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Rachel-K
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Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

Okay, you had the best of intentions and were going to follow our schedule to the page. A week later, you've pulled an all-nighter, finished the book, obsessed about the characters, barely gotten yourself to work the next morning, AND you've been biting your tongue for the rest of the week waiting for the group to catch up.

 

Go ahead and post thoughts and questions for the group here! Please remember to keep the spoilers here--not even in Bruce or Adrienne's threads for now!

 

This is an all spoiler zone--don't peek into this thread unless you've finished the book!

CAG
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CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I did read it all and I'm not sorry. I loved this book, the beginning, the middle and the end. I liked the characters, the setting, the language and the story itself. Most important for me, I thought the ending was perfect. In particular, I liked the following passage which I felt summed up the main theme of the story so well. Karel is riding the horse back to his brother's ranch.

 

Pg. 304 - "He gathers the horse's lead and puts a foot in the stirrup, wondering just how in the hell a man is supposed to go about asking the dead to forgive him for ever finding comfort at another woman's breast. Or for going on living at all when she could not. Or for doing his father's delirious bidding and leaving him to die in the mud alone. Or for leaving their children so long at odds with one another in the world.

                 And then he wonders if he's just done it, if it could be that simple."

 

I just thought that was perfect. My question is what do others think of the ending of this fine novel.

CAG
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coffee_luvr
Posts: 171
Registered: ‎10-29-2009

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

This was a fabulous read for me.  I loved the writing style, the use of words, the story of heartbreak and what I see as ultimately a level of forgiveness.

On pg. 300, a passage really spoke to me.....

 

He lived on it, was riding toward it. He had seen it in the labored, moonlit frown of his sleeping son's face, and now, when he brought the filly up short and sat there beneath the overhang of the trees, the past comes to meet the present, the connection between the two no less certain than the tethers strung taut through time between a man's father and son.

 

The emotion this passage evokes and then the following flash back where Karel finds his father in the mud dying was very moving to me. 

Wow, just really fantastic writing from this reader's perspective.  I will be recommending the book to many others.

 

Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara Tuchman
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salander_9277
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Registered: ‎07-07-2010

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I read it all.  And you're right, I'm not sorry.  I think in a way, breaking up this story is an unintentional disruption to the poetic path this delicious prose leads the reader on.  I couldn't in good conscience stop following the pied piper so to speak.

 

This story was magical for me.  Not because it painted a pretty happy picture, but because it didn't.  It was real and honest and didn't try and make me "feel good" but rather just made me feel.  The imagery was breathtaking and I think Machart is a master of the written word.  The ending description of the woman's milk let-down was masterful, brilliant and I can't even begin to know how someone who never felt it could describe it so succinctly!  Kudos!

 

The time hopping, albeit a bit choppy for me in a similarity to rechecking a map to assure my travels are on track, was refreshing to me.  I felt like each section gave me a little more understanding of the characters until the picture was whole.

 

I definitely am a fan and will be watching for future books, Mr. Machart.

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. ~W. Somerset Maugham

http://greatexpectationsbookreview.blogspot.com
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wendyroba
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I actually finished the book a couple of weeks ago - I loved it all, am definitely NOT sorry I read it and hope to see more from Machart in the future. Unlike many readers, I did not find the time switches difficult or awkward - I found them interesting and they helped me to gain a different perspective of the characters. I also loved the beautiful, almost poetic, prose...I had so many passages flagged that my book looked like it could take flight!

 

Here is my review.

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Deltadawn
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

That passage resonated with me, too. I just finished up the book this morning.

 

I agree this is an amazing novel - I loved it too. 

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Deltadawn
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

This was another passage that I had earmarked. What beautiful, evocative language, and what a moving story.

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Peppermill
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

[ Edited ]

 


wendyroba wrote [excerpt]:

 

Here is my review.


 

Delightful site!  Thank you for calling it to our attention.

 

Pepper

 

PS -- hope you eventually make your profile here at B&N public.  Sounds like it would probably be one I'd enjoy following!

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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BookBobBP
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I just finished this book on my break.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved how at the end the author brings us back to the begining of the story.  I love how Sophie tells Karel when you look at our son don't look at me.  Look at him as an individual. Sophie new the whole problem with Karel father is everytime he looked at his boys he thought of his dead wife and it brought him pain and he took it out on those boys.  I love how the author described them riding home in the truck and how the family was all cuddle together.  This story was so rich.  Here is a wonderful passage at the end of the book.  pg 299

 

"Karel stood over the bassinet where, in the sliver moonlinght the child lay with his face pinched up and a fist at his mouth as if he were conscious, even in slumber, of his mohter's distance from him. There was something familiar and unsettling in the seriousness of the boy's expression, and Karel couldn't help himself, He reached down and flattened a hand on the boy's chest, felt the faint fluttering and rise and  fall of his breathing, and then before he turned to the awaiting labor of a day not yet fully made, he traceda finger over the little furrows creased into  the tender skin of the boy's fine neck.

