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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two


Peppermill wrote:

 


SandyS wrote:

It seems to me we don't know who Zofia is because Piet doesn't.  The story is through his eyes.  Somewhere along the way she seems to have become lost to him.  Were they ever close?


One of the textual evidences of their closeness is on p. 138:  "...without even thinking about the fact that the whitish-yellow powder had stolen years of his life and there had been a time when every waking hour was used to steal enough to get more for the next day.  The rehab center, the fear, the prison sentence, the drug had been all-consuming and everything else meaningless until the morning she was suddenly standing in front of him. He had never injected since.  She had forced him to hold onto her hand hard, as only people who trust each other can."

 

 

(Bold added.)  One wonders what attracted her to a practicing, hardened addict.  Or, him to her.  Also, was he already working for Erik?   (Yes?)  Another question, is this depiction realistic if Piet truly had been a practicing addict?  Or do the authors strain the reader's credulity?


I've not had a chance to respond to Part 2 questions earlier this week and have been reading responses this morning to catch up.  And let me say to the FL members, that you are all an amazing bunch!  Who would have thought that a mere 50 pages could generate so much enthusiastic and fascinating dialogue on everything from a red truck to tulips and their bloom time!  I love being part of this group!

 

I think the topic of Zofia is one of the most interesting, and that the authors have deliberately left her an enigma.  We know next to nothing about her.  She works, but what's her job?  How did she meet Piet?  What does she know about his past and current activities?  I'm not even sure the statement that Piet doesn't know Zofia is correct, because there is probably a lot of undisclosed information.

 

And I love the paragraph that implies that she met Piet as a part of rehab, but again, that whole paragraph is intentionally obscure.  "The rehab center, the fear, the prison sentence, the drug had been all-consuming and everything else meaningless until the morning she was suddenly standing in front of him. "  Is this list sequential?  If so, Zofia came into his life after all these things occurred. 

 

What if Zofia is part of the police organization that enlisted him?  What if she recruited him and then Erik became his handler?  What if she knew all along exactly what he is doing and is part of the system herself in some way?  Wouldn't this be a nice set up for the authors to introduce her later as acting in some way to save Piet?  We've all been lulled into thinking of her as not very important, and that she is cold because of her reaction to Piet's disclosure.  We know that Piet has been lying to her and the boys all along, but what if she has also been lying to him?  A double agent married to a double agent would not be a surprising twist in this entertaining book.

Jane M.
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Superbookworm
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Registered: ‎10-08-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 

 

What if Zofia is part of the police organization that enlisted him?  What if she recruited him and then Erik became his handler?  What if she knew all along exactly what he is doing and is part of the system herself in some way?  Wouldn't this be a nice set up for the authors to introduce her later as acting in some way to save Piet?  We've all been lulled into thinking of her as not very important, and that she is cold because of her reaction to Piet's disclosure.  We know that Piet has been lying to her and the boys all along, but what if she has also been lying to him?  A double agent married to a double agent would not be a surprising twist in this entertaining book.


That would be a great twist!

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

What an interesting turn of events that would be! FYI, Zofia means wisdom in Polish! So he is Swedish and she is Polish and that is where all the mules are coming from...maybe your idea is actually the reality!


Superbookworm wrote:

 

What if Zofia is part of the police organization that enlisted him?  What if she recruited him and then Erik became his handler?  What if she knew all along exactly what he is doing and is part of the system herself in some way?  Wouldn't this be a nice set up for the authors to introduce her later as acting in some way to save Piet?  We've all been lulled into thinking of her as not very important, and that she is cold because of her reaction to Piet's disclosure.  We know that Piet has been lying to her and the boys all along, but what if she has also been lying to him?  A double agent married to a double agent would not be a surprising twist in this entertaining book.


That would be a great twist!

 


 

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Lizard16
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I apologise for not responding sooner...this week has been a bit of a roller coaster. 

 

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 learn that he is very methodical about his preparations to go to prison.  I agree with the statement...it takes a criminal to act like a criminal because I don't think I could ever prepare like he did for prison.  I am not sure that my opinons have solidified when it comes to Piet...I want to see how his character develops in the next section. 

 

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

 

I believe that he is planning for his chance to run away from all of it and run away with his family, if they will come with him.

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

 

I don't know that I trust Erik or not but I do think that professionally he has made a mistake by caring about Piet.  It could get them both killed.


