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Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I am very late in posting my thoughts on the Early Chapters...that being said, I have read through quite a few of the earlier posts and I have decided (like a few others) to post my thoughts without finishing all of the previous posts.  I hope that I am not being redundant.

 

The first words that come to mind as I read about Maria are strength and pride.  She shows us her strength continually throughout these chapters.  She is definitely the source of strength for this family.  She does whatever she needs to do to keep the family together while Teodor is in prison.  She gives up a precious piece of family jewelry (the jeweled cross necklace) not to mention her dignity to get back the wagon after Teodor goes to prison.  She not only takes care of her own children, she takes care of Anna's children and Anna herself. She us very determined to keep the family alive and safe until Teodor returns.

 

She is also a proud women.  An example of this is her refusal to learn to speak anything other than her native language, despite the fact that all of her children have now all but abandoned the Ukrainian language.  Another example is when she insists that Sofia go and change her clothes for church because her sweater is too tight.  They may not have much, but it is important to her for her family look presentable when they arrive for church. 

 

I am amazed at how she manages to stay strong with everything that has happened to this family.  I think she will continue to stay strong throughout the book. 

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Inspired Contributor
kittykat59
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎12-08-2008

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

First of all Kudos to Shandi for making us readers take the time to think about religion and how young children comprehend it.

 

Regarding Katya....page 71. She is a very young child. She goes to church with her family. She understands the process but she does not understand anything else. Shandi has given us some questions to ask ourselves. Do my YOUNG children understand why we go to church? Why we take the host? Do they know that baby Jesus and Jesus are one in the same? I don't think it was Shandi's intent to insult the catholic readers. By the way I'm catholic. For me it is a very important part of the novel and to delete it would be a sin. Her novel is art, it is inspiring,  it is joy, it is sadness, it is life...... I can go on and on. 

 

As for Claire's question. BELIEVABLE! I have come to care for this family. I have become part of this family.They have taught me so many things. 

 

thank you again for a great novel

 

liz

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


Claire-Wachtel wrote:

Hello, everyone,

 

 

I'd like to introduce myself as Shandi Mitchell's U.S. editor. Over the past year, I have collabroated with Shandi's Canadian and British editors to bring this marvelous book into your hands and to make this international publication as successful as possible.

 

I've been reading your thoughtful comments for several days, and, having gotten a better feel for your interests and concerns, I'm happy to join the discussion. Let me begin by asking a couple of questions that are always on my mind as an editor: Are the characters believable to you? Do they transport you to a time and place?

 

 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


 

 

 

A woman is sitting in a blind, her camera and sound equipment trained on the play of the smaller children, then sweeping toward Myron at work killing rabbits, later settling for a while on each adult in turn, recording individual loneliness from a respectful distance, eventually zooming in on the damage caused by undeserved punishment and indiscriminate misery.

 

The woman is invited into the shack for supper. She tastes the soup. Feasts on accomplishments. Admires courage. She notes Dania's traditional, formless shape of anonymous womanhood. She hopes that Sofia's budding fashion sense will not be crushed by poverty prematurely. She smiles when she encounters Katya's imagination, her love of church with all its gleaming, glittering icons. She notices too, how deeply concerned the child is about the world around her. Katya who wants to pull the nails from Jesus' hands so he can fly. The woman feels, through this innocent child, the true spirit of Holy Communion. The spirit of sharing.

 

When the woman encounters the silent figure of Anna she mourns a family crippled by helplessness and ignorance, by emotional dependence and fear of the abyss. She sees the little boy who answers abuse with abuse. She sees the girl who shelters the weak and broken much too early in her young life.

 

The woman turns away in sorrow, aims her camera again at Myron, the man-child who is forced into the pursuit of manly violence. Unnecessary violence? Lack of skill? Neither his mind nor his weapons are razor-edged. Childhood outgrown too quickly. Victims suffer. Coming manhood might suffer too.

 

The woman? Is it Margaret Mead? Can't be Jane Goodall! Must be Shandi Mitchell. Author. A woman who shouts convulsive sentences across the prairie. The one who snatches wheat fields and family secrets from sepia photographs and turns their wounded memories into raging fires.

 

Yes, Claire-Wachtel, the characters are believable. Time and place surround me. I sit under the unbroken sky.          