 

As a father this brings back so many memories to me of when my children were young and watching them sleep and just wondering in amazement of the little life that you are so responsilbe for a time and how you can shap it as a parent. 

 

Karel is taking a different path than his father thought it is hard for him. 

Melissa_W
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

Haha, this is me - except I read it all the weekend before the group started so I've been waiting TWO weeks to talk about it because I can't remember when certain things happen in the book.

 

Oy.

 

I find it interesting that Vaclav's tables are turned on him during the race against Villasenor - he had Karel cheat (probably multiple times) to attain his ends, why would he so shocked Villasenor would do something similar?  Vaclav got a taste of his own medicine.

 

There is something very "Old World aristocracy" lurking in the shadows of the Villasenor-Skala marriages.  Arranged, meet-today-marry-tomorrow, power consolidation.

 

Nearly everyone must forgive someone else in this novel:  Karel must forgive his father, brothers, and Graciela, Vaclav must forgive Karel and Klara, the three older brothers must forgive Karel, Villasenor must forgive his wife (obv, he doesn't), and Karel must forgive himself. (Not sure who the twins have to forgive....)

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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BookWoman718
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)


Melissa_W wrote:

Haha, this is me - except I read it all the weekend before the group started so I've been waiting TWO weeks to talk about it because I can't remember when certain things happen in the book.

 

Oy.

 

 

Nearly everyone must forgive someone else in this novel:  Karel must forgive his father, brothers, and Graciela, Vaclav must forgive Karel and Klara, the three older brothers must forgive Karel, Villasenor must forgive his wife (obv, he doesn't), and Karel must forgive himself. (Not sure who the twins have to forgive....)


Melissa, I know just what you mean about posting.  I finished the book ahead of schedule, too, and have been trying to be careful to post only when I see that someone else has broached a subject.  The back-and-forth-in-time style didn't bother me, but it made it hard to remember exactly where you READ about an event, as opposed to where you set up a chronological order in your head.  Some of the things we learn about Karel as a teen aren't revealed until late in the book...  

 

I'm interested in the way you say that "everyone MUST forgive someone else..."   Do you mean to imply that the forgiveness is inevitable (as in "you MUST blink" eventually, whether you want to or not)   Or do you mean that everyone has suffered some injury and thus has someone that they should forgive if the relationship is to continue?   I see forgiveness as a choice, although obviously, even for one's own peace of mind, it is usually better to forgive than to hold the injury close.   That's why someone must 'beg forgiveness' for instance.   If you've injured someone, you don't automatically get it.  Getting forgiveness often requires asking forgiveness (admitting you were wrong), making amends, and offering restitution.   Does Vaclav need to 'forgive' Karel for being born because his mother died in childbirth?  No, to the contrary, placing blame on the child is one more injurious thing Vaclav does to Karel, and his stubborn blindness to the multiple ways he is hurting his sons make him near unforgiveable himself.  (and I don't much care if he had a rough childhood himself;  that doesn't give him license to grow up and do monstrous things.) 

 

There is so much betrayal and brutality, (and all the other misdeeds I've mentioned in previous posts), that this whole family and community is in need of a Mandela-style Reconciliation Miracle, but for that to happen, the miscreants are supposed to own up to their sins.  We don't see a lot of that in this crowd.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I think the title means.

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wendyroba
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

 


Peppermill wrote:

 


wendyroba wrote [excerpt]:

 

Here is my review.


 

Delightful site!  Thank you for calling it to our attention.

 

Pepper

 

PS -- hope you eventually make your profile here at B&N public.  Sounds like it would probably be one I'd enjoy following!


Thanks, Pepper! I guess I didn't realize that my profile was NOT public...*laughs* I'll remedy that soon.

 

Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

As I completed the first section of reading, I was absorbed in both the story and the prose style.  I didn’t want to break up my reading for fear of not “getting” the book.  Much of it is very subtle and requires a careful reading.  I felt immersed in the time and place.  Bruce’s use of language is outstanding. 

 

I eagerly read into the second section of reading.  Unfortunately, I hit a snag --- The Blind Janus.  I struggled to get through this section of reading.  I kept wondering who these twins were and why they were so hell bent on causing trouble.  I repeatedly went back to earlier sections of reading to find something I had missed, but without success.  I didn’t feel like I was in the scenes, like I did in earlier sections, nor did I feel the sense of tension that the earlier parts of the book had.  I was bored with the storyline in the section (I don’t like Westerns and hated the movie Unforgiven), but pushed through, hoping that once I finished The Blind Janus, the book would return to the book I was enjoying for the first 143 pages.

 

Luckily, the sections that ended the book were also wonderful.  I loved how everything tied together and was resolved.  However, I found myself wishing that the middle section of the book, where the twins cause trouble, could have been reduced to 15 pages.  Did we really need to know all the details about exactly what they did?  I don’t feel like I did.  Did anyone else notice anything like I am describing, or did I truly miss something?

