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thecatsmeowAM
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎08-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

We get a much closer look at Piet Hoffmann in the brief days that make up Part Two of Three Seconds. What do we learn about him? Have your ideas about him changed or solidified?

 

--I was sick to my stomach reading some of it.  The way he brought his children around his "world" like that, and they were ill no less.  At the same time, I hope there is a decent outcome for him, for his family's sake.  But right now, I don't like Piet very much at all. 

 

We get a very detailed description of the progress of Piet's methodical action, without being given any explanations of what he's up to. Even when we "hear" his thinking, we get only small cryptic thoughts without knowing how to interpret them. What happens to the pace and the tension in the novel in these pages? 

 

--I like that the author is keeping up the suspence about the poetry and flowers, while at the same time giving minute details about his process.  I really liked the details in what he did all day to set things up and get ready for going into prison. 

 

Can you discern any of the intention of Piet's careful planning in these chapters?

 

--we learn that he will be requesting those books from the library and will then have access to a gun.  I am unsure of the flower part.  It sounds like he is planning a delivery of the flowers to someone important within the prison.  And I am still wondering about the microphone at the church and who he plans to listen to.

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

 

--Erik seems to have genuine concern for Piet.  I still wonder about his past and how he became involved with Piet in the beginning.

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

 

--I still don't feel like I know Zofia well at all.  The fact she kept silent while he told all of his secrets to her, makes me wonder how much she already knew.  I think their relationship is in danger at this point.

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them?

 

--I think he was a real criminal at one point and learned how to work the system while in prison in the past.  I think being a criminal is innate to him.

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?

 

--I think the Piet they arrest is the Piet from the past.  I think Piet has tried to become a different person, but can still remember vividly his life before this.  And that makes it a part of who he is, so yes, it was the real Piet who they arrested.

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


Annalisa13 wrote:

I'm starting to wonder who the "real" Piet Hoffman really is!  Is his background as Paula completely made up or is he more like that side?  He seems to have an incredible knowledge of how to get this job done...  I wonder if that is the real piet and the one who has a family and loves and has something to live for happened all of a sudden. 

they've written a few times about him calculated the distance from the church balcony to the certain work room in the prison and I wonder what purpose that will serve!

 


Okay, so what are we talking about here in searching for the "real"?  Aren't the multiple facets of this character equally "real"?  Don't many of us want Piet to be the reformed man who takes care of his beloved family in relatively safe, legal ways?  Yet, what we encounter is a man who takes enormous risks, who is attempting to crack an evil many of us would desperately avoid approaching, who is willing to deal some drugs on the side to supplement the apparently not generous income he receives from a surreptitious fund, that he lives in a system that permits such double dealing (as does the average citizen), and that Piet is a man with an uncanny ability to assess and handle danger.

 

"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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meme1
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Registered: ‎12-17-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


high96 wrote:

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

 

Piet's elaborate plans before he entered the prison, made me wonder if he was planning to betray Erik. He said he prepared two letters that would never be sent...so...why did he prepare them? I am wondering if Erik has made an error in judgment and trusted the wrong informant!

 



 

I think he prepared them as insurance in case he doesn't make it out of the prison alive. They are for the worst-case scenario. One was to Zofia with the 950,000 kronor and the recording which would let her live comfortably and know what he was doing and that it was Government-sanctioned despite what the government may deny later; and one was to Ewert Grens. Erik had told Piet that Grens was the investigator for the murder at Vastmannagatan 79 and that

 

"..he's good. And that makes me uneasy."

"He's ...he's the sort that doesn't give up."

 

So maybe the envelope to Grens, which we know contains the recording guaranteeing his pardon and eventual relocation for going through with the operation, is Piet's way of clearing his name and exposing the Swedish government in the event that he dies or something goes wrong in prison. 


This was my understanding of Piet's preparations, too.  It's a way to resolve issues for Zofia and the investigator.

 

meme

~~ Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

~~ Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
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MomOf2Turds
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I have been reading how some people have been so repulsed by Piet's behavior when it came to his kids and how they claim that he really doesn't care for them the way he tries to make himself believe he does because of his actions.  Here's my thoughts on that.

 

First off, he gave his kids some medicine.  Calpol.  According to what I found on this particular medicine, here, it is a pain reliever and a fever reducer.  So I'm assuming it temporarily makes his children feel better.  I give my kids medicine hoping that they will feel better when they are sick.  I know I hate feeling bad.  Granted, he probably shouldn't have taken them to day care, or with him to run his errands, BUT sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

 

Secondly, taking them around the drugs and with the explosives.  Granted, I do not think that should have ever happened.  Children should never be around drugs.  Ever.  Personal opinion on that one.  The explosives aren't as unstable or as bad as you may think.  And the only reason I can say this is because my husband works with all kinds of explosives.  There are ways to make sure that they are very stable and safe and it takes a lot to unintentionally detonate them nowadays.  His children were pretty safe with those in the trunk and such.