 

 

Inspired Contributor
JoyZ
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Welcome to the discussion Claire.  I am really enjoying this family and I think Ms Mitchell's style of writing puts us right there viewing all that is taking place.  Her writing is so descriptive, that you can visualize everything so clearly which makes me feel like I am there.  I also love how she uses seasons to separate the story instead of chapters, which tells a part of the story.  I enjoy a variety of reading genres and find her writing style a refreshing change.  Thanks for bring this book to us.
MYK
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MYK
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I have a question for everyone. I was curious if anyone else feels we are missing just a bit of a time span regarding Anna and Stephan's arrival to Canada, how long before Maria's and Teodor's?

How did they live before Maria and Teodor arrived in Canada?

I saw this question in a previous post, but I'm having a hard time locating the post.

Either I missed a few lines, or there is a small bit of information missing.  Please help..

Thanks!

 

MYK

Distinguished Correspondent
chris227
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Okay guys I'm about a week behind with the posts so bear with me.  I'm going to reply to the opening post first and then read through everyone's responses so forgive me if I repeat what others may have said.

 

First, may I say that I think so far the novel is very well written but very depressing.  My heart goes out to this family, especially the children, as they struggle through these hard times.

 

I believe that Maria is a foog mother.  Though they don't have much she struggles to protect and fend for her children.  She is a hard worker, working tirelessly that they may have the little they do have.  Anna is depressed due to the horrible course her marriage has taken.  Her husband was abusive and raped her.  The rape resulted in a disabled child she is unwilling to accept, though, I believe it is more because of the circumstances of her conception than b/c of her disability. She is left alone and then must take in her brothers family when he is sent to prison.  The children, too, seem to be hard workers, working to do their part on the farm.  (Is anyone else having trouble keeping track of which child is which?)

 

I was a little frightened by Teodor initially (probably in response to the boys' first reaction to him).  He has grown on me though and I guess one should expect a hardened person to be released from prison.  It takes him some time to adjust to being out of prison and back with his family again but you can see that he loves his children, wife, and sister very much.

 

The family does not have much but they do their best with what they do have.  They work very hard to produce food and crops to try to turn their lives around.  Maria scrimps and saves everything.  I think that their dedication to each other allows each of them to work as hard as they do.

 

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Hi Claire and welcome to our group. 

I must say I have enjoyed this book very much.  I read it non-stop and couldn't wait to get home each night to continue reading.  I sat eating breakfast much longer than I should have and was late to work more times than I care to mention because I wanted to read just one more page.   I prefaced this before my questions to Shandi.

 

Yes, the characters are believable.  Not only does Shandi transport you to the time and place of the story, but she also brings you into the character's being.  I felt like a one-woman show, playing each part as I read the book.   This, coupled with my knowledge of the settling of the untamed praire, and I had no problem visualizing what their life was like.  And I wasn't that far off once I looked at the pictures posted of the Canadian prairie.

 

Shandi wrote to the point, and said it the way it was.  No mincing of words here.  She used descriptions only to set the stage.  Yes, she felt the people, she felt the place and she felt the time.  She wrote with love, so caringly about each character...even Stephan...and it came through loud and clear in the story.  I will reread the book once the book club is completed and I know I will love the book even more.  Now I am just waiting for Shandi to join the book club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Hi Claire,

 

Thanks so much for joining in.  I agree with you that this is an awesome debut novel.  Because of Shandi's writing style and vivid descriptions, I find myself so immersed in the story that it is hard to put the book down and stick to the reading schedule. 

 

As for your questions:  Yes!  I do find the characters very believable and they do transport me back to the time and place of the story.

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Correspondent
joyfull
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Count me as one who is thoroughly enjoying this book. I find myself very involved emotionally.

 

I liked that the Spring chapters were focused around the land. These are farmers and the dirt means everything to them. I loved the part of the story where they were planting the garden - of how Maria had carefully saved her seeds, how she prepared the garden last Fall and how Maria organized the turning of the soil and then planted the seeds in the Spring.

 

But then I also like Teodor's love of the dirt - how he sticks his fingers in and feels and smells the dirt to test its fertility (page 53).

 

Interesting how the land in the northern part of the province was set aside on the basis of race and nationality.

 

    "This was land set aside for laborers, non-whites, peasants with deep guttural languages and mysterious customs. It was a place of poor people, but the soil was rich."