I believe Piet should have backed out of the plan when Erik gave him the chance, however, I am sure it would have created new problems....

 

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

 

Unfortunately, no...I don't have a clearer picture of Zofia...she is a good mom but very reserved.  I don't know that I would have sat there in silence, in fact I am pretty darn sure I would have let him have it.

 

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

 

He is dangerous....and I think he is more than he says he is....

 

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

 

I don't know...but I want to ask:  "Will the real Piet Hoffman stand up?"

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avalonpriestess
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

ponkle wrote:

I am feeling very stupid in trying to read this book. I don't know what it is but I am having a very difficult time following it and keeping everything straight. I'm reading all the posts and that's helping but I think I'm taking more of a backseat on this one, as I don't really have a lot to contribute on this one.


cocospalsGG wrote:

Ponkle...i am feeling the exact same way. It's like I am just not getting it. I have tried putting little sticky notes on the areas where I don't understand and go back to it and that doesn't seem to be helping much.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

That's exactly how I'm feeling!  I am having such a hard time with this book.  I've blamed it on the time of year and the hustle and bustle of the season.  I just can't get 'into' this book. I keep seeing the movie "True Lies" in my head and it's all I can think of. I'm enjoying reading everyone's posts, though.  I'm rereading certain parts as I read the posts.  It helps me understand the story more.

 

Donna

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Guys, why don't you post some questions to us? If you like, you can send us private messages too. None of us claim to understand it all. We are all just discussing our thoughts and we don't have a clue if we are right or wrong.


avalonpriestess wrote:
ponkle wrote:

I am feeling very stupid in trying to read this book. I don't know what it is but I am having a very difficult time following it and keeping everything straight. I'm reading all the posts and that's helping but I think I'm taking more of a backseat on this one, as I don't really have a lot to contribute on this one.


cocospalsGG wrote:

Ponkle...i am feeling the exact same way. It's like I am just not getting it. I have tried putting little sticky notes on the areas where I don't understand and go back to it and that doesn't seem to be helping much.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

That's exactly how I'm feeling!  I am having such a hard time with this book.  I've blamed it on the time of year and the hustle and bustle of the season.  I just can't get 'into' this book. I keep seeing the movie "True Lies" in my head and it's all I can think of. I'm enjoying reading everyone's posts, though.  I'm rereading certain parts as I read the posts.  It helps me understand the story more.

 

Donna


 

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

[ Edited ]

 


avalonpriestess wrote:
That's exactly how I'm feeling!  I am having such a hard time with this book.  I've blamed it on the time of year and the hustle and bustle of the season.  I just can't get 'into' this book. I keep seeing the movie "True Lies" in my head and it's all I can think of. I'm enjoying reading everyone's posts, though.  I'm rereading certain parts as I read the posts.  It helps me understand the story more.

 

Donna


 

For those, like me, that never saw "True Lies", here is the synopsis and the IMDb site.  Arnold Schwartzenegger starred!

 

"Harry Tasker leads a double life. At work he is a government agent with a license to do just about anything, while at home he pretends to be a dull computer salesman. He is on the trail of stolen nuclear weapons that are in the hands of fanatic terrorists when something more important comes up. Harry finds his wife is seeing another man because she needs some adventure in her life. Harry decides to give it to her, juggling pursuit of terrorists on one hand and an adventure for his wife on the other while showing he can Tango all at once." Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net> 

 

Certainly can guess why Three Seconds would remind one of it!

 

(What star today would you suggest for Piet?)

"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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PeteyParker
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


stkong7 wrote:

My thoughts of Piet Hoffmann have changed in part 2.  He was given an "out" and chose not to take it, and I am wondering why.  He is risking both his and his family's life.  But I'm intrigued with what he is up to.  Obviously he is setting up in case things take a turn for the worst. And I think it is poignant when Erik says in his mind about Piet "Only a criminal can play a criminal".  The tension of the novel at this point is intense and engaging, and makes the reader want to continue reading to see what happens to Piet and his family.  I think that things will turn for him and he will be stuck out there on his own with noone to defend or help him.  I definitely think he's planning for things to turn against him.  Proof of this is when he records the conversation with the state secretary.  He also keeps reminding himself "trust only yourself". 

 

Not sure if I have a clearer picture of Zofia as a person.  I wouldn't be surprised if she stays with him in the end.  I think they love each other, but the secrets are hanging over them.  But its a lot to digest if I were in her shoes.  Finding out this person who you thought you knew, is not who you thought he was.  She is definitely patient, and accepting.

