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DSaff
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

Great thought!  :smileyhappy:

 


AshDar wrote:

Kind of a simple revelation, but did anybody else notice that Klara and Karel are one letter apart, with different arrangements? Could it be that Vaclav wanted to honor his wife's memory by naming their last child after her?


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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eadieburke
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars,"

I love the prose of the story - such beautiful language! I find myself reading slowly and outloud just to absorb all the wonderful words.

 

I can't help but think that Vaclav is just a victim of his upbringing too and does not have good self-esteem. He is now passing that bitterness onto his sons. One vicious cycle. Would things be different if Klara were around? Maybe yes or maybe no? Even though Vaclav softened some when she was around, I cannot help but think that she may have been mistreated too.

 

Between the four brothers there seems to be some type of relationship but it's hard with such abuse in the family to have anything meaningful because they all seem like they are trying to survive day by day living. That tends to pit them against one another at times.

 

Karel is a victim of not having a relationship with his mother and thereby dreams of what could have been. He is certainly starving for affection and can't seem to get that need fulfilled. He does show tenderness with his children but is still confused in regards to how to be faithful to his wife. To him it's normal behavior and some type of entitlement - a way to get over on his brother.

 

The shifts in time do not bother me. It's a way of explaining why the charcters act the way they do. It's a way of spoon-feeding the information and keeps you reading to find out more.

 

 

 

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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mommacat29
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

What effect do the shifts in time between chapters have on your understanding of this family's story?

 

 

I really enjoyed the story but the time line jumping was confusing for me. I tend to like things more in order so it may be a personal preference. I do realize that the different sections tie together but it was a little hard to remember when I was. I too kept flipping back and forth between the sections to determine where I was at the time and who certain characters were.

 

As a whole though, I truly enjoyed the book and feel I am a better person for having read it. The characters and setting are described with such feeling and depth that you loose yourself in the story. There were many classic lines that could easily be quoted over and over again. I am going to keep this one for my daughter when she is older. Great job. Cant wait to discuss this more in depth as everyone else finishes.

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wendyr67
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

 


fordmg wrote:

Sympathy for Vaclav?  I don't think so.  He did not just turn bitter after his wife died.  This was his personality all the time.   There just was not a mother to blunt the actions for her children anymore.


Relationship between the brothers?  Not much of one.  The three older brothers seem to be separated from Karel.  Karel seems to be the different one.  Maybe the borthers als blame him for the loss of their mother.  They certainly didn't care about Karel when they saw a way to get out from under Vaclav's torture.  It was every man for himself.  That seems to be the whole environmant of the story.

 

Karel dreams of his mother, because he has nothing else.  He doesn't have memories, and he fells responsible for her death.

 

Chapter time shifts -   This is a little difficult.  I understand the use of flash backs, but as I scan forward, I see that the story continues to shift between 1910 and 1924.  I continue to go back and check to see where the story is as I am reading.

 

MG


I agree here that Vaclav's nature is one of cruelty, regardless of his wife's death. In the absence of a buffer, the children take the entire brunt of it with no one to turn to and no example of kindness. I thought it was interesting how even though all four brothers were brought up in the same abusive environment, they each were affected a little differently. Stan, being the oldest, carried the most responsibility, yet he was the 'meekest' of them. The most aggressive and outspoken of the four was a middle son. And the one who seemed to actually adjust and learn the most from the relationships was the youngest. Those traits of personality among birth-ranking are pretty accurate in real life.

 

 

At first I thought that jumping around in chronology was a bit distracting, but I found it to lend a page-turner type of quality to the story. Each section revealed answers to a previous curiosity, causing the reader to feel like he/she is becoming deeply acquainted with the characters.

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JaneM
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What kind of a man is Vaclav? He sees himself as a man who is "bitter and hard" but had been softened only by being close to Klara during their marriage. Are you able to feel any sympathy for his character in the novel so far?

 

I think Vaclav has a back story that we don't know yet that may tell us something about his character.  He is so consumed by land ownership that he teaches Karel to cheat to win what he might have won anyway.  I am hoping that although we might not find Foregiveness for Vaclav, we may at least find understanding that eludes us at this point in the book.

 

Do we see Vaclav and Karel show tenderness, pride, or respect in their relationship to land and horses that they don't seem to expect at all in the human relationships within their family?

 

I'm not sure I've seen any more care toward the animals than I have towards the family.  Vaclav likes to scare his horses to perform with knives and threats, and Karel kicks his cow even knowing it may result in a financial loss.  They are only a commodity, an asset, and no tenderness or respect is shown towards them.

 

 

What effect do the shifts in time between chapters have on your understanding of this family's story?

 

I think the time shifts help with the slow unfolding of the narrative by giving us glimpses into the present, future and past, while we start putting together the story that created each of the men's characters.  I know we are going to find out more about Vaclav's earlier history as well as what happens during the 3 weddings that will color our perspective of all the people in the story.