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Margot
My blog: JoyfullyRetired.com
Inspired Correspondent
bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


Read-n-Rider wrote:

 

I wonder how Anna was able to establish the homestead for Teodor and family; did she have money of her own?  Did Stefan know and approve of her actions?  Furthermore, had Stefan and Anna successfully farmed their land for all those years before Teodor and family arrived in Canada?  It would appear so, but hardly fits with our image of Stefan; or did I miss some important information in doing my "research?"  Anyway, I came away with a somewhat higher regard for Anna than I had before.  She has been brutalized by an evil man and scarred by two terrible birth experiences and seems unable to cope with life and fulfill normal adult responsibilities.  However, she does exhibit loyalty to her brother and his family and does what she can to secure their future.  It will be interesting to see how her own future develops.

 

Joan



I was wondering some of the same things.  We see Stefan as a bad person, but was he the one who got the extra land?  It said in the book that Anna went and bought it, but how did she get the money?  Hopefully this will become more clear as the book progresses.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
Contributor
Stellaluna99
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-25-2008

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

[ Edited ]

I am anti-censorship and I am catholic. Neither of these two items came into play when I thought of Katya with the Host.  What did come to mind is that she is a child and unable to think abstractly.  To her, God is protection and the Host is God, hence saving pieces of Jesus for later.  To me, blasphemy is gross irreverance and that is the complete opposite of what Katya is doing. She wants to save Jesus, in case they run out. This alone shows how literal her brain works.  It was not meant to insult anything religious, but to show the reaction of a child raised within a religious environment, who believes in God, but just can't grasp the concept of God as anything but literal.  Google children's letters to God, you'll see some cute stuff and all of it is extremely literal. It is realistic for someone Katya's age and just further shows the level of character depth Ms Mitchell is able to create. At least that is my take :smileyhappy:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Linda10 wrote:

rkubie wrote:

biljounc63 wrote:

I found it interesting when Katya thought that the host was actually the Body of Christ and was afraid that it would run out so she spit out it out and saved it as a "dough ball". She did try to save it from the fire and is ended up dissolving in the water as she was escaping the fire. She thought that she had killed Christ. You never know what children pick up on and believe. I remember as a kid in the 60's that any music played on the radio was being preformed on the live at the radio station.


 

Yes! This was both comic (because the ball of spit-welded dough is a bit gross) and heartrending because it's such a truly genuine and brutal disappointment for her-She's so literal, so young!

 

I haven't posted anything thus far on this book.  I was going to wait until next week, I think it is, when Shandi and her editor will be here.  But as long as this topic has been brought up, I might as well say it now.

 

When Katya spits out Christ, this is not comic nor cute.  It is blasphemous.  No, I'm not going to rip out anyone's throat here.  But I would be amiss if I didn't say anything at all.  I'm giving these two posters as well as Shandi the benefit of the doubt, thinking that they don't know any better.  Being Catholic (and I know others of you are too), we are taught that the Host is, indeed, the body and blood of Christ.  We are taught this in our catechism before we make our First Communion so that we will respect God's body.  If Katya is old enough to be receiving Holy Communion, then she's also been taught to respect the Host.  This is why I say that I feel that Shandi doesn't know any better or else she would never have put this into her story.  At the very least, it's historically incorrect information.

 

I will even go so far as to ask, even urge, Shandi and her editor to remove these portions before the final printing of the book.  In doing so, it would not interfere with the main plot of the story whatsoever.  After all, we are the First Lookers.  We get to comment on things we don't like as well as what we do like.  This is our opportunity to have any changes made.  (And I know this has been done in the past.  Vivico had a discussion, along with some others, with Lisa See; and Lisa actually did make some changes.)

 

I know that some (or even a lot) of you are going to scream censorship.  I'm prepared to hear that.  But there's a huge difference between leaving out, for example, the "F" word and blasphemy.  There's a point where people cross the line; and this is one of them.

 

For those of you who may not understand why my fur is flying, let's use this as an example.  Let's say that Katya, instead, drew pictures of the Star of David.  Then after every time she drew one, she would then spit on it OR throw it into the fire while laughing OR took it with her to the outhouse so she could use it to "finish up her business."  I think there would be an outpouring of outrage.

