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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Final Thoughts?

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?

 

 

Reader
Amanda9542
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-01-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?

I really liked reading this book. I loved and I hated certain characters. Right from the start, I despised Stefan and his greed for everything in life. I felt sorry for Anna in the beginning, but as the story progressed I couldn't stand her either. I did feel sadness for Lesya and Petro. Their home life was so irradic, they didn't know which way was up and could enjoy their childhood. Maria was strong and because of that, her family was strong. I respected her. Teodor reminded me of my husband, rough around the edges but a loving father and husband. Myron would grow to be like his father and Dania like her mother. Sofia irritated me on occasion. I wished that she would be able to embrace her heritage and her family, but hers will always be struggle to remake herself. Katya and Ivan were young, so its hard for me to picture who they will grow to be.

 

I read all genres of books, so this wasn't necessarily out of the norm for me. The ending was sad, I admit that I did cry.

 

With Maria, there was always hope for the future. She was brave and strong because she had to be for her children. SHe gave them hope.

 

I don't think any one character will stay with me in particular. The scene that will stick with me the longest is the scene with the coyotes and the baby. It was awful reading it, I kept hoping that Teodore would would get to the baby in time. It makes my heart ache to type about it now.

 

 

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misslynn
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-18-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?

I tend to enjoy books that stir me emotionally and this book definately did. Anna is the result of what would happen if options were taken away from women. I saw that from the time that she attempted to abort her fetus and then ultimately kill it. She accepted a good for nothing husband as the best she could do at her age and in her circumstance. We can hate her all we want. She was immature and worthless as a wife or mother. Yet, she was bred to be spoiled and she could not make the transition into the life of a struggling immigrant. Women today take their choices for granted: We can leave an abusive husband, prevent pregnancy, abort pregnancy, use child care or not. Yet, without these options, life could be a stifling and oppressive situation. Would be be as bad ad Anna? Well, some women still are. Not all women are meant to be mothers just because they have uteruses and ovulate. At least today, women can choose to accept motherhood or not. I guess I think about Anna the most. Her being is very complex- and it is very difficult to shrug her off as evil given the circumstances of the time period.
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EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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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?

 

 


Normally I would not have read this book even though I read some of almost everything, I still have a comfort zone for buying books.  That's what I love about FL, it takes me out of my comfort zone. 

The scene that sticks in mind mind most clearly is the way Theo prepared his self before ending his life.  Until the gun went off, I thought he was going to just run away.

Maria is the character that stays with me.  She carried on despite all that had happened and didn't let circumstances make her bitter.  

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momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-11-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Is Unbroken Sky different from what you usually choose to read? 

I read different genres to keep things interesting and to expand my worldview, so reading this novel was not a great departure for me.

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you? The novel was replete with hardship, but it was during this time that we saw human nature at its ugliest and most beautiful (which is a reflection of real life). We all go through difficulties and it was inspiring to see how some people chose to react to it. Especially Maria, who continued to care about Anna, even when it was so difficult to do so. I feel that they survived before and they will continue to do so. As for Lesya and Petro, life might turn our better for them now that they cannot be influenced by their broken, selfish parents.

 

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

 

I think Lesya and Myron will stay with me as they were strong, caring characters. Lesya was gentle and hard working despite her handicup; Myron was a strong and faithful son.

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,836
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Final Thoughts?

Unbroken Sky is not a novel that I would ordinarily choose to read, I am one of those who craves happy endings. Ever since my husband's cancer diagnosis I tend to stay away from tragic novels, I don't mind crime novels as long as I know that my hero and heroine are safe from the tragedy. But I also loved this book and part of the reason I choose to read with First Look is to take me from my comfort zone sometimes kicking and screaming so that I do get to enjoy things I don't ordinarily read.

I do find hope at the end of the novel, and I choose to believe that Maria and her family will persevere.

Lesya is the character that will stay in my mind the longest, she gives me hope even though she had endured countless tragedies. She's like timex and the energizer bunny and keeps on keeping on no matter the harsh realities of her life.

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". 

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts?

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". 


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Lil_Irish_Lass
Posts: 163
Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I'll admit, this is not a book I would have ever picked up in a bookstore and taken to the cash register with me. It's just not a genre I read or enjoy. (80% of what I read was either written in or in the style of Victorian Era novels).

