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vpenning
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


Deltadawn wrote:

I  love that thought, flouncyninja - esp. the part about Karel being a blend of the twins!

 

 


Agreed. Very insightful.

 

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mommybooknerd
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)


CAG wrote:

I just wanted to make a comment about several readers finding the "vivid descriptions" in this story as somewhat overwhelming. I do respect that opinion but for me those "vivid descriptions" are what made the book seem so real to me both in the first and second sections. I like my books to feel real, the characters, the settings etc. The descriptions are what made me see Bruce Machart as a talented writer. I am interested in what anyone else has to say and how the descriptions add or take away from this story as far as others are concerned. The differing opinions are what makes these discussions so interesting to me.


I agree with you 100%...I need to feel everything the characters feel...in this book you can feel the emotions, the weather and the setting.  It is like you are there with them, part of the community and seeing the moments happen right in front of your eyes.  It is true brilliance!

Emily

You are the author of your own life story.
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)


CAG wrote:

I just wanted to make a comment about several readers finding the "vivid descriptions" in this story as somewhat overwhelming. I do respect that opinion but for me those "vivid descriptions" are what made the book seem so real to me both in the first and second sections. I like my books to feel real, the characters, the settings etc. The descriptions are what made me see Bruce Machart as a talented writer. I am interested in what anyone else has to say and how the descriptions add or take away from this story as far as others are concerned. The differing opinions are what makes these discussions so interesting to me.


You're so right, these discussions are fascinating.   For me,  I have found parts of this book,,, well, unsettling?  in that the beauty of the descriptive language, the serenity and wisdom of the omniscient observer,  and the complexity of the thoughts attributed to various characters, especially young Karel, just seemed incongruent with the harshness and brutality of the plot.  (as if someone wrote a beautiful poem about a rape)  With that, my reaction to the later 'vivid descriptions' of unpalatable subject matter was almost one of relief.  The descriptive talent was being used to evoke the same sense of revulsion that the story line itself did.  Very effectively.  The half-born calf seemed entirely believable, and yet I'm sure it's a death image that I've never conjured before, despite my many readings about the bloody births of animals.    

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Bonnie_C
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

Vaclav's reaction to the ruining of Klara's picture was as if she died all over again.  The fact that the man held on to this picture and grieved over it's loss tells me that he truly loved Klara,and it was not just a marriage of convenience.  In the absence of Klara, he cherishes her belongings.

 

I still don't think we have the complete picture of what made Vaclav turn from a stern but caring man into someone who put his sons into a plow yoke.  Maybe in the 3rd part of the book.

 

Bonnie

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nfam
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

I think Karel, who never experience a real mother feels very torn in these chapters. He doesn't quite know how to respond to Sophie and his much wanted son, so he leaves. Seeing what a father and son can do, he suddenly realizes what an opportunity he has. He returns much to the delight of his family.

 

The twins are part of Karel's problem with mother. The twins mother apparently was his wet nurse, the twins several times refer to the fact that they are more than brothers because of their mother's connection to Karel. Obviously Karel feels very strongly about family ties, particularly the mother related ties. Therefore, he hired the twins even knowing they'd be trouble.

 

The scene with the children shows us another side of Vaclav. He apparently tried to be a good father, but was so hurt by the death of his wife that he found it difficult. Raising children is no picnic, particularly four boys. Unable to show them love, he showed them his bitter hurt side.

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coffee_luvr
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


CAG wrote:

I just wanted to make a comment about several readers finding the "vivid descriptions" in this story as somewhat overwhelming. I do respect that opinion but for me those "vivid descriptions" are what made the book seem so real to me both in the first and second sections. I like my books to feel real, the characters, the settings etc. The descriptions are what made me see Bruce Machart as a talented writer. I am interested in what anyone else has to say and how the descriptions add or take away from this story as far as others are concerned. The differing opinions are what makes these discussions so interesting to me.


 

CAG-

Like you, the vivid descriptions are what made the story become real for me.  I could easily "see" so much of the scenery, the characters, the horses, etc.  Bruce's writing style is so interesting to me.  I am not a writer and never could be, but when I read a work where the author can put words together in such a descriptive way and I find so many sections to underline and ponder, that to me is a gift.     

Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara Tuchman
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coffee_luvr
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


coffee_luvr wrote:

 


Rachel-K wrote:

We open with our only childhood scene so far after the first pages of the novel. Does Vaclav become more "human" for us, if not more humane, toward his boys? We get, for example, an image of Vaclav making breakfast for the young boys and watching them eat, warning them to be careful with their mother's dishes. How does such a scene fit with the man who would put yokes on his sons for plowing? 

Yes, I did feel that the Vaclav's character took on more humane characteristics at this point.  I couldn't help but feel that he probably was reminded of his loss every time he looked at Karel and the things she used to touch became so important to him.  That was a rare look inside this character. 

I don't know how to reconcile this with the fact that he used his boys to pull a plow rather than his horses.  That is just really, really tough! 

 

Why does Karel turn his truck around after watching a boy and his father hunt along the roadside?

I thought he turned around to watch this because it represented what he wished he had both with his father and now just maybe, he could have it as a father to his own son.  An opportunity to possibly change the cycle. 

 


 

I was reading these questions again and realized I kindof missed the point of the above question about Karel turning his truck around........I was thinking along the lines of why did he stop and pull over and watch the father and son, but really the question was why does he go back to town after watching the hunting episode with the father and son? 

So, as others have posted, I too think Karel went back to be with his wife and family because he realized he had an opportunity to be a father to his own son and that he needed to start off that relationship right by being there with his new baby boy and his wife and daughters.

Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara Tuchman
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JerseyAngel
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


Bonnie_C wrote:

Vaclav's reaction to the ruining of Klara's picture was as if she died all over again.  The fact that the man held on to this picture and grieved over it's loss tells me that he truly loved Klara,and it was not just a marriage of convenience.  In the absence of Klara, he cherishes her belongings.

 

I still don't think we have the complete picture of what made Vaclav turn from a stern but caring man into someone who put his sons into a plow yoke.  Maybe in the 3rd part of the book.

 

Bonnie


 

I agree Bonnie. It's also mentioned that after the photo was ruined Vaclav became very protective of Klara's things, like her dishes and even a bud vase. I think this shows a very close loving bond and how hard it is for him to let go of her. It also shows us the love his is capable of. We also see him as a stern father but not the cruel one he later becomes so I'm interested to find out when this switch occurs & why.

 

Stephanie

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JerseyAngel
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

I have to say I found the middle chapters a little more enjoyable. I definately see a different side to Karel. I like that he turned around after watching the father & son in the field & how he lingered & watched his wife introduce the new baby to his other children. How sensitive he was to his wife. There's also the moment when he returns home to find the cow dead with the calf half born & also dead. At first I found this moment horrible but when I read his reaction, how it made him think of his mother giving birth to him & the emotional reaction he had to this, I understood. Even after all of these years, he still have such deep rooted emotions about his mother dying while giving birth to him. It definately gave a different view of Karel.

 

I'm not sure I really understand the twins. I do understand that they were nursed by the same woman, both raised by abusive fathers. However, the twins seem to have a bad streak. Raymond does at least. Joe seems to the be the more submissive one that follows Ray's lead. I found the stable fire disturbing but am interested to see what will happen to the twins.

 

Overall, Karel has become more likeable for me. His worst fault is being unfaithful. Unfortunately, I think this may be more common in that time. As much as we would all like to think they were all rugged cowboys on the outside but sincere, loving men who would never cheat on the inside, I don't think that was really how it was back then. Especially with there being no real consequences. Karel hasn't shown to be abusive so far, he takes care of & protects his family, and he has a lot of issues going on in his head from his past as well as an apparant total disconnection from his brothers. I like getting to know him better, good or bad.

 

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JerseyAngel
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

In general response to the various posts about the descriptions & wordiness, I have to admit, I get bored sometimes. I tend to become more involved when there is interaction between characters. Don't get me wrong, I love to get a good description, especially when the story takes place in a time we've never experienced. But sometimes it just seems to drag on too much for me.

 

The one thing I do enjoy are the descriptions of Karel. The way it's described how he will let his cigarette hang from his lips, how he situates his hat, or stands, etc is very real. I get a very clear picture of him in my head, not just physically, but it gives him personality just from these descriptions. Almost as if you were getting to know him just from his body language depending on the situation he is in.

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krb2g
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

I was really moved by the scene where Karel inadvertently destroys the picture of Klara. It was a more forceful reminder than Vaclav's own assessment of himself (something like Klara was the only thing that softened him, rather than her death hardening him) that he had loved her so much. 

