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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Good morning first look groupies.

Hi Kathy,

that was indeed something to make me think about and that's why I love this book club because it gives me so many more takes on the same thing. 

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Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

My thoughts:Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Okay - this is a bit late, so much may have been said, but since I'm still in the process of catching up, I'll throw this on here and hope for the best!

 

One thing that really strikes me about Mitchell's voice is it's sense of calm.  No matter what she's writing about, it maintains it's same plodding tone.  I know plodding has negative connotations, but I couldn't think of a more fitting one.  So, one thing that this even tone does is let the reader experience honest feeling - I don't feel manipulated into feeling what is 'appropriate', 'expected' or what the author herself feels.  I'm also not able to see the puppetmaster which is so common in novels (to see) and very distracting.  I'm finding this book quite masterfully written.

 

I did find the letter between the family and the government very hard to follow and very distracting from the story.  I wonder if they are necessary.  How did other like them?  I suppose it's an easy and direct way to get across to the reader exactly what happened.

I'm so in awe by what happened to each family in the tragedy.  One was completely blown apart while one knitted closer.  Why didn't Maria take Anna's kids with her? 

 

I suspect that this story is one that played out many times in many variations during that time.

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kaylami
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Re: My thoughts:Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


Amanda-Louise wrote:

 ...

I'm so in awe by what happened to each family in the tragedy.  One was completely blown apart while one knitted closer.  Why didn't Maria take Anna's kids with her? 

 

I suspect that this story is one that played out many times in many variations during that time.


 

This is in reponse to why Maria didn't take Anna's children.  I think there were possibly two reasons.  #1 The government wouldn't let her because her husband was a murderer and she was so poor.  And/Or #2 Even though she knew the children were innocent and she loved them, two more mouths to feed was just too much.  She didn't even know how she was going to take care of her own children.
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SapphicKris
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-07-2009

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I was completely blown away by this novel from the first to the last page. I can't think of a single element that was extraneous or detracting from the story. I found myself literally holding my breath through scenes like the fire, the fight between Theo and Stefan, the birth of Anna's baby and many others. Some scenes had me on the verge of tears which almost never happens, other scenes had me laughing out loud and glad I live alone and didn't have anyone thinking I was losing my mind.

 

I have told everyone I know that likes to read, and a few that don't about this book, insisting that they MUST get it right away and read it when it comes out. I want to suggest it to my in-real-life book club. 

 

It has been ages since I have read a novel that excited my imagination as much as this one. Thank you Shandi and thank you BN for the opportunity to read and discuss this most incredible work of literature. I hope the book is greeted with much success.

 

Take Care,
Kris 

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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


rkubie wrote:

Immortal-Spirit wrote:
Stefan was right in one thing. Leaving was the best thing he could ever do. 

 

 


Yes,  that's a question I've had for the group, too. Was stealing the family's money and bolting without a goodbye the best thing Stefan did in this whole novel?


 

I think the best thing he did was run before he did something inappropriate to Lesya.  He was battling his urges and knew it was only a matter of time before he acted on them.  Of course being the pig he was, he had to take the money.  I have to admit I was surprised that he finally made a right/decent choice and by doing so saved his daughter from what would surely been her undoing.
"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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babzilla41
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


fordmg wrote:

emmagrace wrote:

My heart is broken for these characters! There are so many thing to talk about in this novel and I do not know where to start!

 

I really appreciated the explanation of the photograph at the end of this novel. It was a nice finish. The photo in the beginning is what hooked me and the explanation was what I needed in the end!

 

I am a little disappointed in Theo. I had the impression that he was so much stronger than suicide. Did he think that he was doing the right thing for his family? I don't get it! I still really like his character however. I guess that everyone, no matter how strong, has their breaking point. I guess Theo had enough. I knew from the beginning that he would not go back to prison even if it was only for a year.

 

I am also disappointed in Petro. After all his aunt and uncle did for his family! I guess he blamed Theo for his father leaving and that is why he turned him in. He was confused and remembering his father as the one that cared for him when it was actually Theo.

 

I would like to make a prediction for Maria and her children. I believe that they will make a home somewhere new and they will be okay as long as they stay together. I think that Lesya will be okay. She has such a brave little soul. 

 

I thought it was interesting that baby Maxim had a brown paw shaped birthmark on his right hand. Significant to the coyote's paw that was severed by the rabbit snare? Pretty cool.

