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

Yes, isn't the language in this story beautiful.   I am also reading it slowly just to absorb and feel the words.   Story is harsh - but the language is beautiful.
eadieburke wrote:

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.

 

 

 


 

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


thewanderingjew wrote:

 


Bonnie, do you think there was more of a relationship than we are aware of, at the moment. Could Karel be nostalgic for the closeness he had with his brothers then, yoked together, even though they were being treated ruthlessly? Does he miss them? He no longer seems to have a relationship with them as far as I can see from the portion of the book I have read. It seems strange to be nostalgic about what amounts almost to torture but these brothers were certainly raised in a dysfunctional manner so who knows?
Does anyone else have any thoughts on that passage.

Bonnie_C wrote:
snip...

As for as the relationship with the brothers, Karel remembers the first time he got drunk was with his brothers after he won the first race.  It was also mentioned that Stan was the "mother hen" of the group.  So I got the feeling that there was a relationship among the brothers, it just hasn't been well defined yet outside the horse harness. snip...


 

I can only imagine that due to their common misery, the boys would have bonded.  I think the parting of the ways came when Karel felt betrayed by his brothers at the race. 

I think Karel is a man who has many regrets.  He longs for Graciela who is now his brother's wife and I imagine he does long for the companionship and support the brothers gave each other growing up.

 

It was also mentioned that Karel may have born some responsibility in the death of his father.  I'm interested to find out more to see if he feels any regrets about that.

 

Bonnie


 

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

I don't find any of the characters likeable. Although I do find them very real. We know that life is hard for many people and in the early 1900's people had different lives then we have today. There is a lot in this book that would be so unacceptable in today's world but it did happen and it made people hard and unhappy. I don't think there was a lot to inspire people to lift themselves out of desperate situations and so bad times became worse times. Today we cherish children but back in the day I'm not so sure they were so cherished as they were expected to earn their keep. I really wanted the boys with the crooked necks to be inspirational but I'm not seeing that. I think they're crooked necks are the physical scars of mis-treatment and I they bare the emotional scars as well.

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torbank6
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

What kind of man is Vaclav?  A self possessed man with little regard for others including his own sons.  I have no sympathy for him so far.....

 

Vaclav and Karel show little to no pride in anything but winning so I doubt there is much respect for horses or land except horses are useful to win and gain more land with.

 

The 4 brothers have some brotherly relationships but when Karel loses the race, they are fighting with Karel as well as the father.

 

The shift in time was at first hard for me to adjust to, but then I was able to connect better with the characters when I could read about what had happened to them earlier in life.

 

I am really enjoying the book. It is a different kind of reading for me and I am glad I was given the opportunity to read it.

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Tarri
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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.

[snip]


 

This is one of the great things about the First Look Book Club, all of the different interpretations of why the cows are at the fence or is the tree really a tree.  The discussion of the FL selections has really made me look further into all the books I read and nothing is taken for granted. 

 

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

I completely agree with you.  We know he has the potential to change because when his wife was alive he was a better person.  But then after losing her he reverts right back to the person he was before meeting her.  I also hope that by the end of the book we find out what has made him such a hardened man.

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

I completely agree with you.  We know Vaclav has the potential to change because when his wife was alive he was a better person.  But then after her passing he reverts right back to the person he was before meeting her.  I also hope by the end of the book we find out what has made him such a hardened man.

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

Could someone please help me out with the steps to take to reply to what someone has written.  I've tried twice unsuccessfully so I'm niot doing something right.  I would really appreciate the help.  Thanks

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

 


Madgy wrote:

Could someone please help me out with the steps to take to reply to what someone has written.  I've tried twice unsuccessfully so I'm niot doing something right.  I would really appreciate the help.  Thanks


Click the reply in the post you are replying to then when the box comes up click Quote in the upper right corner in the green box. 

 

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


Tarri wrote:

 


Madgy wrote:

Could someone please help me out with the steps to take to reply to what someone has written.  I've tried twice unsuccessfully so I'm niot doing something right.  I would really appreciate the help.  Thanks


Click the reply in the post you are replying to then when the box comes up click Quote in the upper right corner in the green box. 

