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dhaupt
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars,"

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

eadie;;I love the language as well.It couldn't have been written any other way to feel the depth of the Book  .Bruce's gift.is being able to transform our minds to get into his flow of the story.and reading it slowly, enables me to absorb the beauty,even with all the hardships,and not perfect relationships,it is so far a wonderful story.Looking forward to Bruce's visit and reading on...Susan..


I totally agree with you about the language, it really makes the novel more real for me, I have to admit that it took me a little time to acclimate myself to the dialogue but once I did I was hooked.

 

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars,"


dhaupt wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

eadie;;I love the language as well.It couldn't have been written any other way to feel the depth of the Book  .Bruce's gift.is being able to transform our minds to get into his flow of the story.and reading it slowly, enables me to absorb the beauty,even with all the hardships,and not perfect relationships,it is so far a wonderful story.Looking forward to Bruce's visit and reading on...Susan..


I totally agree with you about the language, it really makes the novel more real for me, I have to admit that it took me a little time to acclimate myself to the dialogue but once I did I was hooked.

 


 Debbie..So many different dialects brought together..Many immigrants,,Including the Mexican Influence..Getting the language correct..really moves me..Bruce certainly crafted a Great Novel..Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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flouncyninja
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

Before I read everyone else's thoughts, I wanted to get some of my own down.  It took me a little while to get into this book as I'd just finished three novels in a series that were full of puzzles and hidden meanings, so I kept coming up with grandiose conspiracy theories while reading the first few sections ("But did the mother really die or has she been hidden somewhere?  And what's with the cows hanging out against the fence line?  There must be something to that!").  If any of you were in the Antiphon group on the sci-fi board, maybe you'll understand.

 

Now that I've moved back into former English-major mode, I've begun to really appreciate the beauty of the language and imagery that is used in this novel.  I'm still not particularly caught up in the plot, perhaps it's just a little bit too far outside of my reading area.

 

I like the switches in time, going back and forth to reflect how the man Karel is influenced by the events of that one night of racing.  I was surprised by the level of violence that arose from him losing the race, but the descriptions - as with the rest of the book - were captivating.  I'm very interested in seeing how the other three brothers turned out as adults.

 

I can't really have any sympathy for Vaclav after meeting him fifteen years after his wife's death.  He treats his horses like people and his sons like animals.  It makes sense to me that three of the four so desparately want a way out that they conspire against Karel to lose the race.  Karel, on the other hand, has somewhat of a co-dependant relationship with his father - taking his abuse because he also is convinced he killed his mother and deserves his father's hatred.  Yet at times, the walls do break down and Vaclav seems to at least respect his youngest son, as seen in the scene where they are neutering the horse before selling it.  In the end though, I think Karel would end up exactly as his father had if he lost the female influences in his adult life.

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

 


flouncyninja wrote:

Before I read everyone else's thoughts, I wanted to get some of my own down.  It took me a little while to get into this book as I'd just finished three novels in a series that were full of puzzles and hidden meanings, so I kept coming up with grandiose conspiracy theories while reading the first few sections ("But did the mother really die or has she been hidden somewhere?  And what's with the cows hanging out against the fence line?  There must be something to that!").  If any of you were in the Antiphon group on the sci-fi board, maybe you'll understand.

 

 

 

This made me laugh, because how true it is.  :smileywink:

 

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

What is up about the horses on the fence line?  Am I missing something?

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

[ Edited ]

Maybe the fence line signifies the fluidity of the ownership of land and the relationships, in the novel. The fence line seems to come up very often. The characters in the novel seem to gamble their property and their horses so maybe they are always waiting to see which side of the fence they will be on, the winning side or the losing one.

The brothers chose to stand on the side of the fence with Villasenor rather than their father. The pastor gets stuck to the fence.

Where any of them winds up, seems to be based on the capriciousness of the gambles we face in life for life and death, success and failure, to risk or not to risk the things we treasure, worship, to cheat or not to cheat.

Maybe the fence is the dividing line between right and wrong, good an evil, success or failure.

 


ssizemore wrote:

What is up about the horses on the fence line?  Am I missing something?


 

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

I've noticed that a lot of people are having trouble with the time jumps.  While it annoyed me a little that there were sudden jumps forward in time, I was relieved to find that we would also be going back in time to fill in the gaps with new information.  What's bothered me and prevented me from really diving into the story is the change in narrators.  While it's a third person narrative, it's limited perspective. 