 

I know that I'm going to get slammed here for this post.  So be it.  If one can't stand up for their religious beliefs, then we no longer live in a free society.  Tolerance is a two-way street.  But I can't, in good conscience, just sit back and say or do nothing.  I love God.  Like I said, I'm giving Shandi and the posters the benefit of the doubt.  But I feel people need to understand how important this truly is.  If no one teaches you, then how do you learn?

 


 

Message Edited by Stellaluna99 on 08-07-2009 11:46 PM
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


Claire-Wachtel wrote:

Hello, everyone,

 

 

I'd like to introduce myself as Shandi Mitchell's U.S. editor. Over the past year, I have collabroated with Shandi's Canadian and British editors to bring this marvelous book into your hands and to make this international publication as successful as possible.

 

 

Though I have worked in publishing for 28 years, seldom have I come across a debut novel so beautiful and haunting. A little back story. I first read this novel just over a year ago. It came to me as a double-spaced Word document, looking nothing like the book pages you are now holding. I remember reading Shandi's early manuscript on my lap, on the train (with nothing but a rubber band to hold it all together!), when I first came to the harrowing fire scene. I distinctly recall this moment in the book because I missed my train stop entirely. And that's when I realized how enthralled I was with Shandi's writing - - how completely immersed I had become in the world that she had so powerfully created. Of course, I then caught the next train headed in the opposite direction and rushed home to read onward. When I later showed the manuscript to Harper's publisher, Jonathan Burnham, he agreed that it was one of the best novels he had read all year. And the rest is history.

 

 

I couldn't agree more with JeniferKAllison when she writes:


When the fire comes, we feel the heat, we feel the fear, we want to beat the fire down along with Theo and the children and we cry when Theo send them away and stays behind to continue fighting.  The fear that Theo is lost in the fire is palpable, and we wait with baited breath to learn how much grain we have lost. 

 

I say we because by now the Reader is fully vested in this story, so much so that it feels like our own.  


That was the exact moment, too, that I felt fully vested in this story. Lucky for me, I was in a position to share this moment with thousands upon thousands of other readers who might see the same beauty, feel the same heat, and ultimately make the same investment in Shandi's story that I did.

 

 

I've been reading your thoughtful comments for several days, and, having gotten a better feel for your interests and concerns, I'm happy to join the discussion. Let me begin by asking a couple of questions that are always on my mind as an editor: Are the characters believable to you? Do they transport you to a time and place?

 

 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Welcome Claire,

 

You ask, are these characters believable?....do I go into another time and place while reading?  The answer is unequivocally, yes.  The interesting part about this book, for me, is this author's style of writing.  Without her heart, and without her brilliance, what do you have?  Nothing.  

 

From the moment I started reading, no I didn't have to wait until the fire to appreciate what I had in my hands:  I held this book, and saw the blood on the pages; I felt the heat from the sun, and the cold from the winter sky:  My hands wiped away the tears I felt, away from my eyes, and away from the eyes of these people who rendered my heart in two.  I was truly touched by the profound resonance of it all. 

 

All the best,

 

Kathy S.

Contributor
Stellaluna99
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-25-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Hi Claire and thanks for popping in!

 

To answer your questions, Yes and Yes. The characters are completely believable. I have finished the book (sorry, couldn't help myself) and was able to follow pattern of thoughts and behaviors like I knew them personally. Each character has their own personality and voice and the behaviors of each just reiterates that.  Seldom do I catch myself gasping at something while I read and several spots had me doing that. Although I won't reveal any spoilers, I'm sure you know exactly what scenes I'm speaking of! 

What I did notice, and it took me halfway into the book to realize it, was the lack of dialogue that happens.  Ms. Mitchell's writing is so fluid and descriptive that you don't realize how few quotations there actually are. She has mastered the first rule of writing...Show, Don't Tell.

Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Welcome, Claire! Thank you for joining us. You asked us two questions and here are my responses.

 

The characters are and aren't real to me. Let me explain. Shandi does a marvelous job of describing the characters, but the characters aren't talking to me. I feel for the characters but haven't reached the point where I feel with the characters. I am a very active reader, actively involved in the story and its characters. This story is different as it is being told to me. It is not a bad thing. It is just a different way for me to read. So, I am adjusting and learning as I go. The story, people, and settings are powerful, and this book invites me to sit down and watch, although I too felt the heat of the fire and tasted the dust! Thank you for enabling this book to be published. Thank you for enabling us to read it!