 

Erik Wilson insisting that Piet tells Zofia, is proof that he likes and cares about Piet.  He is definitely trying to protect Piet, and has more than once giving Piet the opportunity to bow out.

 

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann?  This is the real question and one that I won't be able to answer until I've read more.  Piet has been in prison before, hence why he knows what he does, but going so far as to using the library books ... well that is a whole other aspect that makes me wonder who he really is.


Erik Wilson surprised me in part two. I thought for sure he wasn't someone you can trust while reading part one, but some of the things he says in part two make me question that. Of course it could all be an act but he does seem genuine. Honestly I thought part one was a bit of a chore to read but part two has definitely made things more interesting and I can't wait to see what happens.

 

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love2overanalyze
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 

I was rather amazed by all that Piet did, before he was arrested. All the prepping and planning. Very smart of him, BUT...I have this strange feeling that, just maybe, all his preparations aren't going to be enough for him. It's like something unexpected is going to happen. He is all ready to get found out, (about him being Paula) but I still feel as thought he missed something. 
the only thing that has changed for my feeling for him, is that I am now rooting him on. Whereas before I was unsure of him. Whatever ends up happening, I'm hoping that it turns out positive for him. Possibly because he has kids (as do I), so maybe I'm partial to his parental side! Who knows?!?!

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?

 

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cdoscher
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I never really thought about the red fire engine until you mentioned it in your post and it made me think.  Maybe the red plastic fire engine symbolizes Piets and his sons love for one another.  The fire engine sitting outside waiting for Piet to come home as the boys are waiting for him to come home and play with them and read them a story.  The broken fire engine and Piets trying to repair might be knowing that he is going to leave them for months and knowing how heartbroken these boys are going to be while he is gone and the repairing he will have to do when and if he returns.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, what is the importance of Hugo's red plastic fire engine being in the driveway when Piet arrives home? It was mentioned twice already.  Well, Piet finally hits it when pulling into the driveway but manages to sort of fix it up, hoping that Hugo doesn't notice the pretty obvious repair job

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cdoscher
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I have the same feelings regarding Zofia.  We only know that she helped Piet overcome his drug addiction and that she has a job and raises 2 little boys.   There is not much said about how they met or their lives together other than he loves her so much.  When Piet tells Zofia of his plan, there is no conversation written between the two. I also wonder how much of a part she will play in this story.

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tjewell
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Yes, there seems to be a lot of symbolism with the red fire engine.  I think what you have said is very perceptive.  I have a lot of trouble with symbolism - but I agree that the red fire engine could symbolize the boys waiting for their father to get home and then when Piet runs over the fire engine - it is like his whole world is falling apart and he is trying his best to keep it together - which is evidenced by him trying to repair the fire engine.

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literature
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


tberra wrote:

One  question that  sticks in my mind  and I'm sure we will find the answer as we read along  is why  send the flowers  to the  warden  with the thanks  note?  Is the warden in on it or is he bad?


 

The amphetamines are hidden inside the tulips, pg 136-137.  Then top of pg 138, "he had filled fifty tulips with a total of 185 grams of 30 percent ampetamine"  Go back to the bottom of pg 137, "The next time they opened it would be room temperature on a governor's desk"  That's how Paula got the drugs into the prison, between the tulips and the library books.  Pg 164, "Tulips and poetry".  Hope this helps.

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literature
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


cdoscher wrote:

I never really thought about the red fire engine until you mentioned it in your post and it made me think.  Maybe the red plastic fire engine symbolizes Piets and his sons love for one another.  The fire engine sitting outside waiting for Piet to come home as the boys are waiting for him to come home and play with them and read them a story.  The broken fire engine and Piets trying to repair might be knowing that he is going to leave them for months and knowing how heartbroken these boys are going to be while he is gone and the repairing he will have to do when and if he returns.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, what is the importance of Hugo's red plastic fire engine being in the driveway when Piet arrives home? It was mentioned twice already.  Well, Piet finally hits it when pulling into the driveway but manages to sort of fix it up, hoping that Hugo doesn't notice the pretty obvious repair job


I think I started something with the red plastic fire truck when I posed the question about it.  The symbolism that others have commented on sounds very plausible to me and I completely missed that.  But what I really think happens is that Hugo gets very upset when he realizes his fire truck was damaged and very obviously repaired and then in anger he innocently starts revealing all the little out-of-the ordinary things that happened while he was with his father.  But, who knows, the red plastic fire engine may have seen the last of its days and not be mentioned again, also.  It's just fun speculating.