 

I found the twins a little hard to follow--I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that they were untrustworthy, but I still don't know if I quite follow the logic of their journey.

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Rachel-K
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

Love so many of the observations in this thread!

 

Writing this visceral and complex can be demanding. "Unsettling" is a great word for it. Maybe it's especially surprising for those of us who read a lot and read quickly? You get used to flying through pages. And here we are, reading over the cereal bowl, or with a radio or television on--and get hit by pages that actually make us stop whatever else is happening because we need to give it our whole attention.

 

I'm interested in your comment about the later pages, Bookwoman. Just to clarify, I think you are saying that you find the emotional quality of the later pages more congruent with the events described so closely?

 

Or, are you saying that as we read further, we learn to brace ourselves to look closely at these brutal moments?

 

Is it because Karel's response feels similar to yours (or ours/the readers)? What do you make of the "vision" he has when he sees the cow and calf?

 

Something I found extraordinary about this passage was that all of Karel's dreamed-up images of his mother to this point have been so comforting.

 


BookWoman718 wrote:

CAG wrote:

I just wanted to make a comment about several readers finding the "vivid descriptions" in this story as somewhat overwhelming. I do respect that opinion but for me those "vivid descriptions" are what made the book seem so real to me both in the first and second sections. I like my books to feel real, the characters, the settings etc. The descriptions are what made me see Bruce Machart as a talented writer. I am interested in what anyone else has to say and how the descriptions add or take away from this story as far as others are concerned. The differing opinions are what makes these discussions so interesting to me.


You're so right, these discussions are fascinating.   For me,  I have found parts of this book,,, well, unsettling?  in that the beauty of the descriptive language, the serenity and wisdom of the omniscient observer,  and the complexity of the thoughts attributed to various characters, especially young Karel, just seemed incongruent with the harshness and brutality of the plot.  (as if someone wrote a beautiful poem about a rape)  With that, my reaction to the later 'vivid descriptions' of unpalatable subject matter was almost one of relief.  The descriptive talent was being used to evoke the same sense of revulsion that the story line itself did.  Very effectively.  The half-born calf seemed entirely believable, and yet I'm sure it's a death image that I've never conjured before, despite my many readings about the bloody births of animals.    


 

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BookBobBP
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

Karel and Sophie are in love.  Karel wants to be a good father and husband but he was never shown how.  I think seeing the boy and father hunting Karl sees something he want desperately and turning around he goes back hoping for somthing similar.  Karel feel abandoned by both his mother and Gracielia.  I think he is afraid being alone that is why he retains his mistress if something happens to his wife he still has a woman in his life.

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

Complex as we might perceive him today,abusive as he is,His rage outweighs for me,any loving or caring moment he  seems to have towards his sons.. Karel is a dreamer,a sensitive and loving man..Just seeing the father and son together,must've brought tears to eyes,in my world,so turning around ,going home,he wants to be all he never knew a Father could be,loving,proud ..That particular scene was so outstanding.   Sophie and Karel are very much in love,she has never seen a side to Karel,that might exist somewhere deep down inside of him,he has only shown her tenderness and love,including his own Daughters..There is no fear of him in his house....The twins will have another post from me...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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mv5ocean
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)


 

 

 

Why does Karel turn his truck around after watching a boy and his father hunt along the roadside?

That was an eye opener for him in that you can continue to mess things up or you can stop right this instant and go back and be the father and husband that you should be.  I think it gave him pause to think that it's never too late.

 

What does Sophie's teasing of him tell us about their relationship?

It shows that they did have an easy and comfortable relationship.  They do obviously care for each other even though there are definitely flaws in the marriage, they know each other well and do have feelings for that person.

 

 


 

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wendyroba
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

The part of this section which was most interesting to me was the structure and how it gave insight into Karel's viewpoint re: his mother.

 

First the structure: Karel hires the twins and then discovers (via a conversation with a gas attendent) that they have apparently stolen his truck and trailer...he assumes they have done this based on the information he has...and as a reader, we also assume this. As the section unfolds, back and forth between Karel's viewpoint and the twins, we learn that all is not exactly as it first seemed. To me this is excellent writing - tension and suspense, the uncovering of motive, and a revealing of the truth. I think this part of the book related on many levels to the whole theme of the book...after all, many of the characters are not wholly what they seem at first.