 

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
Frequent Contributor
deannafrances
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎07-19-2008

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I would like to say a few words regarding the Host incident.  I attended Catholic school for grade and high school.  In the olden days, the nuns and priests were much stricter and there were different standards.  I remember being in grade school and being told by the nuns --never never chew the host at Communion.  it was then a rumor in my second grade class that if you did, because it was the body of Christ--the host would bleed in your mouth.

 

Now this was in the fifties and I can tell you if you came home from school and would have said the Sisters said--your parents and grandparents would say--it must be true...

 

So I remember sitting in the pew wondering and daring myself to let the Eucharist touch my teeth and being terrified --would it really bleed---so the author is describing a child's response--she is not being disrespectful to religion. 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Stellaluna,

 

I came to the same conclusion: this is "Show, don't tell"  at its very best. Dialogue usually gives life to the pages, but this novel is so packed with life that I didn't realize that there was little dialogue at times. It felt as if the characters were speaking through the description of their actions. That even nature was speaking - through fire, through soil, through the snow flakes. 


Stellaluna99 wrote:

Hi Claire and thanks for popping in!

 

To answer your questions, Yes and Yes. The characters are completely believable. I have finished the book (sorry, couldn't help myself) and was able to follow pattern of thoughts and behaviors like I knew them personally. Each character has their own personality and voice and the behaviors of each just reiterates that.  Seldom do I catch myself gasping at something while I read and several spots had me doing that. Although I won't reveal any spoilers, I'm sure you know exactly what scenes I'm speaking of! 

What I did notice, and it took me halfway into the book to realize it, was the lack of dialogue that happens.  Ms. Mitchell's writing is so fluid and descriptive that you don't realize how few quotations there actually are. She has mastered the first rule of writing...Show, Don't Tell.


 

Inspired Contributor
Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Maria_ My initial impressions are that Maria is always concerned, worried about her children.

"As always, she takes a moment to count them in their sleep." Five children snuggled together on a strw mattress.....Maria counts, almost to assure herself that she hasn't lost one during the day."  I find it strange that she counts her children. Is it because she is so full of fear for their safety on the farm, wandering off, illness?

 

Teodor is in his own little world. He is still in a self imposed prison. He has not released himself from the isolation he spent in jail. He still counts his steps. He knows how many days and nights he spent, "600 days and nights reduced to scratches on a wall."

He even knows how many paces he stepped in his 8 X 8 cell. "Five steps wall, five steps-wall

 

So while Maria is counting her children each day, Teodor is counting his steps

He stays in his prison, while the children and Maria observe and wait for him

 

I don't know why I feel this way, but during the Spring when Teodor returns, everything in this first chapter is about time or distanceTime spent in jail, time spent walking in his cell, thirteen days in steerage.  "One year renting land..." "You have three years to pay it back." The distance from one wall in the jail to the other side is 8 feet. Anna lives only 8 inches on the other side of a log wall, yet still hasn't visited him.  

 

He was arrested for taking one wagonload of seed. Why so specific. Shandi gives lots of details about time, counting and distance. Is this for a reason

 

At one point Teodor is smoking outside and he can't remember the number of days ago he was in jail....just the number of steps. "One hundred and eighty-six thousand steps

Then he says "I'm still here," his voice rasps

 

Just as Maria checks to make sure her children are all in bed, all five, Teodor is checking to make sure he is still here tooI find the parallels awesome

 

He realizes he is alive and part of the family again, when he reaches down and picks up the soil, as he refers to the soil as a feminine noun. He says, "For a moment, he thinks he can feel her heart beating, but realizes it is his own pulse. This surprises him, because it means he is still alive."

 

It is at this moment in time, (Again like a picture from the first page) that Teodor realizes where he is and that he is still alive.

 

Maria is shown to be resourceful while Teodor was away

 

 


The other point I wanted to make was the symbol of the coyote that is introduced in the Spring. When Maria and Teodor are together after the children are put to bed, Maria notices that Teodor is not listening, he is distant. She notices his forehead is furrowed and creased near his eyes.

 

He is listening instead to a lone coyote. It's "plaintive howl echoes across the prairie....