 


Got it!    Thank you so much!!!!
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Sunltcloud
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

Madgy,

if you click on "reply" below the post, you get to another screen where you can type in your answer. You also have the choice to "quote" the other person's post by clicking on "quote" above to the right of the screen you type into. When you are done, click post at the bottom of the screen.

You have to be signed in to reply to a post otherwise the reply button will not show.

I hope this helps.

 


Madgy wrote:

I completely agree with you.  We know Vaclav has the potential to change because when his wife was alive he was a better person.  But then after her passing he reverts right back to the person he was before meeting her.  I also hope by the end of the book we find out what has made him such a hardened man.


 

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


doe965 wrote:

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.


I completely agree with you.  We know he has the potential to change because when his wife was alive he was a better person.  But then after losing her he reverts right back to the person he was before meeting her.  I also hope that by the end of the book we find out what has made him such a hardened man.

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


Sunltcloud wrote:

Madgy,

if you click on "reply" below the post, you get to another screen where you can type in your answer. You also have the choice to "quote" the other person's post by clicking on "quote" above to the right of the screen you type into. When you are done, click post at the bottom of the screen.

You have to be signed in to reply to a post otherwise the reply button will not show.

I hope this helps.

 


Madgy wrote:

I completely agree with you.  We know Vaclav has the potential to change because when his wife was alive he was a better person.  But then after her passing he reverts right back to the person he was before meeting her.  I also hope by the end of the book we find out what has made him such a hardened man.


 


It did help!  Thanks so much!!

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

I'm going to respond to these now, while this section is fresh in my mind. I just finished reading it and haven't started the next section. I'm also going to give my opinion before I read anyone else's, because once I start reading, I find that someone else may have said what I thought and I never get around to posting. So, if I'm repeating what someone else said, I apologize.

 

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 horrible, I've found nothing to like in him at all. I was actually glad to hear that he died the year after the race. I think those boys would be better off with out him. I have no sympathy for him whatsoever.

 

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?

 

Yes, their priorities certainly seem to be backwards, especially in Vaclav. Karel seems to have inherited his father's attitudes, although he is a lot more personable. You don't see much of his relationship with his current family after they get to the church and his wife goes in to labor. I wanted to like him and felt sympathy for his upbringing, but it is hard to care for a person who is having sex with someone else while his wife is in painful labor.  I don't think you get a good feel for Karel's adult relationships in this section of the book. His attitudes as a teen certainly reflect his fathers.

 

Is there a relationship between the four brothers?

 

I think they have a nominal relationship in that they are together against their father, but they turned on each other rather quickly when they saw the opportunity to get out from under their father's rule.

 

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

I'm having a hard time going back and finding the exact passages, but my impression was that he imagined her as everything his father was not, and made her passionate about horses and riding just like he was.


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

 

At first I really didn't like them because they seemed to happen whenever I was just getting into the flow of the story. I'm starting to get used to them now, although I still haven't figured out why he wrote the story this way. I guess he's jumping back to show a situation that explains what is happening in Karel's current life, but I haven't been able to tie all that together in my brain, so I'm not sure if I'm wrong about that or if it just isn't working.

 


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? 


This didn't surprise me at all. It's all Karel knows from the way he was raised. He has no sense of perspective or self-worth above what he can do when he's on a horse, so it is understandable that he would assign more value to a horse than a human. It certainly follows based on the way that he was raised.

 

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

I don't want to seem as though I am defending Vaclav, I'm just tryIng to understand. During this time period, it was typical for the man to work the fields and the woman to care for the house and children. Often during this time widowers would remarry to give the children a mother and to have someone cars for him and the home. Vaclav loved Klara too much to remarry. Because he didn't remarry, there was no one to provide the softer side of life. She was the one to nurse them when they were sick, she would have stopped the kids from being used as work animals, she would have given sweets and hugs after a spare the rod beating. Vaclav was a single father, with no idea how to raise children or show the softer side of life.
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wendyroba
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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 felt almost no sympathy for Vaclav...actually, it is not the death of Klara that turns him bitter...Machart actually tells the reader that Vaclav only returns to the man he was BEFORE he met Klara...so here we have a man who is clearly cruel and cold, who softened when he was with the woman he loved...but when she dies, he becomes once again cruel and cold. The abuse he heaped on his kids (and also the animals who served his needs) is not really forgiveable.