 

After the initial start with Vaclav as the point of view watching his wife die, Karel is the main character of the story, both as an adult and when he's a child.  Suddenly jumping to the perspective of the old preacher or the mother who had just had twins (or worst yet the random storytelling from the owl's perspective) really threw me off.  I'm not sure exactly what it contributes to the main storyline except more examples of the violence of the men in this story.

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


flouncyninja wrote:

Before I read everyone else's thoughts, I wanted to get some of my own down.  It took me a little while to get into this book as I'd just finished three novels in a series that were full of puzzles and hidden meanings, so I kept coming up with grandiose conspiracy theories while reading the first few sections ("But did the mother really die or has she been hidden somewhere?  And what's with the cows hanging out against the fence line?  There must be something to that!").  If any of you were in the Antiphon group on the sci-fi board, maybe you'll understand.

 

Now that I've moved back into former English-major mode, I've begun to really appreciate the beauty of the language and imagery that is used in this novel.  I'm still not particularly caught up in the plot, perhaps it's just a little bit too far outside of my reading area.

 

I like the switches in time, going back and forth to reflect how the man Karel is influenced by the events of that one night of racing.  I was surprised by the level of violence that arose from him losing the race, but the descriptions - as with the rest of the book - were captivating.  I'm very interested in seeing how the other three brothers turned out as adults.

 

I can't really have any sympathy for Vaclav after meeting him fifteen years after his wife's death.  He treats his horses like people and his sons like animals.  It makes sense to me that three of the four so desparately want a way out that they conspire against Karel to lose the race.  Karel, on the other hand, has somewhat of a co-dependant relationship with his father - taking his abuse because he also is convinced he killed his mother and deserves his father's hatred.  Yet at times, the walls do break down and Vaclav seems to at least respect his youngest son, as seen in the scene where they are neutering the horse before selling it.  In the end though, I think Karel would end up exactly as his father had if he lost the female influences in his adult life.


 

Although I am not in the Antiphon group on the sci-fi board, I had to laugh when I read your post about coming up with different theories while reading.  After participating in First Look for a long time, I sometimes find myself overanalyzing passages and thinking to myself, "Is this detail going to become important at a later point?", "This passage must be a metaphor for something, but what?"  I need to just enjoy reading the books a little more and stop driving myself crazy!

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

Vaclav has no redeeming qualities.  He is horribly cruel and acts only to benefit himself, no matter what the consequences are.  Although at first it seemed that Vaclav put the horses on a pedestal, it soon became clear to me that he did this only because he profitted from the horses, not due to any affection he had for them.

Karel takes his father's abuse and even thinks he deserves the abuse, yet he still seeks his father's approval.  I feel these traits are common among abused children.

 

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Jeanne-ND91
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

I did not have any sympathy or liking at all for Vaclav. I found him to be a cold, selfish man who was abusive to his children. Instead of thanking his wife for giving him these children and dying in giving birth to Karel, he closes himself off from all of them and forces them to be his slaves basically.

 

The time shift bothered me as well, I kept having to go back to previous sections to see what year those were and get in my mind how old Karel was each time. It did get better for me towards the end with it, but the beginning few shifts were hard.

 

I think the boys went along with the abuse because that is all they knew. Yes, the older brothers knew better probably but they had to watch out for Karel also and that is hard for any little child and I think harder for boys. I am suprised that it took them so long to rebel, but did they make a better life for themselves after the race or I think just a different kind of abuse/enslavement with Villasenor's family.


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

[ Edited ]

I had wondered that as well. Of course, it could also have been less about wanting to honor her and more about wanting to always have a reminder of his pain - the pain this child "caused."

 

Reply to:

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?

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mv5ocean
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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?

Although I felt sympathy in that he apparently loved his wife and that was the only time he was a fairly good person, when she died he immediately returned to his old self and became a terribly cruel person so its hard to feel anything for him other than contempt at this point.

 

Is there a relationship between the four brothers?

Although they are brothers and at times act as you would expect them to, even the 3 brothers seem to form a division against their youngest brother. 

 

 

 



 

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

What a wonderful post---I love all of the images you mentioned!  I'm going back to reread those passages.  This is what is so great about the FL book club!  WOW!


thewanderingjew wrote:

Maybe the fence line signifies the fluidity of the ownership of land and the relationships, in the novel. The fence line seems to come up very often. The characters in the novel seem to gamble their property and their horses so maybe they are always waiting to see which side of the fence they will be on, the winning side or the losing one.

The brothers chose to stand on the side of the fence with Villasenor rather than their father. The pastor gets stuck to the fence.

Where any of them winds up, seems to be based on the capriciousness of the gambles we face in life for life and death, success and failure, to risk or not to risk the things we treasure, worship, to cheat or not to cheat.

Maybe the fence is the dividing line between right and wrong, good an evil, success or failure.

 


ssizemore wrote:

What is up about the horses on the fence line?  Am I missing something?


 


 

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mv5ocean
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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?


Wow that is great sleuthing!

It will be interesting to see how the name came about!

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


BookWoman718 wrote:

DarcyPDX wrote:

 

.

 

I think the brothers do have a strong relationship with each other.  It's not necessarily a healthy or loving one, but it is significant.  Hard to believe that children who have been literally harnessed to a plow so much that their spines are deformed wouldn't have strong ties to each other.  I think symbolically Machart underscores their connection by the cant of their heads - two left-leaning and two right-leaning so they form living parentheses around their shared experiences.

 

--Darcy


Why do you suppose neither the father nor the boys thought to just switch their positions from one side to the other on a regular basis?   I found it hard to believe such an easy solution wouldn't have occured to them.  When I first read Bruce's description of the experience that had led to this feature of the novel, I had assumed that the harness fit in such a way that all the boys were tipped in one direction.  But when I read  that two-left and two-right description, I was just confused.  Just change positions!  Problem solved....  Beyond the fact that they should never have been hitched up at all, of course.


Darcy...that is an amzing observation.  So well stated!

You are the author of your own life story.
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fordmg
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)


ssizemore wrote:

What is up about the horses on the fence line?  Am I missing something?


They are the rides that the towns people used to get to the race.

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doe965
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

To be honest I do not think we can really judge Vaclav fairly since we only see one aspect of his life.  We have no idea how he became a hard, bitter man.

 

We only know that when Klara was alive, he was a caring man due to her love for him. (I believe it was during this time he treated his sons differently because Klara was there to intercede.)   Once Klara passed away, everything redeeming about him died, he took his pain and anger out on his sons because they were convenient. Vaclav put his energy into his animals and his farm because he did not have to feel anything to take care of them. From that day on, he treated his sons as animals so he would not have to feel pain again.

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CD33
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

[ Edited ]

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?

 

Vaclav is a dark, bitter, and very angry man. His wife may have softened him while she was alive but ultimately a man that disturbed must have always harbored these characteristics.

 

So far, I do not really sympathize with Vaclav's character at all. Although, there was a point in the book when his wedding picture was ruined by the children and he became very emotional. He still covered up his sadness quickly with anger and began yelling at the children who could have used their fathers support instead.

 

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 think both Vaclav and Karel demonstrate a deeper connection to the land and horses then with any human relationship they have. It seems that they both connect easier with the horses maybe because the horses have never hurt or disappointed either of them the way their family has.

 

Is there a relationship between the four brothers?

 

At this point in the book I do not see much of a relationship between the four brothers. Possibly in the earlier years the brothers seemed to try and be kind to Karel, especially when he was learning to use the outhouse.

 

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

 

The "relationship" Karel has with his mother is so heartbreaking. His thoughts are so vulnerable. Although it is nice that he has found a way to keep her alive.

 

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

 

I have to say the time shifts bothered me in the beginning. I was constantly flipping back and forth checking the dates at the beginning of the chapters. But, eventually, once I was more familiar with the story and characters it was nice to parallel the different times.

 

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? 

 

I think that it is so sad that Karel did not see the abuse his father forced upon him and his brothers. It makes me think that because it happened at such a young age and so regularly that Karel believed that was what was supposed to be.

 

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

First of all, I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments on the book. it really helps me see the book in a whole different light!

I have to say I agree with Rosia that the author is too wordy.  Some of the sentences run on so long, I too have to go back & reread to keep things straight.  I also had a hard time getting into the book, but after the first few chapters, the book started to reel me in and I wanted to keep reading to see what happens.  So my advice to those who could not get into the book--keep reading, I think you will be glad you did. 

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

I agree that Vaclav has no redeeming qualities.  I think the reason Karel accepts his father's abuse is because he feels responsible for his mother's death, and because of that, feels responsible for his father's unhappiness as well.  I finished the book and do not want to ruin it for anyone so I won't say any more yet.