But since it was free and I really enjoy taking part in the FL discussions I thought I would give it a go and I'm glad I did. I found myself wanting to be able to pick the book up again and continue the story, I got emotionally involved with the characters. 

I  hated Stefan and wanted to strangle Petro for ratting Theo out. My heart broke for Leysa as she killed Happiness and I cheered Maria on for keeping her family (and Anna's) alive for so long on so little.

Theo was the perfect role model for so many men during that time in history (and any time really) who really didn't do anything wrong but who got sent to prison for being poor and not having any choice other than doing what he had to so that his family would survive. It was the system and a nation that didn't care that it's land was being cultivated by the immigrants who broke their backs tilling the soil that sealed Theo's fate in the end. While some see suicide as a sign of weakness (and sometimes it is), I think Theo's suicide showed his strength and honesty about what he knew he could endure and what he couldn't. He knew he'd die in prison so it was better for him to go on his own terms from this world than on someone else's over something so stupid as a batch of homemade alcohol.

 

The title also made me stop and really think about the symbolism of an unbroken sky.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts?

Yes , Under this Unbroken Sky is different for me. I would normally not read this genre but I found this book a great read. It had it little bit of everything in it.

 

The novel did have a lot of hardship in it for the families. After reading it was clear that the families would work out their difficulties. The majority of people have difficulties but they manage to overlook some things to get on with their life. Maria was like that with Anna. She helped even though she knew Theo didn't get along with Stefan.  

 

Maria's character will stay with me as strong character. She was a courageous woman for her time. Her pregnancy didn't stop her from taking care of her sister in-law. She was more concerned about Anna's well being then her own. She knew she would be ok she just had make sure everyone else would be also.

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Final Thoughts?

[ Edited ]

This is the type of book I typically buy - family and character driven, or how people react to outside events.  And I loved it.  I'm heartened that other readers have also liked the book even though it may not be the style they generally choose.

 

I also liked that our discussions made me focus more on the details of the novel than I usually do, as I read to be entertained or challenged and often just tear through the book to get at the next one.  This slow unfolding of the story that came by sticking with the reading schedule, and the discussions strengthened my appreciation of the book.  Tragic endings happen and I don't need to have a happy ending to feel satisfied, as long as I see a glimmer of hope for the future, which I did in this case.  I believe that Maria and her children will persevere and ultimately find a way to support themselves. 

 

Images and characters that will stay with me are Anna and her madness, Lesya and her chicken, Maria and her faith, strength and love of family.

 

Jane M.

 

 

Message Edited by JaneM on 08-24-2009 09:36 AM
Jane M.
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Zephyr_Marie
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I may not have purchased this book right away, but I might have picked it up at the library if I had come across it. It isn't my usual genre, but when I had read the description originally, it had definitely grabbed my attention and I was interested.

 

With so much tragedy in the book, I found it hard to find much hope, to be honest, although Maria's strength was something I marveled at. I found myself angry at the selfishness of the other main characters in the end. The ending broke my heart and I was mad at Theo for what he did, and shocked, really. I was definitely not expecting that ending! 

 

One scene that stuck with me the most, was the scene with Lesya and Happiness and her pet's demise. I was surprised (once again) and heartbroken for her really. There was hopelessness in her action and that scene stuck with me for days and days. Lesya will be one of those characters that stays in mind the most from the book, along with Maria.

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KathyS
Posts: 6,893
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

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?

 

 


 

Rachel, I'd like to thank you for your superb questions, and leadership in this discussion.  This can make or break a discussion.  You made it one of the most rewarding experiences I've had.  And to Paul for bringing it to us in such detail....as well as to all the participants....who made it the perfect dance.

 

This novel, from the moment I read about its description, I knew it would be one that I couldn't resist.  I do love to read first time novelists.  There is a first time innocence, where nothing of the outside world has had a chance to taint or jade them.  I looked at this novel as a once in a lifetime experience, both for me as a reader, and also for Shandi Mitchell.  How can you top something as beautifully written as this one?  But, I have faith that she can!

 

Emotions, whether we like them or not, can't be denied...they need to be tested, and felt, and lived, and with this novel, that wish was fulfilled for me.  I can hate, I can love, I can sympathize, I can stick so many people and circumtances from this story, into their respective catagories....but for me, I can't give just one part of this story more attention than another.  I tried to find one part of this story to mention, in the Favorite lines, passages, etc..... with the scene of Petro the rock... his broken heart.  This to me epitomized the whole of this story.  In one way or another, each heart was boken or dropped.  If it weren't for the final scene of Maria's leaving, signifying a new beginning, there would be no hope.  There was no way she could stay and relive, over and over, the sadness that invaded that past life.