 

 


 

Jane M.
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

 


Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions to help dive into our discussion of The Wake of Forgiveness, or post your own thoughts and questions for the group!  

 

What kind of a man is Vaclav? He sees himself as a man who is "bitter and hard" but had been softened only by being close to Klara during their marriage. Are you able to feel any sympathy for his character in the novel so far?

 

I think Vaclav is cold and uncaring. I felt sorry for him because he is empty and unable to feel or allow himself to feel love. I believe the cruel side to his nature was probably there even before his marriage, perhaps something observed and learned from the way he was parented although I don't think that excuses his cruelty to his sons.The harsh nature of life in general at the time this story takes place is also something I took into account. His bitterness arrived when his wife died and added to his character flaws. So in general, I feel some sympathy for him and yet would never excuse his behavior.

 

Do we see Vaclav and Karel show tenderness, pride, or respect in their relationship to land and horses that they don't seem to expect at all in the human relationships within their family?

 

I don't see Vaclav showing tenderness, pride or respect to the land and horses. I see him as using those for his own gain. I think everything is competition to him, land,  horses, whatever gets in his way. He must conquer everything. I believe Karel sees things differently than his father. I think he respects, takes pride in and shows tenderness to the horses and land. The only reason he doesn't shows those emotions towards his family is because of the family dynamics. It would feel unacceptable. It would seem like weakness to show care within this family structure.

 

Is there a relationship between the four brothers?

 

Yes. I think the older brothers did protect Karel when he was younger and in their own way cared about him. I think they all understand the fear they have of their father. I think Karel looks up to his brothers.

 

Karel has a dreamed up relationship to his mother. How would you describe his thoughts of her?

 

What effect do the shifts in time between chapters have on your understanding of this family's story?

 

I liked the shifts in time. I felt they kept the suspense going and made me think about each part of the story in a deeper way as I was reading.

 

At the end of this first section, Karel expresses some astonishment that Graciela's father would harness fine horses to pull a carriage, but seems to register no irony that his own father has crippled his brothers and himself by making them pull a plow. Do you have any understanding of this? 

 

Isn't it true that when you live with something day in and day out you begin to accept it as OK? No one ever stopped Karel's father from harnessing him and his brothers, therefore that made it all the easier to accept it as normal. Don't we often not see the horror in our own lives even when it stares us in the face? We sort of protect ourselves by not seeing it which makes it so much easier to not deal with something difficult.



 

CAG
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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

What kind of a man is Vaclav? He sees himself as a man who is "bitter and hard" but had been softened only by being close to Klara during their marriage. Are you able to feel any sympathy for his character in the novel so far?

 

 

I actually did feel sympathy for Vaclav towards the beginning. He was so heartbroken when his wife died. Vaclav was certainly a sign of the times, meaning the men had to be tough to survive during those years. To show tenderness was to show weakness. I wonder if he was cruel using his sons as horses for plowing, or was he bitter that his wife had died during childbirth, or maybe overwhelmed to have four boys that he had to raise alone. Did he act like he did only to toughen the sons up, so that they could survive without looking weak?

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sheljenk
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

I'm finding it hard to find anybody to like in these Early Chapters.  The sympathy I feel towards the child Karel starts to dwindle as I get to know the adult Karel.  Vaclav is an unsympathetic character who I loathe.  I don't feel like his personality has anything to do with his wife's death.  I think he was always sadistic and aloof.  Maybe his personality was tempered while his wife was alive but he went back to being as cold as ever.  All the people in this book seem really hard and cold. 

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sheljenk
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

The author does a great job in describing situations so that I feel I am in the book.  But on the flip side, it takes me a while to "shake off" the bad feelings this book brings forth.  I'm dreading the next page but at the same time can't wait to see what happens next.

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rosia408
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

I am having a really hard time getting into this book. I can't say it is one that has grabbed me from page one. I think the writing style is way too wordy and I find myself going back and rereading sentences and even paragraphs trying to figure out what is going on.

 

If I was going to purchase this book, I am not sure I would. Seeing as I have a commitment to this First Look Club, I am going to push onward and hope that it gets better.

 

So far I don't see any of the characters that I like.

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sheljenk
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

I find the years skipping around distracting.  I briefly considered skipping around so that I could read the book in chronological order.  I'd probably just screw myself up so I decided not to.

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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

Is there a relationship between the four brothers?

 

 

It did not seem to me, that the brothers were close. Karel stated on page 62, "I ain't got a, family no more, excepting my wife and girls".

Also, it seemed to me that the brothers were all in competition to look the best in the father's eyes, as in racing the horses and outriding the others. I think the father did not exhibit affection or praise, and the boys always strived for attention and praise from him.

