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cmmn
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

I have been reading the other postings and by the time I'm done I feel I have nothing new to add so today I'll post before I read.  I think the introduction of the photograph is the perfect beginning.  I wanted to keep reading to find out why the photograph is so precious.  In fact, I had to keep reading until I finished the book.  I have to say I want more!  The characters are so real I feel like I know them personally and I want to know what happened to them. Will there be a sequel?

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dclement04
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

good point cmmn...i kinda felt that way the other day about not having something to post so i just piggybacked on someone else's posts...its tough when you have multiple of the same posts.

cmmn wrote:

I have been reading the other postings and by the time I'm done I feel I have nothing new to add so today I'll post before I read.  I think the introduction of the photograph is the perfect beginning.  I wanted to keep reading to find out why the photograph is so precious.  In fact, I had to keep reading until I finished the book.  I have to say I want more!  The characters are so real I feel like I know them personally and I want to know what happened to them. Will there be a sequel?


 

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Tarri
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions


cmmn wrote:

I have been reading the other postings and by the time I'm done I feel I have nothing new to add so today I'll post before I read.  I think the introduction of the photograph is the perfect beginning.  I wanted to keep reading to find out why the photograph is so precious.  In fact, I had to keep reading until I finished the book.  I have to say I want more!  The characters are so real I feel like I know them personally and I want to know what happened to them. Will there be a sequel?


I think a great sequel would be the story of Lesya as an adult.  She is my favorite.  

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nicole21WA
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions


Jestre wrote:

Initially, because of the difference in dates, I thought the family described in the photograph was not the same as the one in the book, but now it seems they are probably the same.  Regardless, I didn't start reading with the expectation that the events in the photograph would happen to the family I was reading about so I had no loss of interest because I already knew part of the outcome.

 

 


 

I also thought the photo was of a different family (I assumed the author's) and questioned what relevance it had.  I never went back to the photo after I started reading because of that.  Now that I've seen others' thoughts, I'll have to look at it again.
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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: Photograph and First Impressions

I have to say that I had to go back and read that first page - I couldn't even remember the picture.  It provides a sort of teaser as to what is to come - however, I don't think it's necessary.  And in fact its sort of a cheater...I was hooked from the beginning of chapter one by the characters, the voice of the narrator and the beginnings of the story.

 

Difficult lives - is sort of an understatement.  Still all of that work and hardship helped make the family strong.  The parents set the example and the children followed - similar to the other family down the hill unfortunately.

 

I admire their hard work and was drawn right into their story.  I'm to the point - Starting the Winter section - where I really am hesitant to read more as I know some bad **bleep** is coming their way and I can only imagine what it is and who is responsible.  And btw that is a good thing - I am linked in to those characters!!

 

Good story....

Susan 

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

Re: Photograph and First Impressions


Wisteria-L wrote:

The third sentence of the first paragraph of this first page about the photograph really says so much.

 

"This will be their only photograph together."

 

Did anyone stop after reading the first three sentences and begin to imagine why?  Then I thought, is someone looking at the photograph? What was the occasion? 

 

I love how Shandi opens with three sentences that says so much before she even begins the story. Who is in the picture, when and where it takes place and, most especially, it is the last time the family will be together in a photo. How strange.

 

The photograph is the setting, but also a moment in time before things change.

 

"But this day, in the moment right after the shutter clicks shut, this family takes a deep breath and smiles."

 

When she  says "the shutter clicks shut" it reminds me of a door closing and that the fate of the family is sealed. The reader is pulled into that moment in time before the door is finally closed. 

 

I think the author spent a lot of time choosing just the exact words. I keep reading the passage over, even though I have read through the book, and I see more in it every time.


 

Yes, I agree...their fate was sealed.  We were the ones looking at their faces.  I took a deep breath, as they did, but couldn't exhale until I came to the end of their story.  These people were locked into a moment in time, between these pages, and we were the witnesses.

 

K.S.

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kren250
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

I thought the description of the photograph really pulls the reader in right from the start. The picture shows a family who has weathered tough times, and probably has tough times yet ahead. I didn't think the description gave away too much. Just enough to get your attention.

 

My first impressions were that here is a family that has been though a lot, and are survivors. They literally live hand to mouth, and giving up just isn't an option. You quit, you don't eat. They plug along the best they can, always hoping that things will get better.

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AliceLee428
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

[ Edited ]
The "photograph" chapter hooked me. Couldn't wait to dig in and see what would happen.  As I read, I kept trying to predict who would be the three to die and in what manner (I was not correct in my predictions!)
Message Edited by AliceLee428 on 08-06-2009 04:51 PM
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KathyS
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions


rkubie wrote:

Zeal wrote:

Wow!  Very strongly stated!  Thank you for this! 

 

KathyS wrote:


As I looked at this family photo, and read the words by this author, I felt a forboding, not just from what was said [about the loss of three people] in the first 30 pages, but from how these words were formed.  The short, almost staccato sentence structure gave me a feeling of the harsh reality of what this family was going to have to witness in their lives.  It was as if this author wanted to punch me in the stomach, to make me feel what this family was going to have to endure.  I honestly felt a deep connection to these solemn faces, the clothes they wore, the atmosphere of nature which surrounded them, the harshness of it all.  Each of these people were one, together, but separate.

 

Kathy S.