 

I think that the authors have portrayed Piet in a more believable way as a parent.  There are no "perfect" parents out there.  Everyone makes mistakes, errors in judgement, and is selfish on occasion.  Admitting to it, however, is pretty much unheard of.  If more people would be honest about their mistakes in parenting, people would feel more comfortable about not feeling the need to pretend they are the families on tv from the 50s.  The perfect little family.

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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dhaupt
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I would also like to comment on my feelings about Piet and the children.

Reading that part didn't bother me so I thought hmm, maybe there was so much detail going on that I just didn't think about the little ones in the next room to the elicit stuff, so I re-read it and it still didn't bother me.

I agree with MomOf2Turds that this made Piet a believable hero/villain in the same instance to me.

In my heart I know how much he loves those kids, but he for what ever reason "needs" to do this thing in prison for Erick and I think he believes that the end justifies the means.

But for whatever reason it just works for me.

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Sanderson1216
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I found Piet to be a very sympathetic character in the first part of the novel, but my opinion has changed slightly. I found myself getting angry by the danger he placed his children in this section of the novel. For me, it made me start to understand the desperation Piet has in attempting to complete his mission, but also protect his family. His desperation is becoming a danger to himself and those he loves.

 

Zofia seems to be taking a back seat in terms of her character development. I don't feel like we learned any more about her at this point. As a working mom myself, I understand her frustrations when Piet doesn't show up to take care of the boys requiring Zofia to miss work. Is her work any less important? From her perspective, she may not be aware of what her husband is involved with at this point. I think the fact she leaves the boys in his care illustrates her lack of knowledge of what her husband is involved with.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


MomOf2Turds wrote:

I have been reading how some people have been so repulsed by Piet's behavior when it came to his kids and how they claim that he really doesn't care for them the way he tries to make himself believe he does because of his actions.  Here's my thoughts on that.

 

First off, he gave his kids some medicine.  Calpol.  According to what I found on this particular medicine, here, it is a pain reliever and a fever reducer.  So I'm assuming it temporarily makes his children feel better.  I give my kids medicine hoping that they will feel better when they are sick.  I know I hate feeling bad.  Granted, he probably shouldn't have taken them to day care, or with him to run his errands, BUT sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

 

Secondly, taking them around the drugs and with the explosives.  Granted, I do not think that should have ever happened.  Children should never be around drugs.  Ever.  Personal opinion on that one.  The explosives aren't as unstable or as bad as you may think.  And the only reason I can say this is because my husband works with all kinds of explosives.  There are ways to make sure that they are very stable and safe and it takes a lot to unintentionally detonate them nowadays.  His children were pretty safe with those in the trunk and such.

 

I think that the authors have portrayed Piet in a more believable way as a parent.  There are no "perfect" parents out there.  Everyone makes mistakes, errors in judgement, and is selfish on occasion.  Admitting to it, however, is pretty much unheard of.  If more people would be honest about their mistakes in parenting, people would feel more comfortable about not feeling the need to pretend they are the families on tv from the 50s.  The perfect little family.


Most parents do medicate and comfort their sick children but they do not over medicate them for their own benefit ass Piet did.

 

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high96
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Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

He didn't really over medicate them. Paracetamol is the active ingredient in Calpol. Paracetamol is acetaminophen i.e. Tylenol....it is just like giving them Children's Tylenol. So giving them Calpol would not really cause them to sleep or be drowsy. This is just embellishment on the part of the authors. 

"I don't like secrets! All this cooking, and reading, and TV watching, while we... read and cook! It's like you're involving me in crime, and I let you! Why do I let you?" --Emile in "Ratatouille"
Wordsmith
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two


dhaupt wrote:

I would also like to comment on my feelings about Piet and the children.

Reading that part didn't bother me so I thought hmm, maybe there was so much detail going on that I just didn't think about the little ones in the next room to the elicit stuff, so I re-read it and it still didn't bother me.

I agree with MomOf2Turds that this made Piet a believable hero/villain in the same instance to me.

In my heart I know how much he loves those kids, but he for what ever reason "needs" to do this thing in prison for Erick and I think he believes that the end justifies the means.

But for whatever reason it just works for me.


