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Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Final Thoughts?


rkubie wrote:

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read?  Some readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you?

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly?

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly?

 

 


This is exactly the type of book I typically read.  Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I like to read about times and places unknown to me.  This is how I learn history --- the fun way!

 

I expect a book to have a realistic ending, whatever that may be for that book.  This ending was realistic.

 

There is hope, but most of all, there is perseverance, and because of perseverance, there can be hope.

 

Almost every character will stick with me in some way, except Dania and Sofia.

 

The scene on page 124 where Katya holds up Christ with the snakes swimming past her in the lake while it is surrounded by fire is full of imagery and will stay with me.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts?

It is one of my favorites, as well.

DSaff wrote:

That is one of my favorite scenes, too.


dhaupt wrote:

The scene that sticks out in my mind is the scene I picked out for my favorite, it's the one where little Ivan and the other children are presented to Teodor after he returns from prison where Ivan says "It's Him". 


 

 


 


 

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

Re: Final Thoughts?

[ Edited ]

Unfortunately I have not had as much time as I'd like to read all the replies and be part of every discussion.  This book was fantastic and there is so much I'd love to say about it!!

I can't say it's not the type of book I usually read, because my interests vary so greatly; but I can say that I probably wouldn't have purchased it.  I typically am gifted novels more often than I buy them, although I do buy a lot of historical fiction and this sort of fits that.  

I am absolutely thrilled to have been able to be part of this FL however, because this book is one that I would not want to miss.  The rare and beautiful honesty of the book, the heartbreak and smiles that were all so real, was a special treat.  

I said I am usually gifted novels as opposed to buying them, that is not entirely true.  I often buy novels that I know and love as gifts and I will definitely be gifting this book to many many friends! 

I really do believe that its left a positive mark on my life.   I do feel a sense of hope when I look back on the story we've shared.  A sense that no matter what life throws at a family, if the family has a strong back bone (like a loving and giving mother) it can survive.  That, as a mother, gives me the best and most beautiful kind of hope. 

Having said that, I can say for certain that Maria will stay in my mind, and in my heart, for years and years to come.  Her devotion, her selflessness, her pride, love, and passion are things to strive for in my life.  She was the epitomy of wife and mother, I pray that I am near what she was.  

The scene for me, although right now there are many, I think would be Theos homecoming.  Being a military wife, I have spent many nights alone waiting for the return of my husband and been proud that I was able to "keep the homefires burning".  The conditions under which Maria did that, and the conditions Theo suffered while gone were so much worse than any I can imagine, and his return was really nothing short of miraculous.  The feeling I got when she looked into his eyes and recognized her Love is one that does not easily leave a person.  That thumping of the heart, that instant the eyes meet, like finding love at first sight all over again.  That was a beautiful moment and Ms. Mitchell brought it to life perfectly, for me.

This book will go on my 'classics' shelf, because I'm sure that in years to come it will become just that.  I loved every second of it and will share it with many others who I know will do the same!

Thank you so much for this chance!!

Message Edited by JeniferKAllison on 08-25-2009 09:14 AM
Message Edited by JeniferKAllison on 08-25-2009 09:15 AM
Contributor
LKD_726
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-16-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?

I have to admit that Under This Unbroken Sky isn't something that I would usually pick up to read.  I lean more towards mystery, suspense, romance type of genres.  This was a really difficult read for me but Ms. Mitchell's writing is brilliant.

 

I think what I will take away from this novel is the theme of hope and perseverance even in the darkest of times.  Not to mention Maria's constant faith that things will get better.

 

The scene that has stayed with me the most is Katya in the water with all the the snakes. 

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pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

For me this book is a maybe I would have picked up. Or if a friend recommended it.

But I really enjoyed the book. The Fall section seemed to slow down for me, brought anticipation that Winter was coming with all the hardships for families at the time.

I think the book brought me to see through their eyes all the good and the bad. There was a lot of tragedy in the book, but that is true to the time and place they lived in.

I think the author gave a good account of the struggle at that time.

I guess this is partially a review.

Also I liked how the author described things so well. It was very well written.

pen21

New User
MyMusings
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-29-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?

I'd  have to say that this is a book I would not probably pick up.  I actually got this book on accident.  I was supposed to get The Amanda Project, but I got this book instead.  I don't think I've ever been happier that a mix-up occured.  This book is a lot "heavier" than books that I normally pick up.