 

Each character became true in the hearts of all of these readers, here, I truly believe.  We all wish for happy endings to stories, but we can't lose hope for these innocent victims in this story, as they reflect what real life can hold.  Yes, I felt deflated by what happened, in the endings to these characters lives, but through this discussion, I could see more,  live more, and hope more.... it was an evolution of experiences for me.  Thank you all for taking part in this process.  And, finally, there are no words that can describe what I feel about this author....she's one of a kind!  Bravo!

 

Kathy S.

Wordsmith
babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009

Re: Final Thoughts?


JaneM wrote:

This is the type of book I typically buy - family and character driven, or how people react to outside events.  And I loved it.  I'm heartened that other readers have also liked the book even though it may not be the style they generally choose.

 

I also liked that our discussions made me focus more on the details of the novel than I usually do, as I read to be entertained or challenged and often just tear through the book to get at the next one.  This slow unfolding of the story that came by sticking with the reading schedule, and the discussions strengthened my appreciation of the book.  Tragic endings happen and I don't need to have a happy ending to feel satisfied, as long as I see a glimmer of hope for the future, which I did in this case.  I believe that Maria and her children will persevere and ultimately find a way to support themselves. 

 

Images and characters that will stay with me are Anna and her madness, Lesya and her chicken, Maria and her faith, strength and love of family.

 

Jane M.

 

 

Message Edited by JaneM on 08-24-2009 09:36 AM

 

Jane:

 

I was surprised to read your post, only because I could've written the same thing myself.  I've only read two FLs but because of them, I find that I am actually "reading" the story - not just "tearing through" the story - as I normally do!  I've actually been wondering what I've missed all these years...  I also learned to look at and appreciate a book's cover - Of Bees and Mist taught me that.  Again, I have to wonder how many book covers (and the stories they tell) I've disregarded and what I've missed.  Guess it's never to late to learn something new! - Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks:smileywink:  

 

I think I'll miss Lesya the most.  I believe that Petro's actions were caused by his circumstances but I just can't seem to dig up any empathy for him - even though he was just a little boy looking for love and validation from his father.  Maybe it's because he seemed to take too much pleasure in mocking and making fun of his mother and in the power he felt when he hit Lesya .... seems like the writing's on the wall for his future.

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008

Re: Final Thoughts?

This story was different than the types of books that I usually read! I have to admit that I probably would not have bought this were I just browsing the bookstore. I now find myself wondering what else have I missed out there? This story was very tragic and yet I did not want to put it down. The story had everything that makes a good story like the evil villain and the heroes/heroines (Maria and her children).

 

I found hope in this novel at the end because I feel that the family will stay together and do what is necessary for survival!

 

Surprisingly, I think that Teodore will stay with me the most. I had so much hope for him in the beginning and his character ended up disappointing me in the end. He turned out to be different than I expected him to be!

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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I just finished reading and have wiped away my tears....I really enjoyed this book and felt it was a very well written story.  

 

I mentioned in an earlier post that I didn't like the mention of the photograph at the beginning - and when that came up in one of the threads I actually had forgotten about it and had to go back and read it.  I wished I hadn't because the for the rest of the book all I did was wonder which one of these people were going to die.  And I figured that for sure Theo was one and that at least one or two of my other favorites would also die.  I was pleasantly surprised and not disappointed.  If that one page wasn't there - I think I would have enjoyed the reading more.

 

But besides that one page - I thought it was fantastic - even when it got dark and depressing - there always seemed to be something good that they could drum up amongst themselves.  I felt bad for Lesya and wanted to give her a big hug and take her home with me.

 

I hope B/N will promote this book as it well deserves!

 

Susan 

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cocospals
Posts: 115
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
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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? No, this is not the type of novel I normally read. I don't have problems with either type of ending but so prefer the happy ones.

 

 

A number of readers have also found hope in the novel, despite the worst events in the plot. Do you? To me, the message is if Maria and her clan can survive the hard times, anyone should be able to.

 

Which character do you think will stay in your memory most vividly? Definitely Maria. Her strength of character is unbeleivable throughout the book. She has survived  horrible weather conditions, shortage of money, yet she works so hard to feed her family.