 

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

 

Karel longs for tender touch, for love...he gets none of that from his father...so he fantasizes about his mother and what his life would have been like had she not died.

 

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

 

This was one of my favorite aspects of the book - I loved how Machart goes back and forth between the time periods, building not only the story, but the reader's understanding of the characters. For me, this technique added new and complex layers to the novel.

 

 

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PinkPanther
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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? 

 

I believe that Karel sees the horses as precious beings and himself and his brothers as hard workers. Men are suposed to be breaking their backs working, and that is the only way they will be considered men. Vaclav has never made any of his horses plow a single thing on their land, and Karel and his brothers grew up seeing this, and have been left with the mentality that the men work while the horses are forbidden to work. The horses are the ones who have won Vaclav his land, and therefore, he will not risk that one of them be injured and never be able to compete again.

 

When a horse breaks a leg, it is most likely put to sleep. This is done because there is only a 50% chance of survival if the horse goes through leg surgery to attempt to fix the broken leg. Back then they did not perform horse leg surgery, and Vaclav wouldnt have been able to afford it anyway. If any of his sons would beak one of their bones, they would be healed in about 2 months and be able to get back to work. Vaclav basically saw his children as his employees and his horses as his pride and joy.

"I ought, therefore I can"
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PiperMurphy
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)


ToniWI wrote:
I don't want to seem as though I am defending Vaclav, I'm just tryIng to understand. During this time period, it was typical for the man to work the fields and the woman to care for the house and children. Often during this time widowers would remarry to give the children a mother and to have someone cars for him and the home. Vaclav loved Klara too much to remarry. Because he didn't remarry, there was no one to provide the softer side of life. She was the one to nurse them when they were sick, she would have stopped the kids from being used as work animals, she would have given sweets and hugs after a spare the rod beating. Vaclav was a single father, with no idea how to raise children or show the softer side of life.

Toni, I agree with you. So far we don't know how Vaclav raised his children, whether he had help or did it totally on his own. Somehow Karel learned to be a fairly decent person. He's married with a family that he loves despite his other faults. He had to learn that behavior from someone. Vaclav was harsh and abusive, but I think that he may have favored Karel because Karel was his last link to Klara. Karel became the person Vaclav might have been if Klara had lived.

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

Good Afternoon Everyone,

 

  While I understand what the author is trying to do with the switching back and forth with the time periods, I found the first section a little hard to follow.  Some sections I felt as though the characters weren't speaking to me, but that I was being told what to think and how to feel.  The sections or chapters where there was dialogue between the characters, is where I felt that I was getting to know the characters. 

  As yet, I have not found a favorite character.  Each of them appears to be wrapped up in their own self desires and individual lives.  When the towns people encounter what they perceive to be a winner, they are quick to rush to that side, but as soon as the usual winners, lose, (Karel and the race he losses), now that family is shunned.  The fight scene at the end of the first section continues to show the violence which appears to be commonplace. 

  While I am sounding negative here, I do have some areas where there appears to be some softening of the human side of these characters.  The example I can use here is when Karel is on the floor playing with his children.  That section showed me that at least Karel may have a tender side to explore.  If now we can get him to be faithful to his wife, maybe there will be hope for him.

 

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
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ts14no1fan
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Early Chapters until "Meander Scars," (p.132)

I have to say I am having a hard time getting into the book and enjoying what I am reading. From the preview, it looked like something I would truly enjoy, but now that I am reading it, I find myself struggling to continue reading and not go find something else to do.

 

The character of Vaclav is an evil, mean, abusive man and is very hard to read about. They way he treats his family is just abhorrent. It seems that he is taking his wife's death out on his sons and abuses them by harnessing them to the plow and forcing them to be animals.

 

Karel is very much a product of the abuse he has endured. As a result he treats others the way he has been treated. He knows nothing else. He seems to maybe care for his wife, but is unable to truly express his feelings as he has never been taught how to love someone. Is it possible he is pining for Graciela? Perhaps. He treats his wife as a piece of property most times.

 

I do realize in the time period in which the book is set, familial relationships were much different than they are now. I still don't think that gives Vaclav license to abuse his sons and treat them like property.

 

I will try to continue reading the book, but like I say it is very hard for me to concentrate on and enjoy at all.