 

I still have not been able to completely decipher my feelings towards Anna.  I am completely appalled by her actions, yet at the same time, I can understand her feeling of being trapped.  I felt so sad for her children.  I don't think there is a worse feeing in the entire world than that of knowing you are not wanted.  No human should have to experience that, yet people do everyday.

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

Re: Final Thoughts?

 

Maybe because I carry with me some unresolved mother/daughter issues I will remember Anna and Lesya's hopeless relationship most. Lesya tried, at times, to draw her mother out of her depression into the real world, and though reality was harsh and unforgiving, at least facing it together would have eased their respective burdens of loneliness. What will stick with me is the progression of despair, the escalation of hallucinatory internal desolation that brings Anna to the destruction of what might have been a perfect baby. Simultaneously Lesya destroys her own hope for a better life when she kills Happiness. In her childish mind handicap, uselessness, and bad behaviour are one and the same, punishable by death.

 

There is no one scene for me to remember more than others; what I am fascinated by is Shandi Mitchell's unerring march toward extracting hope from a nearly hopeless life. Not only does she create the situations that make life so difficult; she uses them to develop each family member's character - level of self-discipline, pain threshold, coping skills, endurance. In the final chapters Ms. Mitchell performs surgery on the cancerous growths that keep hope from gaining a foothold.

 

She sends Stefan away. He can't be killed off because he needs to suffer for a long time for his misdeeds. She allows Teodor to go to rest after many years of being abused by political systems, by unkind people, by bad luck (in lieu of a better word) and she gives him the final task of eliminating his sister who was too weak to participate in a healthy new life. It must have been a difficult decision for the author to separate the two children, Petro and Lesya, from the remaining family, but it was necessary to give Maria and her brood a chance for success. In the end the ground for hope is prepared. The "unbroken" are ready to give it a chance.

 

My favorite reading material has to do with memoirs and biographies, stories of and by women, their struggles, their travels, their obsessions, their idiosyncrasies. A few come to mind: Azar Nafisi. Ayya Khema. Georgia O'Keeffe. Frida Kahlo. Margaret Mead. Freya Stark. Doris Lessing. Mary Cassatt. Isabella Bird. Arundhati Roy. And lately Emily Carr and Alice Munro.

Other books I read with great interest are about foreign countries. Things like "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. Or "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. And one of my all time favorites "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson."

Of course I adore the classics like "Anna Karenina" and "Madame Bovary."

 

I don't know if I would have bought "Under This Unbroken Sky" at Barnes & Noble on one of my frequent visits. I would probably have picked it up and read the back cover. I might have gone home and looked up the name. Read a few reviews. Read about Shandi Mitchell. Put it on a waiting list. Maybe next time.

 

So ... thank you Barnes & Noble for the experience. Thank you Paul for your guidance. Thank you Rachel for running this group so smoothly. Thank you group for your thoughtful input, your wisdom, your sharp attention to detail. Another great discussion. Another ton of notes in my Reading Journal.

 

 

 


rkubie wrote:

Hi all,

 

Most of us have finished and had a few days to think about the novel. Please use this thread to share how you look back over it.

 

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read?  Some readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you?

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly?

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly?

 

 


 

Frequent Contributor
Lildove3
Posts: 96
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Under This Unbroken Sky was a novel that had a rollar coaster feeling. At first,

you would feel sorry for some of the characters, then hate them and some you

might have felt compassion for. Shandi Mitchell did  marvelous and I applause her

for the opportunity to have read such a creative book.  Once again First Look staff

and B&N thankyou for giving me another great chance to be apart of another Arc.

Inspired Contributor
melisndav
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read?  Some readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

I liked this book for several reasons.  Not typically my normal genre but I do change it up from time to time.  Either way, if the book ends on a happy or tragic note, I don't care as long as the rest of the book held my attention, which this one did.

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you? 

 

I found myself hoping that this family would come out on top as they have had such a hard life.

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly?  Stefan - reminds me to stay away from characters like that :smileywink:

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly?  The scene where Theo realizes that Anna had killed the baby.

Reader 4
rla8180
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-17-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?

I read a variety of genres so Unbroken Sky is not necessarily out of the ordinary for me.  

 

In the beginning, I sympathized with the characters, but as the story went on, I could not find anything to like about any of them except Maria. She was a strong character and I had no trouble imagining her starting over and moving on with her life.  She would do whatever it would take to care for her family.

 

 The scene that sticks with me the most is the scene with the coyote and the baby.  In fact, I can't get that scene out of my mind.  I read it several times to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding what was happening. 