In the sustain, the coyote stops and listens. Calling for someone to answer him, someone to find him."   This is the end of the chapter.

 

Shandi connects Teodor to Anna when the next chapter begins as "Anna is awake, she hears the coyote calling her. Anna never sleeps at night. Not for the last twenty nights, anyway, not since Stefan came home drunk."

 

So in this part of "Spring" I think we see that Teodor and Anna are very close as brother and sister. Anna is also afraid, afraid of her husband. And....once again we see Shandi counting the number of nights. She is very precise in her use of time

 

 



 

 

 

 

Wisteria,

"Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds a way into his heart."

The Shadow of the Wind,
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Inspired Contributor
Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Stefan and Anna are very different. Stefan is afraid of the prairie and the first night "kept a pistol and rifle at his side." Anna said, "she knew he was afraid."

 

 

In this chapter is the first appearance of the coyote on the first night they are on the  prairieAnna was not afraid that night, but after Stefan got drunk (refer to previous) she became afraid

 

When Anna hears the coyote howl the night that Teodor does, it has been twenty nights since Stefan raped her. Now "she can feel it growing in her belly." She refers to her baby as an it, which is so unlike a mother to be. She hates this baby. There is no sex other than an IT

 

However....the coyote is back and Shandi writes. "She listens to the coyote calling calling calling

"I'm here, " she whispers back. "I'm here." 

 

Who is the coyote in her mind? What does the coyote represent? Is the coyote her comfort?

Is the coyote the husband she wished she had? Is the coyote her courage to carry on?

 

 


Continuation.... from previous post

I have to keep coming back to Shandi's use of time again and again. "Teodor sleeps for three days and three nights."

 

 

It's interesting how specific the garden is designed. Shandi writes about the 3-foot high fence, the area is 60 X 40, they used 20 wheelbarrows of manure, 6 bundles of hay. However, when planting the garden she only refers to planting "row upon row"..."carefully spacing them..."

There is no reference here to distance of the rows, distance between each row and the number of seeds for each variety. I wonder why this is so sketchy?

 

These are just a few initial thoughts...What does everyone else think?

 

Wisteria,

"Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds a way into his heart."

The Shadow of the Wind,
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Correspondent
ssizemore
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I agree totally with the comments of L'il Irish Lass.  This family is trying desperately to survive in a world where they are treated unjustly.  The very nature of the land causes terrible deprivation and hardship.  Katya is a little girl and does not understand the deep theology of the communion ceremony.  As a child, I wasn't allowed to take communion until I joined the church at age 12 (I am Methodist).  My parents believed that I couldn't understand before that.  The thinking changed with my own children and they were allowed to take communion as part of the family of God.  They understood as children understand what was happening there.  I do know that the Catholic Mass involves much more than that, but I do think that little Katya misunderstood the words---yet she kept the host close to her so that Jesus would be with and protect her family.  I once had an experience where my four yr-old asked me how deep you had to dig before the devil found you.  Unclear understand of theology for sure!

As for censoring the passages--this book represents the thoughts and creative expression of the author!  If we do not agree with it---we shouldn't read any further and should not recommend it to others--the BEST form of censorship!

Contributor
JeniferKAllison
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-06-2009

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Linda10 wrote:

Being Catholic (and I know others of you are too), we are taught that the Host is, indeed, the body and blood of Christ.  We are taught this in our catechism before we make our First Communion so that we will respect God's body.  If Katya is old enough to be receiving Holy Communion, then she's also been taught to respect the Host.  This is why I say that I feel that Shandi doesn't know any better or else she would never have put this into her story.  At the very least, it's historically incorrect information.

 

 

Linda - what I think you may be missing is that Katya was not trying to be disrespectful to the Host.  She does indeed believe (as you and so many other Catholics are tought) that the Host is really and truly the body of Christ.  She is so young and believes that so strongly that she worries that the Church will someday run out of the Christ.  This is why she "spits him out", it's not because she is spitting it in disgust, it is because she wants to be sure that her children will someday have the Body of Christ still.  

Removing this bit from the story would indeed take a good deal away.  Through this we get to know what type of person Katya is.  She is a little girl, an honest and scared and truly believing little girl.  I do not see any disrespect here whatsoever, I see a child being afraid of losing Christ - literally.