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crazylilcuban
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I think two scenes that really stuck with me were the horse race between Karel and Graciela and the descriptions of the four brothers pulling the plow along -- the first because of its vivid storytelling that just completely allowed me to see the scene play out in my head, the second because of its powerful emotional implications and because of how it just spoke volumes about the relationships between the characters and allowed the reader to really understand how and why some of them functioned the way they did.

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ESTONE
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I would have to agree with some of the other posters about racing in the rain as the most powerful images in the book.  I could almost smell the smoke from the men, the wet musty smell from the horses and the rain washing it all away.  This part of the book just grabbed me and I was so suprised at how it took me away as I read it.

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merl
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I will remember the boys being used as horses and pulling a plow. I can't get that image out of my mind.

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deannafrances
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I disliked the book intensely and wish I didn't have some of the images in my head from the book such as the joy Karel had when the boys pulled the dead calf's body apart or the horrific nasty scene when the man had sex with his wife right after childbirth.

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DSaff
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

What a great question, Rachel. I just found it. LOL  My lasting image of this book will be the way people mistreated each other. Fathers to sons, and vice versa, men to women, people to horses, etc. While the story came together at the end, I found the violence tough to read. However, I have friends who will love this book and have been suggesting it to them.  :smileyhappy:

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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MSaff
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

  I guess that if I were to choose one thing or image I can recall from this story, it would be the brutality of Vaclav towards his sons.  The one image that I vividly recall, is when following the race in which Karel lost, Vaclav viciously beat two of his sons for their suspected accounting for Karel's loss.  There was also the way Vaclav treated his sons, by hitching them up to the plow, causing them apparently permanent physical damage. 

  This story was full of hurt, with some glimpses of love and devotion to family.  Point in fact, Karel playing on the floor with his children prior to the birth of his son, and the scene where Karel is watching the boy and his father hunting.  That section showed that there was caring in the time period, and that not all humanity was brutal. 

 

 


Rachel-K wrote:

We've had a favorite passages thread, but I'd love to hear from the group what you feel was the strongest image, feeling, or scene you will carry with you from the novel--weather it is your favorite or least favorite, or if it simply typifies the atmosphere of the book. If you pass this title on a bookshelf in ten years, what image will rise in your memory that came from it's pages?


 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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sarah_in_ca
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I was struck mostly by what wasn't said, but implied, in the novel.  Prior to the horse races, the atmosphere drew me in to the conversations between the owners and the riders by what was implied but not spoken.  Even the communication between Vaclav and his horse was an implied threat.  The unspoken torture the young brothers endured pulling that plow while the horse stayed in the barn because it wasn't used for plow pulling, but the sons were.  How much did Vaclav value his sons?  Villasenor's implied domination of his daughters is another gut feeling I felt as I read more, although it's not defined until one slap as the only physical proof.

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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007

Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

I think when I look at this book on the shelf, the feeling I will have is of overall darkness.  The image of the harnessed boys struggling with the plow has a dark cast to me, as if the skies are cloudy and danger is lurking.  (the verbal abuse, the whip)  The racing scene with Graciela is similarly dark, rainy, lashing trees, as is the barn scene afterward.  (Incidentally, I am surprised that so many readers use the word "love" to describe Karel's feelings for this young girl.  Surely we know that "love" isn't instantaneous, and rarely arises in 15 year olds who then go on to have no relationship with one another for years.  Lust, yes; infatuation, yes; love?  I don't think so.)  Lust and unrequited infatuation with one's brother's wife are, to me, more dark emotions that color the book.  Vaclav dying, cursing, in the mud.  It was deserved, but it was still enormously dark.  Even the birthing scenes, so often a harbinger of hopefulness, are dark, bloody, brutal, and ending in death more often than in new life.

 

The tiny scenes of lightness that others have mentioned will never be enough to give this book a  lighter aura for me.  In part, because they are only a hint that better times could be coming, not necessarily convincing because the book ends there, there is no follow-through.  And in part because compared to the whole, they are like a stray beam of sunlight on a stormy day;  they are not enough to lighten the rest, and I'm left feeling that the clouds might well close in again and the downpour continue. 


JaneM wrote:


Eckwell

wrote:

The image that I carry from this book is the one of the four brothers straining to pull the plow through the hard soil.  It was a very vivid description and once that I carry with me.  The abuse that this man brought onto his sons was unforgiveable.


I agree that the sons pulling the plow is the most memorable image since it impacted them both physically and emotionally throughout the course of the story.


 

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DarcyPDX
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

Probably the most powerful scenes to me in the book were the ones where Vaclav rides Whiskey to death (pp 263-265)and Karel leaves the injured Vaclav to fend for himself and, ultimately, to die alone in the dark and the cold (pp 300-302).  These pivotal scenes give Karel an event in which he is forced to reflect on what he has lost or will lose and what he still has a chance to regain.

 

Upon finding the critically injured horse, Karel realizes that even though he "...has never thought of what he felt for the animal as love...it is certainly something akin to affection..."   He mourns the impending death at his own hands of the animal he cares for that has "...such an inborn capacity for such silent suffering."  His sad musings on the unjust death of the animal he helped bring into the world and now will have to euthanize causes him to connect some of the dots in his life.  While "the trouble with animals, with caring for beasts, is that, if you do it very long at all, you have to witness the end of something you've seen born" certainly applies to Karel and Whiskey, bug it can also apply to Klara and Karel.  He thinks of his brother Stan struck down by their father and silently rising, and he suddenly realizes that somehow he has an actual memory of his mother that he's been carrying around unacknowledged. He tries to shrug these things off as "memories and fabrications...fruitless distractions" before moving to locate his father in the dark. 

 

Vaclav responds to his son's rescue attempt with ill-natured and drunken retorts.  Alone and trying to help his father, Karel realizes that "(h)e needs his brothers.  He can't get it done without them..."  Vaclav seals his fate by rejecting Karel's attempts to save him and reminding him of the cruel and unrelenting paternal orders that he and his brothers have lived under for most or all of their lives.   Vaclav's final words (whether as a result of being drunk or hallucinating from his severe injury) to the only one of his children who will have anything to do with him are poisoned with the bitterness and anger that he has always exhibited to his children.  No bedside confessions of regret for having treated his sons harshly or fond memories of the one person he seems to have loved (Klara) for Vaclav.  As if this is a Texan Greek tragedy, the abuses of his life have now lead directly to his death. The cruel treatment of a beautiful and faithful horse has crushed his chest in and the equally unforgiveable treatment of his children now leads the last one to give up on Vaclav and leave him in the mud to die. 

 

These scenes (separated by about 40 pages of text) bring Karel to terms with some crucial family dynamics about loyalty, duty and family ties that, I think, made it possible for him to subsequently go to his brother's burnt farm and reconcile, however tentatively, with his brothers.

 

On a less cerebral note, I was frankly satisfied to see Vaclav get what I considered his just desserts in these scenes (although it saddened me that an innocent animal had to be killed in the process). 

 

--Darcy

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BooksToTheCeiling
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

Eckwell wrote:

The image that I carry from this book is the one of the four brothers straining to pull the plow through the hard soil.  It was a very vivid description and once that I carry with me.  The abuse that this man brought onto his sons was unforgiveable.

 

I have to agree with this. I will come back to this scene when ever I think of this book. The cruelty of this scene is burned in my memory.

 

One of my favorite passages I love just for the beauty of the writing and has nothing really to do with the story. It is the description of the owl flying and hunting in the rain after the race between Karel and Graceila as children.

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BooksToTheCeiling
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

deannafrances said: I disliked the book intensely and wish I didn't have some of the images in my head from the book such as the joy Karel had when the boys pulled the dead calf's body apart or the horrific nasty scene when the man had sex with his wife right after childbirth.

 

I agree with you, these two scenes were the absolute worst.

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1archi1
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Registered: ‎07-07-2010
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

Oh my goodness everytime I think of Wake of Forgiveness, and I do think of it often because it was such a profound book to read, is the horse race between Karel and Graceila.  I can still picture Bruce's words, in my head, of the race.  I was holding onto the book so tight to see who would pull off the win.  My palms were almost sweating.  The Wake of Forgiveness is a great book and I have recommended it too all of my friends.  It has definitely earned a forever place on my bookshelf.

:smileyhappy:
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floreader
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Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

 


BookWoman718 wrote:

I think when I look at this book on the shelf, the feeling I will have is of overall darkness.  The image of the harnessed boys struggling with the plow has a dark cast to me, as if the skies are cloudy and danger is lurking.  (the verbal abuse, the whip)  The racing scene with Graciela is similarly dark, rainy, lashing trees, as is the barn scene afterward.  (Incidentally, I am surprised that so many readers use the word "love" to describe Karel's feelings for this young girl.  Surely we know that "love" isn't instantaneous, and rarely arises in 15 year olds who then go on to have no relationship with one another for years.  Lust, yes; infatuation, yes; love?  I don't think so.)  Lust and unrequited infatuation with one's brother's wife are, to me, more dark emotions that color the book.  Vaclav dying, cursing, in the mud.  It was deserved, but it was still enormously dark.  Even the birthing scenes, so often a harbinger of hopefulness, are dark, bloody, brutal, and ending in death more often than in new life.

 

The tiny scenes of lightness that others have mentioned will never be enough to give this book a  lighter aura for me.  In part, because they are only a hint that better times could be coming, not necessarily convincing because the book ends there, there is no follow-through.  And in part because compared to the whole, they are like a stray beam of sunlight on a stormy day;  they are not enough to lighten the rest, and I'm left feeling that the clouds might well close in again and the downpour continue. 


JaneM wrote:


Eckwell

wrote:

The image that I carry from this book is the one of the four brothers straining to pull the plow through the hard soil.  It was a very vivid description and once that I carry with me.  The abuse that this man brought onto his sons was unforgiveable.


I agree that the sons pulling the plow is the most memorable image since it impacted them both physically and emotionally throughout the course of the story.


 


Bookwoman718,

Very thoughtful and insightful post.

 

 

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JerseyAngel
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Re: In the Wake of The Wake of Forgiveness?

For some reason, not sure why, but I still love the descriptions of Karel as he got older. The way his body language was described seemed to say so much without directly saying it... the way he would wear his hat, the cigarette that dangled from his lips, his stance, etc. These images have stuck with me and helped me to develop a liking for him when I didn't care for any other character in the book.

 

Unfortunately, some of the more disturbing scenes are what sticks out and I wish that wasn't the case. One scene that has stayed with me are when the boys were young & Karel was only 3. The description of the outhouse, how he stared at his mother's picture & the scene that followed when the picture fell in the water.