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Wordsmith
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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.


Don't give up.  Take some notes as you read, either write them in the book or in a separate pad.  Sometimes writing it down helps.  Maybe, also, just concentrate on reading the book and don't look at the posts until after you've read a good portion, post your thoughts and then go back to read the other posts.  I always keep a running list of characters, especially in the beginning, and I find that helps.  Just some thoughts.

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

[ Edited ]

 


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.


Ponkie -- thanks for sharing how you feel.  As Susan (Vermont Cozy) says, it happens to all of us, just on different things.  Probably one of the factors in humans being such communal animals.  If you are not totally turned off by the material, I do hope you will stay with it and join the conversation if and when you can.  Others have shared some ideas to help.  What kept me going is probably most related to Bookwoman's comments that sometimes we read because we are adults living in a complicated, international world; not necessarily always reading for sheer enjoyment, but for understanding what we may not want to understand.

 

 

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
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cocospalsGG
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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.


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.

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Caffrey
Posts: 11
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Pief is constantly struggling with himself as to who he is. He is terribly confused. When is he Paula; when is he Pief; when is he the everyman who only wants to be with his family? I think Pief's ultimate goal is to be the family man he so desperately desires to be, but there is a part of him that is addicted to the con. He doesn't know if he can stop or even wants to. 

My opinion of Pief remains the same. He continues to be my favorite character and the heart of the novel. However, the little glimpses of him that we do get only reaffirm is inner conflict. Pief can trust no one and I think that fact weighs heavily upon him. Zofia loves him but imagine how hard it would be to learn that the life you live as been part truth and part lie. All the feelings were true but the life and the actions were not. If Pief and Zofia get to see each other again; it will be very interesting to see what happens between them. 

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Caffrey
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Sorry to everyone! I have a severe typo happening. I keep writing Piet as Pief. Please excuse this mistake! 

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Bonnie824
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two


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?

 

 

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 am liking him better and finding him very brave. I don't have much of a picture of Zofia except maybe as a little passive aggressive and sulky.

 

I am surprised Piet worked for/with the police, knowing how brutal they could be there, but I guess he didn't have a lot of choice and maybe wanted his debt to them paid so he could be really free.

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elaine_hf
Posts: 389
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

 


MomOf2Turds wrote:

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

 

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

 


 

I'm not so sure that it was solely for his benefit.  Yes, he did benefit from it.  He got everything done that he needed to get done in the allotted time that he had.  But does everything he did really benefit him?  Or does it benefit his children?  Is he doing it for himself or for his children?  Yes, he gets the drugs set up to get smuggled in.  Yes, he makes sure that he has the transmitter set up.  Yes, he makes sure that his insurance recordings and letters and money are in the proper envelopes, with the proper addresses, ready to go out when they need to.  But isn't that all to ensure that he is able to do what needs to be done so that he can be done working as an infiltrator for the police and can start a new and better lie free life with his family?  Isn't it all to ensure that if he doesn't get out alive that at least his family will have what they need to continue on without him there to support them?  Doesn't it ensure that his family will actually know the truth about why he was in prison and killed (if that happens, although I hope it doesn't because I really am pulling for Piet) and they don't think him a complete and total fraud?  I feel that they have more to gain from him doing all of this, even though they were sick and given some medicine, than he does.  Just what I think.


 

I agree completely - I think that everything he is doing, while on the surface seems selfish, is really for the benefit of his family. He's trying to survive, and therefore come out alive on the other side of the prison sentence and be a part of the family again. And he has set up his 'insurance' - the recording of the conversation with the government officials. 

 

I am finding that I am softening towards Erik in this section. He's still a mystery, and he still more-or-less states that Piet is serving a purpose for the government and nothing more, but he does admit that he's gotten closer to Piet than he should. Beneath that professional exterior, he still has a heart.