 

I am interested to hear everyone's thoughts on these last chapters!


 

I think it was Anna who turned Theo in .  She knew the hiding place for the liquor because she visited the house before it was finished and asked what the nitch was for.

MG


 

I believe it was Petro who turned Teo in.  He saw where Teo put the jug following the fight at the house (when Myron pulled the gun on Stefan).  Then, he was on the road looking for his father after his father ran away; when the police car came along, he spoke to them; thereafter when Ivan sat with him at the stone wall and shared his candy, Petro threw the quarter into the sky....just like his dad the police paid him for information.  Right after, the police were at Teo's house and went straight to the Blessed Mother's picture and found the hiding spot.  At first I thought Petro regretted his decision but then I wondered because he still believed that his uncle would be back to kill them all.  A young boy in the middle of adult situations that he just didn't understand.
"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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babzilla41
Posts: 252
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Re: My thoughts:Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


kaylami wrote:

Amanda-Louise wrote:

 ...

I'm so in awe by what happened to each family in the tragedy.  One was completely blown apart while one knitted closer.  Why didn't Maria take Anna's kids with her? 

 

I suspect that this story is one that played out many times in many variations during that time.


 

This is in reponse to why Maria didn't take Anna's children.  I think there were possibly two reasons.  #1 The government wouldn't let her because her husband was a murderer and she was so poor.  And/Or #2 Even though she knew the children were innocent and she loved them, two more mouths to feed was just too much.  She didn't even know how she was going to take care of her own children.

 

And do add my thoughts as to why Maria didn't take Anna's children...  I tend to want to agree that she probably knew she couldn't feed two more mouths - but she had managed to feed all of them, including Anna, while Teo was in prison and Stefan was in town. So I don't think that's what stopped her.  Maybe she realized that there had been too much damage between the families and the children would never be able to find that comfortable, family feeling with each other again.  Maybe she wasn't sure she couldn't give them the unconditional love they deserved...after all it was their mother and father that drove Teo to the edge.  But more so, maybe the fact that because Stefan was still an unknown she couldn't/wouldn't put her family in that danger again. 
"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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Donna-readerinWI
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎07-01-2008

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Instead of answering the questions, I'm just going to go with my feelings.  I absolutely LOVED this book.  From beginning to end it caught and held my attention.  Everything about it felt so real, like this is a true story, not just fiction.  I loved and hated the characters as though they were in the here and the now.  While the ending broke my heart in so many ways, I liked it because it wasn't the story book ending you find in so many novels where everything comes together in this nicely tied bow.

 

The other thing this novel did, which has never really happened to me before, and I read a LOT of books, is that it made me want to research the immigrants, the land, the time period.  I want to learn more.

 

If this comment has been made elsewhere, my apologies, but I would love a sequel.  I want to know what happens to all these different characters.  Under This Unbroken Sky was that good.

 

Shandi Mitchell, I eagerly await your next adventure!!

~ Donna

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Wisteria-L
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

 Immortal Spirit said........


Maria and the children will survive. Their shame is already putting a stain on the family when Maria writes in the bible that Teodor died of the flu. Myron has had to grow up way too fast already, but knowing his father was coming back. Now, this time it's different.  He is truly the man of the house and will have to help raise his brothers and sisters.


 

I agree with you when you said Maria is putting a stain on the family when she writes in the Bible that Teodor died of the flu.  I suppose she wanted to save their future stigmata, however this demonstrates a paradox to her actions in the book.  Her personality as everyone points out has been the caregiver, the concerned and loyal wife, the caring sister in law the mother, the Christian. Even after Anna betrayed Teodor it reminded me of Judas  Jesus. Maria could not desert Anna or the children. She stepped up to Teodor and gave him an ultimatum. She had so much faith in the future of the family.

 

It must be that in the end, Maria felt that the survival of the family was more important than the sin of covering up the truth of Teodor's suicide. 

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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kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


SapphicKris wrote:

I was completely blown away by this novel from the first to the last page. I can't think of a single element that was extraneous or detracting from the story. I found myself literally holding my breath through scenes like the fire, the fight between Theo and Stefan, the birth of Anna's baby and many others. Some scenes had me on the verge of tears which almost never happens, other scenes had me laughing out loud and glad I live alone and didn't have anyone thinking I was losing my mind.