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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mommybooknerd
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I was starting the book with the thought that I would maybe not like it and that I could easily keep up with the schedule.  That was not the case.  I read first few paragraphs and then finished it in 2 days.  I started to highlight and make notes, but then got taken away by the story and I did not want to interrupt the beautiful flow to the book.  It was a favorite of mine.  I will tell others to go on the great adventure with this family and tell them to be prepared to moved in a way that can only be described by those that read it.  Pure genius!

You are the author of your own life story.
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sdonahue
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

Finally! I finished the book a couple of weeks ago and I haven't posted anything because I was afraid I would let something slip out and spoil it  for someone else!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'm not sorry I finished it, either! I was able to finish it in two days. However, I did find myself having to flip back to the beginning of chapters to check dates..often. Other than that, the book was beautifully written.

 

None of the characters were very likable people to me. I've read some other posts how they liked Karel. Karel lost all credibility with me during his infidelity, while his wife was giving birth. Any feeling I had for Karel was lost at that point and never regained.

 

I did sympathize with things that had happened to Karel and his father, however, they seemed callous, selfish characters to me.

 

I do feel history will not repeat itself between Karel and Frank, but I do wish the author would have given us a little peek when Frank was older to confirm that feeling.

 

I know it was probably not consistent with the times, but I wish Karel's infidelity was brought to light more than just the proverbial elephant in the room at the end of the book.

 

Overall, I didn't want to put this one down until the end! I hope to see more from this author in the future!

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MissJ4
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I wasn't totally sure if I was going to like this book when I started it.  It seemed somewhat depressing but as I read I found I couldn't put it down and ended up really liking it.  I think the writing was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Melissa_W
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

yeah, that was more like what I was getting at - maybe I shouldn't have used must, rather "needs" forgive instead.  Pretty nasty things were done to people because forgiveness was needed and not extended or asked for.  Some of the characters, like Vaclav, need to ask for forgiveness and they won't do it (maybe, they feel it's admitting weakness?)

 

I think that happens to Karel.  After he learns of the twins' misdeeds and the fire at his brother's, he realises that family is more than just the milk you drank as a child (it took me a while to get that reference).  The simple gesture of going to his brother's both extends for forgiveness and asks for forgiveness.

 


BookWoman718 wrote:

 

I'm interested in the way you say that "everyone MUST forgive someone else..."   Do you mean to imply that the forgiveness is inevitable (as in "you MUST blink" eventually, whether you want to or not)   Or do you mean that everyone has suffered some injury and thus has someone that they should forgive if the relationship is to continue?   I see forgiveness as a choice, although obviously, even for one's own peace of mind, it is usually better to forgive than to hold the injury close.   That's why someone must 'beg forgiveness' for instance.   If you've injured someone, you don't automatically get it.  Getting forgiveness often requires asking forgiveness (admitting you were wrong), making amends, and offering restitution.   Does Vaclav need to 'forgive' Karel for being born because his mother died in childbirth?  No, to the contrary, placing blame on the child is one more injurious thing Vaclav does to Karel, and his stubborn blindness to the multiple ways he is hurting his sons make him near unforgiveable himself.  (and I don't much care if he had a rough childhood himself;  that doesn't give him license to grow up and do monstrous things.) 

 

There is so much betrayal and brutality, (and all the other misdeeds I've mentioned in previous posts), that this whole family and community is in need of a Mandela-style Reconciliation Miracle, but for that to happen, the miscreants are supposed to own up to their sins.  We don't see a lot of that in this crowd.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I think the title means.


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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LittlePig
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

  Finished the book several weeks ago! It was a wonderful read; one I would not have indulged in without the Book Club as impetus.  Such a hard and brutal family!  Yet at the end, the brothers seem to be ready and willing to be brothers to Karel again.  And Karel is so ready to love his new son!  You get the feeling that he wants to give his son all that he wished he had gotten from his own father.  And he seems to love his daughters, too. 

  But the ending seems quite cruel.  The woman who nursed him as an infant later gives birth to the twins who almost destroy Karel's family in the end.  It is a very wicked twist of fate.  The twins are almost superficial to the story until you realize that their actions are bringing everything to a head.

  I almost wished for another chapter to wrap things up in the future.  Will Karel learn to love Sophie?  Will he and his brothers form a real family?  Will he nurture his children so that they grow up full of love and hope?  Or is all that just wishful thinking?

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lrloveless71
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

I loved this book and found myself wrapped up in the charecters, the setting and really enjoyd the writing style of the book. I also plowed right thru eager to see how the story would unfold. I also wish to know more about the progression. How do Karel and Sofie grow and will he become part of his brothers lives and family? Is he a better father to his daughters and his son? Is he able to close the book on Graciela and his feeling about their past?

 

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Peppermill
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: I read it all and I'm not sorry! (SPOILER THREAD)

Finished TWoF this afternoon.  Good read, challenging story.  The story really needs this final section.  Not certain the book "serializes" well, although I stayed with the reading schedule much more closely than I normally do.  Somehow, the pace of reading -- with the back and forth of the time periods and the long sentences that called for parsing -- never pulled me into a must-sit-and-read-this-now mode, as some books do.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy