrast in the type of description when we get to Frankie I thought was brilliant, when she went to 165 Battery and when wandering around Europe was described in an understated way that had far more impact than the 'in your face' blood, guts and hype that seems to be common nowadays.  The author managed to portray the quiet dignity of the Jews and the weary determination of the British in such a way that readers would have no problem imagining themselves actually there

 

When does the war feel "real" to each of the characters?

The war was real to Harry from the beginning I think

When Will went away was when Emma realised it was real

I don't think Iris will ever think it real unless it comes up and bites her literally later in the book

Frankie was affected badly by Billy's mother dying, this was when she realised that this was a real war

 

How does the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 40s differ from our experience of getting news from the television and internet?

 

There is a big difference between watching and listening.  I was brought up without a television and listened to the Radio every day.  We had BBC radio presenters who had no accents and also did not show excessive emotion in their voices while presenting.  The effect of this on listeners was far stronger as your imagination kicked in and filled in the details, I have found that Television destroys this as you can see all the 'action' as such and eventually you become immune to it and it loses it's impact.  Just listening to someones voice without any visual aids has a terrific impact on your emotions (and imagination)

 

What is the town of Franklin like? How does the town seem to be preparing or not preparing for war?

 

Atypical small town with it's variety of people and gossips.  No I don't think the town is preparing for war at all, it's to far away from them at the moment

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grammydee
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I am enjoying the book and some of the memories it dredges up,however I don't find any of the characters very appealing. 

Will is weak-willed,not to mention even cruel leaving Emma as he did, Emma not strong at all, her reaction to making love that she read in a novel is rather naive while  Iris is nosy and odd in her belief that "any man would want such a certificate" is really at odds with Frankies gratuitous sexual encounter. That did not seem necessary-it was almost like you have to have a sex scene,no novel is complete without it type of thing. If the story is compelling you don't need it.

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Knoxnews_Reader
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I had a hard time getting into the first few chapters as well but glad to report that I am reading steadily now. What happens to Frankie and Will in the last couple of chapters of that section really get the story moving.

 

When does the impact of the war begin to feel real to us as readers? For me, the story starts seeming personal when Frankie experiences the terror of the bombs first-hand. Not from the safety of her job, but as a regular citizen, walking home from a night out. She finally sees how war tears people apart -- before that moment, she couldn't hide the excitement in her voice of what it meant professionally to be reporting on the war.

 

Are we listening to Frankie's broadcasts along with Emma and Will? I don't feel that we are -- Emma and Will get the polish of a script, the careful consideration of how words sound. I think it is much more impacting to be in the moment with Frankie, in her panic and fear, where she isn't so well-spoken. Plus, the radio broadcasts allow the chance to flip it off and go about life again.

 

Did one war story from these early chapters move you more than the others? I am really interested to see what happens to Will as he goes overseas and whether he will feel redeemed.

 

How does the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 40s differ from our experience of getting news from the television and internet? As an NPR listener, I feel like I more actively take in information by radio than if it's on television or the Internet. Hearing a person's voice tell a story is so personal -- with the tv and the Web, it's very easy to move on to the next bit or tune it out completely without noticing. Radio requires active concentration.

 

Frankie thinks often of the path her voice travels and believes that the sound of war and a person's voice carries the events straight into American living rooms. Do you agree? I think she overestimates her power. War in another country isn't real to most people until it affects them personally. I'm turned off by her zest for war reporting.

 

 

I really enjoy Iris -- I can relate to her feeling that life is better when the daily tasks are organized into a system -- she says it's God but I think it's the manifestation of the brain's ability to find order in chaos. I can't wait to find out more about Harry and Iris and the mysterious Otto.

 

Another note, there are some strange transitions that I found jarring. I think added a space between paragraphs or a typographical symbol between the sections would really improve readability. I don't think those jarring transitions serve the reader.

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

IMO these different responses to sex show up certain differences between these three characters are therefore not gratuitous.  Sex is an important part of our lives and there are those who will use the experience they have gained from novels, those who prize virginity and those who have sex on the spur of the moment.  (On the matter of the effect of novels, a personal anecdote: When my son was young and taking an interest in girls, I asked him if he had had any sex education at school.  He replied that he hadn't but that he had read the James Bond novels by Graham Greene!:smileysurprised:)   

grammydee wrote:

I am enjoying the book and some of the memories it dredges up,however I don't find any of the characters very appealing. 

Will is weak-willed,not to mention even cruel leaving Emma as he did, Emma not strong at all, her reaction to making love that she read in a novel is rather naive while  Iris is nosy and odd in her belief that "any man would want such a certificate" is really at odds with Frankies gratuitous sexual encounter. That did not seem necessary-it was almost like you have to have a sex scene,no novel is complete without it type of thing. If the story is compelling you don't need it.


 

 

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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

Not sure what's stranger; the fact that there was no Sex Ed or the fact that he confused Greene for Fleming :smileywink:

Choisya wrote:

 

IMO these different responses to sex show up certain differences between these three characters are therefore not gratuitous.  Sex is an important part of our lives and there are those who will use the experience they have gained from novels, those who prize virginity and those who have sex on the spur of the moment.  (On the matter of the effect of novels, a personal anecdote: When my son was young and taking an interest in girls, I asked him if he had had any sex education at school.  He replied that he hadn't but that he had read the James Bond novels by Graham Greene!:smileysurprised:)   

grammydee wrote:

I am enjoying the book and some of the memories it dredges up,however I don't find any of the characters very appealing. 

Will is weak-willed,not to mention even cruel leaving Emma as he did, Emma not strong at all, her reaction to making love that she read in a novel is rather naive while  Iris is nosy and odd in her belief that "any man would want such a certificate" is really at odds with Frankies gratuitous sexual encounter. That did not seem necessary-it was almost like you have to have a sex scene,no novel is complete without it type of thing. If the story is compelling you don't need it.


 

 


 

 

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

LOL.  Sorry Paul that wasmy mistake - I was typing in the early hours:smileyhappy:.   Fleming it was.  
 

PaulH wrote:

 

Not sure what's stranger; the fact that there was no Sex Ed or the fact that he confused Greene for Fleming :smileywink:

Choisya wrote:

 

IMO these different responses to sex show up certain differences between these three characters are therefore not gratuitous.  Sex is an important part of our lives and there are those who will use the experience they have gained from novels, those who prize virginity and those who have sex on the spur of the moment.  (On the matter of the effect of novels, a personal anecdote: When my son was young and taking an interest in girls, I asked him if he had had any sex education at school.  He replied that he hadn't but that he had read the James Bond novels by Graham Greene!:smileysurprised:)   

grammydee wrote:

I am enjoying the book and some of the memories it dredges up,however I don't find any of the characters very appealing. 

Will is weak-willed,not to mention even cruel leaving Emma as he did, Emma not strong at all, her reaction to making love that she read in a novel is rather naive while  Iris is nosy and odd in her belief that "any man would want such a certificate" is really at odds with Frankies gratuitous sexual encounter. That did not seem necessary-it was almost like you have to have a sex scene,no novel is complete without it type of thing. If the story is compelling you don't need it.


 

 


 

 


 

 

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fordmg
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)


grammydee wrote:

I am enjoying the book and some of the memories it dredges up,however I don't find any of the characters very appealing. 

Will is weak-willed,not to mention even cruel leaving Emma as he did, Emma not strong at all, her reaction to making love that she read in a novel is rather naive while  Iris is nosy and odd in her belief that "any man would want such a certificate" is really at odds with Frankies gratuitous sexual encounter. That did not seem necessary-it was almost like you have to have a sex scene,no novel is complete without it type of thing. If the story is compelling you don't need it.


 

I think you need to put the characters into the context of 1940.  I agree that Will is a weak character, but Emma is typical of a young wife after the depression.   Iris is typical small town post office.  That is where people went to get the news.  Frankie is a cutting edge personality.  We have many women in news press jobs now, but it was a first in 1940.  I think Sara has done an excellent job of portraying the times. 

MG

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Murphy64
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I agree Jane....I also think that Frankie felt the "rawness and desparation" of wartime when she got hot and heavy with a total stanger (realizing afterwards that she didn't even know his name).  It made me feel like in wartime, everyone thursts for affection or some feeling that makes them know they are ALIVE!!