 

I have told everyone I know that likes to read, and a few that don't about this book, insisting that they MUST get it right away and read it when it comes out. I want to suggest it to my in-real-life book club. 

 

It has been ages since I have read a novel that excited my imagination as much as this one. Thank you Shandi and thank you BN for the opportunity to read and discuss this most incredible work of literature. I hope the book is greeted with much success.

 

Take Care,
Kris 


I can't agree with you more.  It was an extrodinary novel.  I can't wait to pass on to others.

Kathy

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

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I loved this book on so many levels because it was a story of the lives of people who are not perfect. Life is not perfect, and most family holiday gatherings will show how difficult getting together to socialize in a happy, non-stressed social event can be.

Shandi has written a story of what can happen when the extremes of those minor disagreements fester and continue unresolved.  In this story, who was to blame?  The eventuality was that no one really communicated, or loved each other enough as family to put the family (extended) first. I would have to say, the only one that did this was Maria, to the point as I mentioned before and so did Immortal Spirit, that she covered up for her brother. 

 

I knew from the beginning this was going to be a solemn book that would make us look at family. It was the picture and the description that said....


 

"Within three years, this farm will be foreclosed. Two years later, one will die. Two others, of whom there is no photograph, will be murdered."


 

I also knew because as I said before, Shandi used the stark contrast of color a lot. 

Black, White and then red. Red often symbolic of blood. 

 

There was the blood from the mice in the beginning, blood from the rabbits...

If you reread the section about the photograph the only color they mention is white and they are all smiles. So that is the beginning before all the turmoil began. But it ended in a bath of red blood. 

 

The last line of the book is 

"The children sway to its roll, their eyes fixed on the graying house and the prairies unfolding between them. "

 

I think the graying symbolizes a new start, the past is blurred....a combination of the stark black and white of the past. The are looking at the prairies unfolding...opening up creating distance between them. I see a hopeful future for this family where the fighting and evil will be gone from their lives. 

 

Just a different way to look at it. I see hope and bright light in the prairie grasses. 

 

 

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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Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I couldn't agree with you more on my love of this story!  Very interesting analysis of the colors and well stated.  I like your interpretation!

 


Wisteria-L wrote:

I loved this book on so many levels because it was a story of the lives of people who are not perfect. Life is not perfect, and most family holiday gatherings will show how difficult getting together to socialize in a happy, non-stressed social event can be.

Shandi has written a story of what can happen when the extremes of those minor disagreements fester and continue unresolved.  In this story, who was to blame?  The eventuality was that no one really communicated, or loved each other enough as family to put the family (extended) first. I would have to say, the only one that did this was Maria, to the point as I mentioned before and so did Immortal Spirit, that she covered up for her brother. 

 

I knew from the beginning this was going to be a solemn book that would make us look at family. It was the picture and the description that said....


 

"Within three years, this farm will be foreclosed. Two years later, one will die. Two others, of whom there is no photograph, will be murdered."


 

I also knew because as I said before, Shandi used the stark contrast of color a lot. 

Black, White and then red. Red often symbolic of blood. 

 

There was the blood from the mice in the beginning, blood from the rabbits...

If you reread the section about the photograph the only color they mention is white and they are all smiles. So that is the beginning before all the turmoil began. But it ended in a bath of red blood. 

 

The last line of the book is 

"The children sway to its roll, their eyes fixed on the graying house and the prairies unfolding between them. "

 

I think the graying symbolizes a new start, the past is blurred....a combination of the stark black and white of the past. The are looking at the prairies unfolding...opening up creating distance between them. I see a hopeful future for this family where the fighting and evil will be gone from their lives. 

 

Just a different way to look at it. I see hope and bright light in the prairie grasses. 

 

 


 

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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pagese
Posts: 13
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

I'm a little late in discussing the end of the book.   Much of what I think about it has already been posted.   I do want to see this is one of the best and most heartbreaking stories I've read in a long time.   I've been recommending it to be people left and right.   My mom currently has my ARC and I can not wait until she done with it so I can find out what she thought of it!

 

Page

 

 

My Book Blog: www.pagese.wordpress.com

EC
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EC
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

This novel was excellentI found myself caught up in each story line -  fighting between Theo and Stefan, the death of Anna & Theo, the fire - to name a fewI felt each part played an important part of the book. The way MsMitchell brought it all together was wonderful.