 

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beak77
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

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?

We see Piet systematically and methodicly plan for his prison term (i.e. yellow tulips, drug sale, cd recordings/ 2 envelopes, wirining the church balcony, preparing the library books, etc.). Since his sons were sick during the critical time he had to prepare he had to take them with him as he prepared at his office- upon doing so he thinks to himself that he will never bring them along & pu them in danger again. He had already thought that earlier in the book when he took his children to a meeting and left the children in the backseat of the car. So even so he wants to protect his children & family, he continues to put his job first and children potentially in danger, He meets with Erik Wilson a few times discussing the upcoming mission. My ideas about Piet classified him only based  on his occupations as informants and as a father and husband.

 

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? 

Again I state: We see Piet systematically and methodicly plan for his prison term (i.e. yellow tulips, drug sale, cd recordings/ 2 envelopes, wirining the church balcony, preparing the library books, etc.). It is obvious Piet is covering his bases just in case something goes wrong inside he has a way for a bust out. Using the technique of cutting the books, is a common thing among teenagers and drug users here in America. You can even by book boxes made in the same idea. People use them to hide drugs and weapons. I suppose there maybe more innocent uses. I was actually glad that he would have the mini gun in jail for protection.

 

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

I was happy that he did take a slice of the drugs and secure some money for his family.

The 2 cd/letters are also for security if something goes wrong so his wife & Grens will know what was actually agreed upon. He carefully planned the chuch tower and the pillars in the workshop, this is probably where the gun and/or charges may be used.

 

What do we learn about Erik Wilson in these chapters?

My belief that Erik is in the gey area is solidified in the 2 section. He obviously is a cop however we do not clearly know what he trains for and who issues his orders. He seems concerned for Piet but at the same time I got the feeling that he changed his rap sheet a 2nd time the morning of the arrest. I felt that was uncalled for and made me feel Erik was on both sides- probably whichever side he is benefitting from at the time.

 

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

Zofia is a strong woman to put up with Piet's odd schedule and lies. She took his confession and said nothing. I am sure she knows the severity of it. However if things go bad she will be rewarded with the 950,000 kronor.

 

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

He comes from a criminal background or has been schooled in some of these techniques.

 

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

I think Piet taps into a former self and takes on his criminal character from his past.


 

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calb15
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I think Piet has three lives, one with the bad guys, one with the police, and one with his family, but at this point he is lost, he doesn't know who he is anymore.   He wants and  tries to be a good family man, but his failing.  

 

I think he has a great plan to escape from both the police and the mafia, he's smarter and he has a great motive, his family.   He loves Zofia and the kids so much that he's going to be able to defied both, the police and the mafia.

 

I don't know what to think about Erick Wilson, he looks like a good friend, but at the same time his using Piet, he know too well what his loosing.   If Piet is in danger where Erick is going to be, beside him or trying to cover his work?

 

I believe Piet let go some of his frustration when the police arrest him, he has a lot of anger inside.   

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jb11
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I completely agree.  In fact, character development has been a problem for me throughout the book.  We are getting a very pinholed look at most characters through Piet's eyes.

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T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

[ Edited ]

I think the red plastic fire engine is synonymous with the lives of Piet and his family. The broken fire engine equals the lives that are about to be broken by the insistent intrusion of drugs and lies into Piet's life, and that of his family. To that end, fixing the fire engine seems to correlate with Piet trying to fix the mistakes and lies that he's created, by way of recording his meeting with the state secretary of the Ministry of Justice, and preparing the envelopes for his wife and Grens. 

 

"It was too late by the time he realized he had driven over it." (pg 154) Just like it was too late to back out and abort his mission. One of my favorite lines so far in the novel is from when Piet is trying to explain everything to Zofia: "he had realized that what was false and had to be explained became even falser when it was disguised by enjoyment and intimacy." (pg 174) It seems Piet has come to realize the damage he has caused over the past nine years, and that he simply cannot carry on pretending that his family will not be affected by this. In such a short amount of time his double life is about to destroy all that he has come to love and cherish- the lives of his family. And while he has tried to spare them, and leave them out of it, it will ultimately break them- just like the red fire engine. He knew it was there, drove by it multiple times, trying to spare it from being crushed by the tires of the car. 