 

I can't say that I enjoyed the story, but I enjoyed the writing.  I finished the book a while ago but I still continue to think about it.  To me, that is the sign of a good author--to write something so compelling and strike a nerve so that the reader continues to think about your work means you're doing something right!

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pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Very well said.

pen21


rla8180 wrote:

I read a variety of genres so Unbroken Sky is not necessarily out of the ordinary for me.  

 

In the beginning, I sympathized with the characters, but as the story went on, I could not find anything to like about any of them except Maria. She was a strong character and I had no trouble imagining her starting over and moving on with her life.  She would do whatever it would take to care for her family.

 

 The scene that sticks with me the most is the scene with the coyote and the baby.  In fact, I can't get that scene out of my mind.  I read it several times to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding what was happening. 

 

I can't say that I enjoyed the story, but I enjoyed the writing.  I finished the book a while ago but I still continue to think about it.  To me, that is the sign of a good author--to write something so compelling and strike a nerve so that the reader continues to think about your work means you're doing something right!


 

Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Under this Unbroken Sky is definitely different from what I normally read.  Initially, I was going to pass on this one, but I am glad that I didn't.  I did not expect the story to end the way it did. I like books with happy endings.  This could have had a "happy ever after" ending, but that would not have been realistic.  The characters were depicted in a realistic manner and it was not always pretty.  The times they lived in were hard and Shandi Mitchell did a very good job of telling the story just that way. 

 

Maria, Teodor and Anna will stay in my memory more than the other characters, but all for different reasons.  Maria, because of her strength and her pride.  Maria did what she had to do to take care of her family.  She loved her family and it showed throughout the story. Teodor was also a proud man, but his pride took him in the opposite direction of Maria's pride.  I think Teodor loved his family also, but he did not always put the family first when he made decisions.  Anna will stay in my memory because I actually felt sorry for her.  She obviously suffered some type of mental disorder.  I don't believe that she was in total control of her actions.  There was no help for her and she continued to get worse.  She was not living, she was existing.  If Stephan had never come back, she may have been able to pull herself out of her mental state.  But having him back only drove her deeper into another world. 

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Correspondent
CJINCA
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-28-2008

Re: Final Thoughts?


rkubie wrote:

Hi all,

 

Most of us have finished and had a few days to think about the novel. Please use this thread to share how you look back over it.

 

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to readSome readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

This is the kind of book I loveIt is something I would likely have picked up on my ownIt's OK with me if the book has a tragic ("realistic"?) ending, I am not reading for pure escapismI'd rather have a compelling story and interesting characters.

 

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you?

 

Yes, I found hope hereFor the most part these were people of incredible determination and strength, I am optimistic that the family will survive.

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly?

 

Teodor is someone I think about a lothe showed such amazing personal strength, determination and independenceThese traits that brought him and his family to Canada (and to freedom) but were also what brought about his first prison sentence ("It's MY grain") and would have brought about his second prison sentence ("A man should be able to have a drink in his own house.") 

 

So Teodor is a man ultimately broken because he would not bend, he could not compromise, could not be pragmatic -- unlike Maria, the ultimate survivor.

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly?

 

Yes, the scene where seven-year-old Petro joins his father Stefan in mocking his poor mother Anna broke my heart about three different ways.

 

 


Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts?

The character that will stick with me is Lesya. My heart ached for her. She worked so hard and was so wise for her young age. The scene when she killed Happiness was one of the saddest things I've ever read. This book as a whole will be one I won't forget. Yvonne
Wordsmith
Anna_Louise
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎06-17-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

UTUS is not different from what I normally read as I try to read all types of genres and love to discover new authors and books.  While UTUS has a tragic ending, it is still one filled with hope, courage and grace.  Maria demonstrates that again and again in the novel.  We can all look to Maria as an example of how we should be when we are stuck with tragedy in our lives.  Shandi did an excellent job with her portrait of Maria.  I could only wish to be filled with such grace as she!

 

I loved the writing style of Shandi.  It was so real and the visualization of the various scences drew me into the book.  I could feel the heat, cold, happiness, sorrow, struggle as though I was there with the two families.

 

I think the scence that will stay with me the most is the one of Ivan looking into Theo's eyes and stating "It's him".  I cried over that and still brings tears to my eyes of such a loving, caring young boy!

 

I loved this book and definately will be buying it and recommending it to others.  Thank you Shandi for writing such a beautiful novel, Paul for all your hard work and dedication, Rachael for running this First Look at UTUS and Barnes & Noble for getting the galleries to us and allowing us to be a part of this wonderful online group.