 

As for Theo, I still have a lot of admiration for him. I wish he had felt how much his family needed  & loved him and that he was never a disappoint to them. He had so much emotion that Anna killing her baby was too much for him to bear

 

I know the family will endure & survive. With all that went on in the novel they just kept working together & making it. Myron will take over for Theo - as he was doing anyway. Maria will see that the family does not starve - as alwaysThese people are survivors, no matter what gets in their way.

 

I definitely will recommend this bookThank you for the opportunity to read it!

 

 

 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


KathyS wrote:

Gisela, you're right...life isn't always fair.  Life isn't all tied up with a fancy bow, and smelling good.  We all wanted Stefan to get his just desserts, but it was profoundly smart of Shandi to leave all of these loose ends...giving the reader much to think about, and comtemplate as to the outcome of all of these characters.  Who knows, Stefan may show up as the villain, again, and raise havoc until someone DOES do him in!  Hopefully the police!  Or he may wander in a snow storm, and turn up as a popsicle.....Or he may just die from the obvious, drink.  Whatever happens, I hope the scumbag leaves his kids alone!!

 


Sunltcloud wrote:

IMHO. Life isn't fair. And the job of the writer of a novel is not, to create happy endings, but to distill the essence of reality into a work of art. Mission accomplished.

Kathy, my vote is that Stefan wanders into the snow and freezes to death!

Jane M.

Jane M.
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JaneM
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Re: Was it an act of Courage?


KathyS wrote:

Debbie,

 

I'm just wondering, and trying to take a different look at Teodor's actions...by killing his sister.  Here are some questions in my mind.

 

What if he was in a lucid state, when he pulled the trigger?  If he knew the consequences of his return to prison, leaving the family again, and knowing what Anna might further do to Petro and Lesya, and knowing Stefan was still dangerously wandering around, and what might happen to his own family if he were gone away again.....

 

.....AND if he couldn't keep it from the law that Anna killed her child, maybe he felt it was better that Anna die, and not be sentenced to die, or go to prison, as he himself would.  I wonder if justice was served, only not by the hands of the law, but by Teodor.  He killed himself, to save the law the trouble, and even though killing himself put shame on his family, he knew they couldn't stay where they were, anyway....and moving on was, in the end, the only solution....without him.  Maybe it did take an act of courage to make those decisions for his family, and for Anna's family.

 

Just some random thoughts....


Thanks for these good thoughts.  It leads me tothinking that maybe Teodor killed Ana not out of revenge or anger, but maybe out of love and protection for the rest of the children.  After all, if she was so crazy that she killed her newborn, who knows what she might do to Leyna and Petro as she continues her spiral down into madness.  And if he already knows he can't go back to prison, maybe he thought he might as well take care of both Anna and himself.  In any case, we know he had very complex emotions and reasons for his actions.

 

Jane M.

Jane M.
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KathyS
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring


JaneM wrote:

KathyS wrote:

Gisela, you're right...life isn't always fair.  Life isn't all tied up with a fancy bow, and smelling good.  We all wanted Stefan to get his just desserts, but it was profoundly smart of Shandi to leave all of these loose ends...giving the reader much to think about, and comtemplate as to the outcome of all of these characters.  Who knows, Stefan may show up as the villain, again, and raise havoc until someone DOES do him in!  Hopefully the police!  Or he may wander in a snow storm, and turn up as a popsicle.....Or he may just die from the obvious, drink.  Whatever happens, I hope the scumbag leaves his kids alone!!

 


Sunltcloud wrote:

IMHO. Life isn't fair. And the job of the writer of a novel is not, to create happy endings, but to distill the essence of reality into a work of art. Mission accomplished.

Kathy, my vote is that Stefan wanders into the snow and freezes to death!

Jane M.


 

Jane, the lush probably has too much anti-freeze in his blood to freeze! :smileyvery-happy:

K.

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Kathy,

here is what I think about Lesya and the chicken episode.

 

 

The episode begins with Lesya taking care of her mother, cleaning up the baby, tidying the house, planning for the next day's meal. She isn't angry, "she just can't summon up the energy to care."