 

I'm very curious to see how all of this play out...

 

 


literature wrote:

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, what is the importance of Hugo's red plastic fire engine being in the driveway when Piet arrives home? It was mentioned twice already.  Well, Piet finally hits it when pulling into the driveway but manages to sort of fix it up, hoping that Hugo doesn't notice the pretty obvious repair job. 


 

Correspondent
T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I think I have come across a discrepancy... 

 

In another thread I was curious as to when Piet and Zofia met, and how it relates to the story overall. Then while reading part two, when we are informed of Piet's criminal record, as it is listed in the Swedish National Police Board's records, we are told that he was cited on 2/5/98 for unlawful driving; on 4/5/98 for unlawful disposal; and on 8/6/98 for serious firearms offenses. We are further informed at the same time that he was jailed on 4/7/98 and paroled on 1/7/99. ( page 140). So, was he in prison when he was charged with the firearms offense? And how is this significant? Will anyone who looks at his record notice this or is it something that was overlooked by the authors? 

 

Further, we learn that Piet has served nine years as an infiltrator. (pg 145) But later on, when speaking with Zofia, Piet tells her "about a prison sentence ten years ago." (pg 174). Yet again later, Piet thinks "In the past ten years he had lied so much to Zofia and Hugo and Rasmus and all the others..." (pg 181). So... I'm a little confused on the time lines. I was under the impression, from what I had read that Piet was approached by the Swedish authorities while he was in prison to become an infiltrator. I can argue with myself that just because he agreed to become an infiltrator doesn't necessarily mean that he started as such immediately. Such things take time- building trust with a criminal organization does not happen easily. So ok, he has been an infiltrator for nine years. Ten years ago he was in prison. How can it be that he has been lying to his family for ten years? are we to assume that if he is just telling Zofia about that prison sentence now, she must not have known about it? Which would mean ten years ago he did not know her, not to mention that his children are only three and five, which means it is not possible to have been lying to them for ten years. A technicality, I know, but I revert back to my previous questions... When did he meet his wife and begin to build his family? And what bearing does this have on the situation and the story overall? Are these timeline discrepancies integral to the story? 

 

I certainly cannot wait to read on to see how or even if my questions will be addressed. 

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T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I just found something else that I had remembered reading that further re-inforces my comments about the timeline discrepancies... 

 

"Nine years at an infiltrator.... He didn't have a family then. He existed on for himself..." (pg. 145). 

 

So... Again, I ask, how is that he has been lying to his family for ten years? 


T-Mo wrote:

I think I have come across a discrepancy... 

 

In another thread I was curious as to when Piet and Zofia met, and how it relates to the story overall. Then while reading part two, when we are informed of Piet's criminal record, as it is listed in the Swedish National Police Board's records, we are told that he was cited on 2/5/98 for unlawful driving; on 4/5/98 for unlawful disposal; and on 8/6/98 for serious firearms offenses. We are further informed at the same time that he was jailed on 4/7/98 and paroled on 1/7/99. ( page 140). So, was he in prison when he was charged with the firearms offense? And how is this significant? Will anyone who looks at his record notice this or is it something that was overlooked by the authors? 

 

Further, we learn that Piet has served nine years as an infiltrator. (pg 145) But later on, when speaking with Zofia, Piet tells her "about a prison sentence ten years ago." (pg 174). Yet again later, Piet thinks "In the past ten years he had lied so much to Zofia and Hugo and Rasmus and all the others..." (pg 181). So... I'm a little confused on the time lines. I was under the impression, from what I had read that Piet was approached by the Swedish authorities while he was in prison to become an infiltrator. I can argue with myself that just because he agreed to become an infiltrator doesn't necessarily mean that he started as such immediately. Such things take time- building trust with a criminal organization does not happen easily. So ok, he has been an infiltrator for nine years. Ten years ago he was in prison. How can it be that he has been lying to his family for ten years? are we to assume that if he is just telling Zofia about that prison sentence now, she must not have known about it? Which would mean ten years ago he did not know her, not to mention that his children are only three and five, which means it is not possible to have been lying to them for ten years. A technicality, I know, but I revert back to my previous questions... When did he meet his wife and begin to build his family? And what bearing does this have on the situation and the story overall? Are these timeline discrepancies integral to the story? 

 

I certainly cannot wait to read on to see how or even if my questions will be addressed.