 

Re: insight into Karel and how he views his mother - or perhaps I should say, how he views mothering - he chose the twins because he felt on some level they were like brothers. Their mother had, in fact, nursed Karel when his mother died. Much is made of this in the book - that he shared a breast with the twins, that the twins mother lost a child and then became a wet nurse to Karel. I think on some level, Karel feels a connection with the twins that goes beyond just growing up in the same town with them - he feels he can trust them, and I think he also relates to the fact they they too are motherless.

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flouncyninja
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


LadyMin wrote:

 

Oh yes, I definitely have to agree with you here. Too vivid in what I would call some of the more ... ummm... icky moments. The cow, the tobacco, and the one that got me, the description of the smell of Elizka the next morning. Unfortunately for me I was reading that part while enjoying my breakfast. 

 

Oh yes!  I think I purposefully forgot about that description.  It still makes me feel gross.  It's a sign of good descriptive writing that it has such an effect, but still... ick.

 

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flouncyninja
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)

 


CAG wrote:

I just wanted to make a comment about several readers finding the "vivid descriptions" in this story as somewhat overwhelming. I do respect that opinion but for me those "vivid descriptions" are what made the book seem so real to me both in the first and second sections. I like my books to feel real, the characters, the settings etc. The descriptions are what made me see Bruce Machart as a talented writer. I am interested in what anyone else has to say and how the descriptions add or take away from this story as far as others are concerned. The differing opinions are what makes these discussions so interesting to me.


I completely agree that Bruce Machart is an incredible writer to create such vivid descriptions that they leave me feeling a bit ill inside.  That doesn't happen with bad writing.  I guess this novel is just a little too far outside my comfort zone in the sense of the cruder aspects of his characters' daily lives.  It's a very real world with real characters; perhaps I'm just a little too sensitive to spend my free time immersed in that world for too long, so I've found in this second section that it's taken away from my enjoyment of the plot at times.  But that's all on me, not the author.

 

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literature
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

maxcat wrote:

 

Why did Karel hire the twins, Joe and Raymond? Why did he feel some affinity for the boys? How do you compare their characters with Karel's now that we've seen them in action? 

 

Karel hired Joe and Raymond to carry his beer to specific places that he had dealings with. Compared to Karel, these two boys are young and reckless. Joe gets some birdshot in his shoulder and then Raymond spills beer all over a saloon's floor. He also sets fire to Karel's barn. Joe is a follower while Raymond does the action.


I believe it's Thom's barn. Karel only has work horses, though in his heart he would love to have horses like the ones his brother breeds.

 

I think, in their own way, the twins are trying to make "daddy proud". I honestly don't believe they have any ill intentions in regards to Karel. They want to go above and beyond what he told them to do (they did even mention regretting not getting the dead cow and calf out of the pasture so Karel wouldn't have to deal with it) in the hopes of earning his praise and respect.

 

I don't believe that it has crossed their minds at all that what they are doing is going to get them killed and make Karel's life even more difficult since he'll be the one who is held responsible for their actions. At this point they are in way over their heads and the hole they dug is too deep to get out of. It will be a vicious spiral until one or both of them is dead.


It is Thom's barn that was set ablaze; the Philly belonging to Graciela.

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JaneM
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Middle Chapters to "Testaments to Seed," (p.212)


JerseyAngel wrote:

 


Bonnie_C wrote:

Vaclav's reaction to the ruining of Klara's picture was as if she died all over again.  The fact that the man held on to this picture and grieved over it's loss tells me that he truly loved Klara,and it was not just a marriage of convenience.  In the absence of Klara, he cherishes her belongings.

 

I still don't think we have the complete picture of what made Vaclav turn from a stern but caring man into someone who put his sons into a plow yoke.  Maybe in the 3rd part of the book.

 

Bonnie


 

I agree Bonnie. It's also mentioned that after the photo was ruined Vaclav became very protective of Klara's things, like her dishes and even a bud vase. I think this shows a very close loving bond and how hard it is for him to let go of her. It also shows us the love his is capable of. We also see him as a stern father but not the cruel one he later becomes so I'm interested to find out when this switch occurs & why.

 

Stephanie


I concur.  We still don't know enough about Vaclav to understand and possibly come to forgiveness.  I hope this is illuminated in Part 3, and my guess is that it will be the result of something far crueler that happened to him than what we have been exposed to so far.  I don't think her death and destruction of the picture is sufficient motivation for this dramatic change.

Jane M.