Everybody else is asleep. "She can't feel herself at all." As she walks through the snow her leg quivers, and she tries to stop the tremor. She feels panic. She ducks inside the coop, the only place she feels safe. She calms her leg, but then her whole body begins to tremble.

 

A child of ten in the midst of a panic attack. A lonely child with too much responsibility resting on her trembling body. All the bottled up emotional pain is manifesting itself as physically. And then, the hen, her counterpart, "bobs and coos, overjoyed by Lesya's surprise arrival." Happiness is "dancing to music only it can hear." At this particular moment the hen is a frivolous, insensitive being that does not care about Lesya's condition. To add insult to injury, the hen breaks the eggs in the other hen's nest, the very food Lesya is planning to use the next day.

 

I think several things happen in Lesya's mind. 1.There is fear. 2. There is the after-effect of having witnessed the birth  (which, I'm sure she doesn't quite understand but had to handle.) 3. There is lack of control over her own body. And so she takes control of the hen's body.

 

I never once thought she is angry with her mother. I think she is angry with herself. I think in Lesya's mind Happiness is Lesya. But a Lesya who ignores the serious side of life, who dances and is careless with other chickens eggs and other people's lives (food supply), who must be taught a lesson.

 

She tells the chicken: "Look at you. Look how ugly you are. Useless." She might as well have said that to herself.

 

And the last dance the chicken will ever dance is the one it dances headless, "its wings flapping, its body tripping over its crooked foot."

 

Lesya is too young to understand any of her own actions. She is too young to cut off her own foot. Her inner rage turns against herself in the form of the chicken.

 

I wonder if, for a brief moment, Lesya sees herself tripping over her own foot? I wonder if this is a precursor to suicide? The killing of a stand-in in lieu of understanding enough of life to do away with herself?

 


kpatton wrote:

While reading some of the responses in this thread, I have two questions for the group.

 

Could Lesya's killing of Happiness be metaphorical for her inability to do anything to her mother?  Anna was someone who didn't want either or her children, Happiness wouldn't lay eggs.  Does Lesya know that Anna has tried to kill her unborn child as Happiness breaks the eggs of the other chickens?  The fact that Lesya killed Happiness and then didn't use the chicken for food had to mean something more than just being practical that she had a chicken that didn't lay and was breaking eggs.

 

Second question.  I was surprised and saddened that Maria didn't take Lesya and Petra into her family.  After all of the time the past two years while Teodor was in prison that she cared for them as if they were her own, and now she abandoned them.  Was anyone else surprised about this?

 

Kathy


 

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Kathy,

 

I wasn't surprised at all that Maria didn't take Lesya and Petro into her family. Sure, I wish she had; I like happy endings. But, the authorities probably would not have allowed it; I have a feeling that Maria was branded as "the murderer's wife." Page 340. "She made the trek to town, ignored the stares and slurs."

 

Also, Stefan was still around somewhere and I'm sure if Maria had taken the children he would have come after her. He had a right to his children, even though he cared little for them. On top of that Petro was hostile and blamed Teodor for all that had happened. He needed a strong father figure and mabye Josyp might be able to straighten him out over time.

 

As for Lesya, in the "olden days" she would have been taken to a nunnery because of her handicap and her "wounded soul." I don't think that she would have been a productive participant in Maria's family after all that she had witnessed.

 

Maria grieved for them. "She watched from the other side of the stone wall as the children were taken away. Neither had proper winter coats." 


kpatton wrote:

While reading some of the responses in this thread, I have two questions for the group.

 

Could Lesya's killing of Happiness be metaphorical for her inability to do anything to her mother?  Anna was someone who didn't want either or her children, Happiness wouldn't lay eggs.  Does Lesya know that Anna has tried to kill her unborn child as Happiness breaks the eggs of the other chickens?  The fact that Lesya killed Happiness and then didn't use the chicken for food had to mean something more than just being practical that she had a chicken that didn't lay and was breaking eggs.

 

Second question.  I was surprised and saddened that Maria didn't take Lesya and Petra into her family.  After all of the time the past two years while Teodor was in prison that she cared for them as if they were her own, and now she abandoned them.  Was anyone else surprised about this?