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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

At the end of this first section, Karel expresses some astonishment that Graciela's father would harness fine horses to pull a carriage, but seems to register no irony that his own father has crippled his brothers and himself by making them pull a plow. Do you have any understanding of this? 

 

That's how Karel was raised. His own father used the boys to plow, instead of the two horses he saved for racing. The horses were important in their lives, to bring in more money by mating and racing them. The horses were probably the only prized possessions they owned. Graciela's father seemed to have more money that Karel's family, so he thought nothing of using fine horses to pull a carriage. Karel was poor, and knew no other way.

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JaneM
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

My perspective is that although we knew the outcome of the race, we did not know that Karel won it by cheating, which was very surprising to me as I thought he and the horse together were the winning combo.  Winning by cheating just cheapens the victory.


nfam wrote:

 

I did find the skipping about in years difficult for the story. I though the author sacrificed a great amount of tension by having us already know what was going to happen. The race was tense and well writter, but we already knew the outcome. 

 


 

Jane M.
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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

Karel has a dreamed up relationship to his mother. How would you describe his thoughts of her?

 

Karel had a fantasy of still being in the womb of his mother. I think he thought that because the only time he and his mother were together, was when he WAS in her womb. He pictured her riding a horse, and beautiful. I believe he was associating thoughts of his mother, with thoughts of a beautiful girl, one he so much desired, riding a horse. I think he saw Graciela as unattainable in the early years, as unattainable as a mother whom he never met.

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JaneM
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)


mommybooknerd wrote:

Pg 127..."My father says that if we look for ourselves in others, we're likely to find someone we don't recognize"

 

What do we think about that quote considering the context???


I also find it an interesting quote. It continues, "He considers what she's said, the meaning of which flits in and out of the limits of his comprehension the same way a flushed bobwhite will weave itself into a stand of trees to elude his shot."

 

I think the meaning of the question is elusive, and strange coming from a young woman.  If a more mature person had made the remark, I would take it to mean that if we look for our personal validation or worth in others, then we should not be surprised to find that we had in effect created a mirror of the other, rather than a representation of ourself. 

 

But maybe she means that if Karel is trying to find a commonality between them because of an absent mother, then he would be misinterpreting her situation by expecting her responses in all things to mirror his own.  And as she goes on to say her mother is "alive to everyone but my father", we can be further confused by the tease of this line, which I hope will be clarified in further chapters.

 

In any case, I would like others to weight in on this, as it is an interesting passge.

Jane M.
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RIRN56
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

OMG...i never associated Klara with Karel. Very clever!!!

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)


AshDar wrote:

Kind of a simple revelation, but did anybody else notice that Klara and Karel are one letter apart, with different arrangements? Could it be that Vaclav wanted to honor his wife's memory by naming their last child after her?


Welcome to FirstLook AshDar,its simple,but noteworthy..Glad you are here to experience TWOF,Susan Vtc

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Kittysmom
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

That's a very good discovery that I hadn't noticed - Karel is very close to Klara with different arrangements and it very well could mean a way for Vaclev to honor his wife with naming their last child with a name very close to hers, but I cannot bring myself to believe that Vaclev had that kind of thought at that time! He does not seem like that kind of a man to me!

"Open a book and the world is yours"
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

[ Edited ]

I wonder if it might also mean that the person we are looking at to find ourselves, might be very different from us and might  not be "likable" at all. Therefore we might not really see ourselves for whom we really are or as others see us but either as we want to be seen or even not be seen.

I remember at one time, one of my kids took a personality test to find out what he wanted to do with his life and when I saw the answers he wrote I was dumbfounded. He saw himself so differently from how I did. He saw himself as a sociable individual and I saw him as more remote and removed from the pack. Who was he really? He really was removed from the pack but perhaps he wanted to be part of it.

Cutting to the chase, perhaps we find a person that we don't know but want to be, or a person we wish we weren't.

I apologize, it really sounds like circular reasoning.


JaneM wrote:

mommybooknerd wrote:

Pg 127..."My father says that if we look for ourselves in others, we're likely to find someone we don't recognize"

 

What do we think about that quote considering the context???


I also find it an interesting quote. It continues, "He considers what she's said, the meaning of which flits in and out of the limits of his comprehension the same way a flushed bobwhite will weave itself into a stand of trees to elude his shot."

 

I think the meaning of the question is elusive, and strange coming from a young woman.  If a more mature person had made the remark, I would take it to mean that if we look for our personal validation or worth in others, then we should not be surprised to find that we had in effect created a mirror of the other, rather than a representation of ourself. 

 

But maybe she means that if Karel is trying to find a commonality between them because of an absent mother, then he would be misinterpreting her situation by expecting her responses in all things to mirror his own.  And as she goes on to say her mother is "alive to everyone but my father", we can be further confused by the tease of this line, which I hope will be clarified in further chapters.

 

In any case, I would like others to weight in on this, as it is an interesting passge.