The only reason I could find so far in the book of why Piet is going into the prison is found on pages 145-6,

Basically, nine years ago being an infiltrator was his ticket out of prison, he didn't have Zofia or the boys, and it was a deal he couldn't pass up.  Page 146, "He'd learned to live for the kicks, for the adrenaline that forced his heart to explode in his chest, for the pride of knowing that he was better at this than anyone else, he who had never been best at anything...He was addicted.  He didn't knkow what life was like without the adrenaline, the pride.  He was one of those people who had never managed to finish anything.  He was going to do it this time."  Getting a verbal commitment that the police would take care of him helped also.  The fact that he keeps repeating everything to himself from the meeting with the police gives him the strength to go ahead with the incarceration.

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 

On two consecutive pages the authors spoke of "mist".  First on page 180 at the cementary, "to the mist that blotted out death" and then on page 181, "Aspsas church was still veiled in the morning mist."  Is the mist a prop that will aid Piet later on?

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Tarri
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

[ Edited ]

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

I think that Erik Wilson really cares about his charges, perhaps even more than the outcome of the operation. He keeps telling Piet that he can back out up until the last minute.  Of course, I don't agree that he could have backed out once his criminal record was changed. He was also very upset when he saw the children in the middle of the operation. 

 

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?

At this point, I'm not sure that Piet knows the "real" Piet anymore. I think the more honest Piet is the family Piet, at least that is who he wants to be and the rest is just a means to an end. 

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

Yes and no.  We know that she has a career and that she is oblivious to what her husband is really doing. 

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them?

Piet is incredibly well organized and, I think, very intelligent.  He is able to think through what might happen and plan for every eventuality. 

 

Can you discern any of the intention of Piet's careful planning in these chapters?

Piet doesn't trust anyone.  He knows he will be on his own and he cannot rely on anyone in power to help him meet his goals.  I think he suspects that the powers that be would rather he just disappear after his mission is complete. 

 

I, for one, cannot wait to read the next section.  Section two was way too short :-) .

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deana99
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

We get a much closer look at Piet Hoffmann in the brief days that make up Part Two of Three Seconds. What do we learn about him? Have your ideas about him changed or solidified?

I still find myself sympathetic to Piet, and still like his character.  I was disappointed that he put his children at risk, but I believe it was to show how desperate he was, and he too showed remorse.

 

We get a very detailed description of the progress of Piet's methodical action, without being given any explanations of what he's up to. Even when we "hear" his thinking, we get only small cryptic thoughts without knowing how to interpret them. What happens to the pace and the tension in the novel in these pages? 

I really do enjoy this book!  I like how the authors allow you to hear several of the character's thoughts.

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

I am still not completely sure of Erik or his exact job/motives...but you can tell in part two that he really is fond of Piet and wishes him no harm.

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

Nope....still a mystery to me.  I am hoping her character is expanded.

 

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literature
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I contacted a friend of mine that is a librarian and asked if we could access books in storage at the public library like Piet did and the following is her answer: 

 

I think I understand your question. You want to know if it is possible to use the library catalog to find a book that has been put in storage. The answer is yes. You would use the catalog's Advanced Search function and
then search by location. For example, LMxAC uses the location "Stored Material". The Monmouth County catalog uses "In basement-see staff" and "In storage-see staff". It helps to fill in a title or author or subject, even a keyword in order not to have to page through pages of titles.  You can search by hardcover (under format) but not by the number of pages. Of course, library shelf space is at a premium and most libraries only store books that fit certain criteria (historical interest, value, etc).  Librarians run reports (not available to the public) of book circulationsand use the report to decide what books to keep.

We are learning so much from this book!

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thewanderingjew
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I thought I remembered reading he gave them a double dose, maybe I am wrong. Parents usually put the needs of children first. Maybe he could have found a better way. The kids seemed so uncomfortable.
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I believe that Piet made them take a second dose not to far from the first one and they didn't want to take it.  That is one of the things I do not like that he does.


thewanderingjew wrote:
I thought I remembered reading he gave them a double dose, maybe I am wrong. Parents usually put the needs of children first. Maybe he could have found a better way. The kids seemed so uncomfortable.