 

Kathy


 

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

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel: Winter and Spring

Well, you see, Kathy, this is what happens next:

 

Lesya cleans and cooks for the priest and eventually is part of the church choir that becomes famous and tours the world. Lesya is their vocalist, has an operation on her foot (this is 10 or 15 years later) and turns into a hauntingly beautiful young woman. Many years after that she runs into Katya and finds out that her aunt is very ill. She visits Maria who lives in B.C. and the two are able to put the past to rest. Lesya stays for the funeral and pays for the gravestone.

 

Petro takes over Josyp's farm (I don't think Josyp has children or they moved to the city) and becomes a respectable citizen in the community. But he never quite gets over his father's desertion and when he runs into him in town and his father begs him for money, (Stefan has deteriorated quite a bit) he relives all the bitterness he once felt, but hands him a few coins anyway. Then he secretly follows his father (the way he did when he was a little boy) and when he sees him bragging to other drunks in the bar, he shoots through the window and kills his father. He is arrested and goes to jail. After six months of confinement he hangs himself.

 

Myron becomes a successful farmer. He stays single, lives with his mother until her death. He never kills another rabbit.

 

Dania marries, gives Maria her first grandchild. When her husband dies of cancer she buys two sewing machines and opens a dress shop with her sister Sofia. Unfortunately Sofia only wants to try on clothes but isn't much of a seamstress. Dania does all the work while Sofia charms the married men who come into the store to buy dresses for their wives.

 

Katya is the first one to go to college. She becomes a teacher. On a flight to Nova Scotia she sits next to a a filmmaker named Shandi Mitchell and tells her the family tragedy. Shandi Mitchell writes a book about Katya's family. The book becomes a bestseller. Katya is inspired, quits her teaching job, becomes a screenwriter, writes the script for the movie. She donates all the royalties to her church.

 

Ivan hates farming; at the age of seventeen he moves to a coastal city and hires on as a deckhand. He is the only one who goes back to the old country where he falls in love with a Ukrainian girl named Oxana.

 

Little Maxim loves all animals, but mostly he is intrigued by coyotes; he becomes a researcher into their changing dietary habits. Living alone in a cabin for several months one early spring he listens to them bark at night and feels as if they are calling him. One night he staggers out into the prairie after drinking too much moonshine. He stumbles and falls against the crumbling edge of a stone wall and loses consciousness. The coyotes come, surround him, sniff and howl. One of the females licks his hand. She keeps the others from tearing him apart. She watches over him until dawn. When he comes to he has a strange sensation. He thinks that he had heard the coyote talk to him.

"Your father was a good man," she said. "I wish you could have met him." Then she pushes away the snow that still covers some of the dirt. She fills her mouth with the dark soil and chews.

 

Later Maxim writes into his notebook. "I observed a pregnant female eat dirt." Then he pours the last of the moonshine out the window into the snowbank behind the cabin. 

 

 


KathyS wrote:

Gisela, you're right...life isn't always fair.  Life isn't all tied up with a fancy bow, and smelling good.  We all wanted Stefan to get his just desserts, but it was profoundly smart of Shandi to leave all of these loose ends...giving the reader much to think about, and comtemplate as to the outcome of all of these characters.  Who knows, Stefan may show up as the villain, again, and raise havoc until someone DOES do him in!  Hopefully the police!  Or he may wander in a snow storm, and turn up as a popsicle.....Or he may just die from the obvious, drink.  Whatever happens, I hope the scumbag leaves his kids alone!!

 


Sunltcloud wrote:

IMHO. Life isn't fair. And the job of the writer of a novel is not, to create happy endings, but to distill the essence of reality into a work of art. Mission accomplished.
aprilh wrote:

ethel55 wrote:

With all the death at the end, I don't know if I thought it just that Stefan got to just run off...

 

We had been seeing cracks in Anna's mind since the beginning of the story, her affinity for the wolves was worrying, but I sure didn't see that coming.

 

I think with Myron's help, the family will be able to resettle and perhaps farm again.

 


I agree. Stefan shouldn't have been left unharmed. In my opinion, he was the one who started this whole mess. He raped and abused his wife to the point where she was only a shell of her former self. She could barely function on her own let alone take care of her children. Stefan also started the feud between Anna and Teodor over the land, making her sign letters saying she never agreed to let Teodor stay on the land. Then one night he just up and leaves. Granted I'm glad he was out of the picture, but having nothing happen to him just doesn't seem fair after we learn what happens to the baby, Anna and Teodor.