 

And the more we read in this book, the less we know about Zofia - that in itself is a little bit of an enigma. I would have thought we'd know more, but her reactions continue to puzzle. She is perhaps the least trustworthy of them all.

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Hi,

You are not stupid. I think a lot of us are finding the book a little confusing but that is why it is a good mystery! In the end, it will become clear so don't give up.


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.


 

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DawnGR
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Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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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.


 Don't feel stupid. When I first started reading the Stieg Larsson books. The very first book I struggled with the first half but once I got a feel  for some of the words , locations and people the rest of the book and the remaining books were easier. A good idea was given previously about taking notes.


 

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.”
Elizabeth Hardwick

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cubicleblindnessKM
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Caffrey

I completely agree with you on your opinion that Pief is torn between being the family man and the con man. I also think he is addicted or the fact that he just may not want to stop. It seems that sometimes being in the wrong is exciting compared to the boring life of a family and boring 9-5 job.

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

[ Edited ]

 


Caffrey wrote:

Sorry to everyone! I have a severe typo happening. I keep writing Piet as Pief. Please excuse this mistake! 


 

Caffrey -- I note that your apology was made in the same hour as your post.  Do know that you can usually edit your post within an hour or two of when you post it.  (I don't know the exact length of time -- I just try if I see something I wish were different within three hours of posting.)  To do so, select the Options box in the upper right corner and you will get a drop-down menu that includes an Edit option.

 

Pepper

 

P.S. -- your criteria for "severe typo" is a lot more stringent than mine!

"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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tberra
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

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?

Piet is  exceptionally methodical which also raises the question in my mind of even as an infiltrator is he on the level or is he just playing the cops  to truly move up in the world.

 

Eric is a user

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person? I feel  she is a victim

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them? That he has spent  a lot of time in them or with people who have  been in them

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann? I  think he is  more the real Piet than the face we have seen so far .

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Okay.  Pepper's on her soapbox again.  She'll undoubtedly be sorry for posting this, but...  Why are we telling anyone how he or she should or shouldn't feel?  Don't we all just "feel?"  If we choose to share what our feelings are, certainly we often are inviting others to share theirs and even their reactions to our feelings.  But that doesn't iinvalidate our feelings, even if we change them, whether as a result of the conversation or for other reasons.

 

Or have I just read Nonviolent Communication  once too often?

"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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beak77
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Re: The "real" Piet

My niece was put in jail & found out she was pregnant after she was incarcerated. I sent her some pregnancy books but they were still shrink wrapped. The other option is to send books directly from a book selling web site. I suppose the library would be different. I think US prisons have their own. In the case of our book it described the library as rural so I doubt they would have any screening techniques. I suppose the prison assumes that since the books come strsight from the library there is no reason for a more than cursory screening,

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high96
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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?

Piet is  exceptionally methodical which also raises the question in my mind of even as an infiltrator is he on the level or is he just playing the cops  to truly move up in the world.

 

Eric is a user

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Zofia is as a person? I feel  she is a victim

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them? That he has spent  a lot of time in them or with people who have  been in them

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann? I  think he is  more the real Piet than the face we have seen so far .


If you go back to the meeting under Rosenbad with the Ministry of Justice et. al. , you may remember that the director general of the Prison and Probation Service was there and was told to cooperate with the operation by placing Paula in Aspsas prison immediately. This would make me believe that the warden would need a head's up and have to be apprised of the situation with Paula i.e. possible details of who he is and what he is going to do. Though they may not be too detailed because the Swedish government would want the least amount of people to know about their infiltrators so there would still be the plausible deniability later on. 

 

"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"
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MomOf2Turds
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Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

I have to agree, again, with Pepper.  

 

You can't say how other people should feel or react to any situation.  You can only guess at how they do feel, unless they tell you (in which case Zofia didn't).  People have all lived very different lives.  They have had different upbringings.  And it is because of these factors, as well as others, that people feel and react differently to the same situations.