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

That is what I remembered, thanks.
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

He is Mentally preparing himself for Prison;;His Plan is to escape that seems obvious   .When he prepares the Transmitter, measuring the distance..having the guns brought to him via the library books.A clearer picture.not really  I don't expect to until I move on in the next Part..He has everything in place assuming it all goes according to his plan.   .The envelope being sent to Grens  What became of that.Did I miss something?For Zofia and the children ,Instructions,passports,money Where are they going?..Not at all a clearer picture of Zofia..Just tremendous sadness,I guess.'''Again she is silent...I have been wondering  What she knows?...Erik Wilson is the same..Careful to say "Just the right words" to Piet..and Piet responds accordingly......My belief is no matter what happens,Erik Wilson has been getting a cut..Does he Pocket it? Does he turn it over to "His Superiors"? Piet was in Prison...probably on drugs at some point  He can Play The Game well..His life depends on it...
Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

We get a much closer look at Piet Hoffmann in the brief days that make up Part Two of Three Seconds. What do we learn about him? Have your ideas about him changed or solidified?

 

We get a very detailed description of the progress of Piet's methodical action, without being given any explanations of what he's up to. Even when we "hear" his thinking, we get only small cryptic thoughts without knowing how to interpret them. What happens to the pace and the tension in the novel in these pages? 

 

Can you discern any of the intention of Piet's careful planning in these chapters?

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them?

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?


 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
He is Mentally preparing himself for Prison;;His Plan is to escape that seems obvious   .When he prepares the Transmitter, measuring the distance..having the guns brought to him via the library books.A clearer picture.not really  I don't expect to until I move on in the next Part..He has everything in place assuming it all goes according to his plan.   .The envelope being sent to Grens  What became of that.Did I miss something?For Zofia and the children ,Instructions,passports,money Where are they going?..Not at all a clearer picture of Zofia..Just tremendous sadness,I guess.'''Again she is silent...I have been wondering  What she knows?...Erik Wilson is the same..Careful to say "Just the right words" to Piet..and Piet responds accordingly......My belief is no matter what happens,Erik Wilson has been getting a cut..Does he Pocket it? Does he turn it over to "His Superiors"? Piet was in Prison...probably on drugs at some point  He can Play The Game well..His life depends on it...
Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

We get a much closer look at Piet Hoffmann in the brief days that make up Part Two of Three Seconds. What do we learn about him? Have your ideas about him changed or solidified?

 

We get a very detailed description of the progress of Piet's methodical action, without being given any explanations of what he's up to. Even when we "hear" his thinking, we get only small cryptic thoughts without knowing how to interpret them. What happens to the pace and the tension in the novel in these pages? 

 

Can you discern any of the intention of Piet's careful planning in these chapters?

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them?

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?


 


I think he put the letters in a safe deposit box for insurance in case he is betrayed.

 

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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two


thewanderingjew wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
He is Mentally preparing himself for Prison;;His Plan is to escape that seems obvious   .When he prepares the Transmitter, measuring the distance..having the guns brought to him via the library books.A clearer picture.not really  I don't expect to until I move on in the next Part..He has everything in place assuming it all goes according to his plan.   .The envelope being sent to Grens  What became of that.Did I miss something?For Zofia and the children ,Instructions,passports,money Where are they going?..Not at all a clearer picture of Zofia..Just tremendous sadness,I guess.'''Again she is silent...I have been wondering  What she knows?...Erik Wilson is the same..Careful to say "Just the right words" to Piet..and Piet responds accordingly......My belief is no matter what happens,Erik Wilson has been getting a cut..Does he Pocket it? Does he turn it over to "His Superiors"? Piet was in Prison...probably on drugs at some point  He can Play The Game well..His life depends on it...
Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

We get a much closer look at Piet Hoffmann in the brief days that make up Part Two of Three Seconds. What do we learn about him? Have your ideas about him changed or solidified?

 

We get a very detailed description of the progress of Piet's methodical action, without being given any explanations of what he's up to. Even when we "hear" his thinking, we get only small cryptic thoughts without knowing how to interpret them. What happens to the pace and the tension in the novel in these pages? 

 

Can you discern any of the intention of Piet's careful planning in these chapters?

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person?

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them?

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?


 


I think he put the letters in a safe deposit box for insurance in case he is betrayed.

 


Thank you Wandering,,I missed that.....Reading on.....Susan..

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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mommybooknerd
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

When Piet is in jail my tensions were so high...I was reading so fast to see how this was all going to resolve itself...I did not have a good feeling and could not put the book down pretty much from when he entered jail until the end.  I loved how complex this book is and how it took me out of my normal reading element.  It was nice to read up on another country while reading the book to get a sense of where it was all taking place.  I love the lnteresting links section of this discssion.  This book made my brain work harder when I was reading.  This book makes you look inside the minds of so many people..criminal, police, infiltrator, wife, sons and community, to name a few....it will be one of the best books of 2011 I have no doubt....

You are the author of your own life story.