 

Is there a scene that sticks with you most clearly? The scene where Theodor kills Anna has just stuck in my mind. It was disturbing to me that a person can go so long and then just snap.  It happens everyday, you see it on the news but for some reason, it just shocked me.

 

 


 

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts?

I loved Under This Unbroken Sky and the cover art would definitely have made me pick it up in the store and read the back cover.  After reading the back cover (which I just did to answer this question), I think it would have ended up in my cart.  I know that I have recommend it to all my reading friends. 

 

Lesya will most assuredly stay in my thoughts.  I would like nothing more than to read the story of Lesya's life and I hope that she (well all of them) finds happiness and peace.  

 

I do feel that the end of the novel was tragic, but I like how Shandi left us with the hope that the family will be able to persevere and start over.   Because of the tragic ending of the novel, the characters will stick with me and I wonder what their lives were like in 10, 20, and even 50 years.  I mean if they were real people, the children were so young that they could still be alive today.  

 

Final thoughts:

Reading and discussing this book has been an incredible experience.  I don't know how the people (Paul, Rachel, etc.) at Barnes & Noble First Look manage to pick such great books, but once again you've chosen a winner.  I can't wait to follow the book through publication.  

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

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?

 

 


Rachel....thanks for the great questions.

 

I loved this book and want to thank Shandi for writing such a conversation and thought provoking piece. Look how far we have all grown over the past few weeks reading this book.

As we have gained the wisdom and ideas from the group it has added to our schema and produced other thoughts we may have not thougth about. 

 

We have become this awesome little community about a very unique book. We have all become Under this Unbroken Sky in some ways. We have all chose different ways of looking at characters, setting, dialogue, events and I know I have walked away richer from the intereaction of all of you. So, I want to thank you all.

 

As far as the questions for this post.

I would normally read this type of novel. I love historical fiction, and the desperation faced in 1938 would be a time period I would have been interested in. 

I am one who has found hope in this story, ever the optimist, I just believe in the strength that is inherent in the character that Shandi formed in Maria. She is the survivor, came from the Ukraine with a small amount of dirt. Damn it, she was going to make it work. 

 

I loved this book because I got to know all the characters like they were neighbors, relatives, people I would call very close acquaintances. With characters this exceptional, the story will live on and I will carry these players with me whenever I think of the book. 

The book is alive because of their story. 

 

I will always remember the scene with Lesya delivering the baby and telling her mother that there is nothing wrong with this baby. (Referring to her own deformity).

Lesya is a character I worry and will continue to worry about. I would love to see a story about her come out of this novel.  What do you say Shandi?  Any possibility? 

 

I also will never forget the weakness of Teodore as he turns against his sister Anna, as he kills her and then himself. The coward way out, a troubled soul who never quite got over

his original stent in jail. 

 

bookwormsdinner.blogspot.com..see my review

 

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
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bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts?

This book is definitely different than what I usually read, but I enjoyed it immensely.  I don't usually like books that have a tragic ending, but this one seemed just right.  What I mean is that I feel the book had to end the way it did, otherwise we would be left with too many loose ends.

 

I feel that we are left with some hope for the families.  Maria's family has their closeness and the grain that she hid.  I imagine that this will get them through.  I do wonder, as some other people have mentioned, how they will get the land because there is not a man that is the head of the family (I am sure Myron is not old enough to own land), but in my mind it will work out.

 

I finished this book about a week ago and the character who sticks out in my mind the most, still, is Teodor.  I go over the book in my head to see if there were signs of him "losing it".  I realize that the imprisonment definitely had a huge affect on him, but I can't say that I ever saw him killing Anna and himself, I thought he was stronger than that.

 

The one scene that has stayed with me to the end is when Petro was acting like his father towards Ivan.  It shows us that he thinks he should be like his father and doesn't realize that Stefan is a "bad" person.  I hope that on the farm, where Petro is now going to work, he learns how to act, and not like his father.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
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nbmars
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎02-21-2008
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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?

 

Unbroken Sky is totally different from what I usually choose.  And I loved this book.  That's what I love about First Look.  It exposes me to things I wouldn't ordinarily pick up.  I suppose had I just seen it in the store I might have been afraid that it was too bleak.

 

 

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

 

I thought it was actually a very uplifting, hopeful book. 

 

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

 

I loved Theo's family.  I couldn't stand Anna's family (except her daughter).  And yet all of them will stay in my memory.