 

Just because someone doesn't react the way you feel or think that they should, it doesn't mean that they don't have the same feelings about the situation that you do, only a different way of dealing with them.

 

And that is part of what makes people so different and unique, and it is those differences that keep the world interesting.

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Peppermill
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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  noteIs the warden in on it or is he bad?

Piet is  exceptionally methodical which also raises the question in my mind of even as an infiltrator is he on the level or is he just playing the cops  to truly move up in the world.

 

Eric is a user.

 

Putting this label on Eric was a clear insight -- and so obvious once you said itIt also helped explain the lack of trust Eric has seemed to generateCertainly "users" can be untrustworthyNow, we shall see how far does Eric go and perhaps who else are "users" and what they do.

 

Do you have a clearer picture of who Sofia is as a person? I feel she is a victim.


I'm not certain I agree so readily with this labelIn some ways, certainly "yes" -- a victim of Piet's choices on how he will live out his life.  But she seems to have openly and willingly entered into a relationship with him, with all that brought with itIn some ways, she does use "victim tactics" with Piet, given her lack of openness at times -- some here have called them her "passive-aggressive" tendenciesStill, for all his protestations, Piet seems to "read" her pretty well and to know (with some underlying doubts) that he can woo her support.

 

What does it tell us about Piet that he knows so much about prisons and the life inside and around them? That he has spent  a lot of time in them or with people who have  been in them

 

Is the man the police arrest in any way the "real" Piet Hoffmann? I  think he is  more the real Piet than the face we have seen so far.


I'm not sure what those words mean.  I find it difficult to summarize these characters, especially Piet.  Yet, I wouldn't characterize Piet's descriptions as self contradictory.  The face we have seen so far has been chillingly controlled in Poland and with the drug delivery, coldly but yet almost disastrously controlling in other Swedish venues (dangling microphone cord, plans for incarceration), careless (attention to the children's fevers) and yet loving and soft in his familial relationships -- yet still manipulative in some respects.  In some ways, the man the police arrest is another two men -- the one created by Eric Wilson that they think they are arresting and the ex-con (whose actual record is much less violent and severe) who goes mostly docilely to what he has agreed to do.


Bold -- phrase that evoked a response.  Italics -- my comment/opinion.

 

"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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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

Hear, Hear, well put! When we decide what a character should or shouldn't do, we are often surprised by the author, who decides for us!


MomOf2Turds wrote:

I have to agree, again, with Pepper.  

 

You can't say how other people should feel or react to any situation.  You can only guess at how they do feel, unless they tell you (in which case Zofia didn't).  People have all lived very different lives.  They have had different upbringings.  And it is because of these factors, as well as others, that people feel and react differently to the same situations.

 

Just because someone doesn't react the way you feel or think that they should, it doesn't mean that they don't have the same feelings about the situation that you do, only a different way of dealing with them.

 

And that is part of what makes people so different and unique, and it is those differences that keep the world interesting.


 

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thewanderingjew
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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  noteIs the warden in on it or is he bad?

Piet is  exceptionally methodical which also raises the question in my mind of even as an infiltrator is he on the level or is he just playing the cops  to truly move up in the world....

...edited by twj

 

I never gave that idea much thought but it is really a puzzle. Perhaps he knows the warden better than we think he does and perhaps the warden enables the drug dealing in the prison. "Piet/Paula" does have so many other contacts like Lorentz for instance. There must be so much we don't yet know about him.

How else could they really get away with dealing drugs in prison, kind of in plain sight? On the other hand, maybe he is being sarcastic and the true meaning will be known, if and when he escapes.


Peppermill wrote:


edited by twj:
...In some ways, the man the police arrest is another two men -- the one created by Eric Wilson that they think they are arresting and the ex-con (whose actual record is much less violent and severe) who goes mostly docilely to what he has agreed to do.

 

That is a very good observation. Who will he become now?

 

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stkong7
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Part Two

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.