 

I can only close by saying that for my first time in First Look it has been a wonderful experience having met some fantastic friends while enjoying my love for books and reading.  Thanks once again for the joy that was brought to my life over this last month and I look forward to future endeavors!  :womanvery-happy:

 

Anna

 

 

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts?

My final thoughts:

 

In addition to just completely enjoying the absolutely beautiful prose in this novel what I will take away with me most are the characters of Maria and Lesya. To me, they represent resilience, perseverance, the will to go on and meet the challenges and obstacles that life places in our paths. Lesya is just a child and I'm not certain how she will turn out in the end. I think (hope) she will be ok and find her niche and make a meaningful life for herself and those around her. I know for sure that Maria will. 

Teodore was truly a tragic and haunting character.

Ihave already recommended this beautiful novel to many of my reading friends. The book, and its characters will stay with me. 

 

Thanks again to everyone at Barnes & Noble, Shandi Mitchell & the members of the First Look Book Club! 

Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I know that I am late in responding to this thread.  I have been thinking about my final thoughts for Under This Unbroken Sky.  I have to again say how much I enjoyed reading this book.  I know that it didn't have a happy ending, but I don't need that for a book to draw me in.
I read a variety of books, often best sellers or award winning books so not necessarily any particular genre.  I would think that UTUS fits right in because I am sure it will be a best seller and probably an award winning book once people find it.
 I have alread given my book to my daughter to read so it is a little difficult for me to give my favorite scene except from memory.  I think my favorite scene was when Maria and Teodor were getting ready to do to their neighbor's and the children were helping them to look their best.  For some reason, the scene that stays with me the most (not necessarily my favorite scene) is when Teodore has first returned to the farm and is outside in the night and Anna is at her window.  Neither of them is aware of the other yet they were looking toward each other.   Haunts me.
 Kathy

 


 

gl
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gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts?


rkubie wrote:

Hi all,

 

Most of us have finished and had a few days to think about the novel. Please use this thread to share how you look back over it.

 

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read?  Some readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you?

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly?

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly?

 

 


Under This Unbroken Sky isn't a book that I would have chosen on my own.  The writing is so powerful and certain passages were so sad that I had to pause, put the book down, and come back to it.  I'm glad to have had the chance to read the book and to read everyone else's responses, and the insight from the author.  I do enjoy books that aren't as depressing but this book was so powerful that I am very glad to have found it.

 

The FL selections are unusual and push me to new directions - which is wonderful and greatly appreciated.

 

Knowing that the story was based on real events in Shandi Mitchell's family does lighten the sadness and bring some hope, but without this knowledge I would say that the worst events in the plot blotted out the sense of hope.

 

I wish I could say that I was sympathetic to the weaker and greedy characters but I wasn't. I hated Stefan, despised Anna, was annoyed at Sofia and Petrov.  I did admire Teodor, Anna, Myron, and Lesya.  I liked Dania and Katya for their spirit and loyalty as well.

 

 

I found Myron's interaction with his father and his sensitivity to his father's loss of face touching.  I particularly remember how he first saw his father, how he helped sell the grain, and how Myron would trek out to collect the rabbits from the snares.  

 

Dania cleaning off her mother's blankets is another moving scene. 

 

Contributor
akymberli
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎09-24-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I enjoyed this book immensely, though at times it was hard for me to keep reading.  Usually my stomach would begin to hurt and I would have to break away for a bit so I could finally come back to read the scene that was being built up to. 

 

I read everything, so I would have stumbled upon this sooner or later.  But, it is always nice to read a book before it becomes a best seller and everyone is talking about it, so I want to thank First Look for that opportunity~

 

The scenes that will stick with me the most are the night of the fire and when Maria climbs in bed with the children and tells them "The Mitten".  I can vividly see Myron lying alone, mouthing every word.

 

I also liked the strength and gentleness of Lesya and will remember her in her little nest inside the chicken house.

 

Kim

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kittykat59
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎12-08-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read?  Some readers on the boards have said they try to choose books that are ultimately uplifting, and have trouble with tragic endings. Do you  feel that way?

 

This is not a book I would have normally picked up. I'm so pleased it was choosen as one of First Look selections because I thoroughly enjoyed it, tragic ending and all.

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you?

 

It was very hopeful especially with Maria being such a strong woman. 

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly? 

 

Anna, and the tragic way she lived her life.