 


 

I agree! Nicely stated, Kathy.

 

The writing style fits these hardscrabble families and this harsh landscape perfectly, doesn't it?


 

Yes, Rachel, exactly!  But did you notice how the style changed with the author's emotional value as she applied it to the characters and their surroundings?  Absolutely phenomenal writing!

 

Kathy S.

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aprilh
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions


bookloverjb85 wrote:
Has anyone thought of the fact that Maria's baby could be one of the one's murdered?  It would be heart wrenching and a tragedy that I couldn't not bare to witness, but the baby is not in the picture...Just a passing thought I had earlier.  I hope it's not true though!

 

My first thought was that it could be Maria's baby or Anna's baby that would be one of the one's murdered since they're not in the photo. I'm really liking all the characters at this point for different reasons and I'm dreading finding out which of them don't make it.
April
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MSaff
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

  Hello again All,

 

How is the description of this 1933 photograph an introduction to this story? What does it tell us about who this family is and what may be going to happen? Do you think the description "gives away" too much, or does it entice you to keep reading?

  This description brings to light what and how people such as described must have felt upon their voyage from their homeland to a strange land far away.  Joy and fear appear to be etched on their faces, at least in my mind.  I don’t think that this description gives anything away to what is going to happen.  It is a perfect description for the time period.

As you begin reading, please share your first impressions of this family and their difficult lives. Where have they come from, and how have they made it this far?

  What immediately comes to mind for me is a family who thought they were going to a better place with high expectations for the future.  Only they found that the ways of the Old Country had followed them.  Lies were told to them and promises were broken.  How have they made it thus far?  Through faith love and spirit, as well as a belief in each other, they have succeeded to this point.  Yes it’s true there have been set backs,  (a destroyed abusive marriage for one part of the family, and prison time for one member of the other part of the family).  However, I have seen successes that much out weighs the downfalls thus far.

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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mamawli
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

The photograph introduction is well written and exposes the harsh realities about the lives of this family.  Although it is an introduction to the family we are  to read about, this could very well be a picture of an immigrant family entering the USA. 

 

As I continue to read about the harsh lives of the children and the graphic descriptions of their raggedy clothing and lack of nourishing food to eat, I can't help but become emotionally attached to them. 

MYK
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MYK
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

The description definitely leads a reader to a vivid mind imagery of the family while reading the  introduction to the story. It tells us it is a before picture of Maria, Teodor and their children. It tells us that two people not in the photograph will die. I don't believe it gives away too much. I am halfway through the book, and everyone knows a good book is hard to predict. It does entice me to keep reading.

 

 

MYK
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MYK
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

 

Correction: 3 die::sigh:::  I wanted to add the fact that they are all wearing summer clothes, standing in four inches of snow is a clear description of their poverty.

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AuddyMarie
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

How is the description of this 1933 photograph an introduction to this story? What does it tell us about who this family is and what may be going to happen? Do you think the description "gives away" too much, or does it entice you to keep reading?

 

I loved the introduction! The description of the photograph was very detailed. And the rest of the book is just as detailed. I felt like I was standing afar watching the whole story unfold. Did the description "give away" too much? On the contrary. I felt the description "enticed" me more.

~~~~~~~~
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Paul Sweeney
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AuddyMarie
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

[ Edited ]
Good point about the picture. I too was surprized that they were smiling in the picture. The 1930's was a very depressing time (note The Great Depression). Maybe it was some form of metaphor for the times to unfold after the picture was taken.
Message Edited by AuddyMarie on 08-07-2009 08:13 AM
~~~~~~~~
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Paul Sweeney
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Wisteria-L
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

Thanks Aimee, glad you think the same. :smileyhappy:
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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Wisteria-L
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

So true KS...I couldn't breathe until the end either.  Wisteria
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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mv5ocean
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

Wow thanks so much for sharing!

I kept trying to tie it together in my head and on paper it's so much easier to understand!

And I AM one of the folks who was compelled to follow this story just by the sentences describing this picture! It simply pulled me in and was a GREAT way to hook a potential reader!



Sunltcloud wrote:

 

It took me a while to get the dates straight between the description of the 1933 photograph and "Spring 1938." Not until I had made a list of characters and had reread a couple of paragraphs did I understand the connection.

If there is anybody else as dense as I am, here is what I came up with.

 

Teodor - father

Maria - mother

Dania - oldest daughter

Myron, second oldest child, oldest son

Sofia - not yet 5 when they leave Ukraine. In 1938 she is almost 11 years old.

Katya - 5 months old when they leave Ukraine. In 1938 she is 6 years old.

Ivan, conceived in Canada, 5 years old in 1938.

 

Anna - Teodor's sister

Stefan - Anna's husband

Lesya- their daughter. She is 10 in 1938

Petro - born when Lesya was 3. That makes him 7 in 1938.

 

The 1933 Alberta photograph: Man, woman, 5 children. (Eldest boy, three girls, baby.)

 

Now to page 15.

"That was at their old home. Their first home in Canada. It's where they built their house, broke the land. Where Ivan was conveived on a still, warm April night....... that was the last place her family had called home.

 

 If Ivan is 5 years old in the spring of 1938 that made him the baby sitting on the  woman's lap in the winter of 1933. The boy at the far end is Myron, the three girls are Dania, Sofia, and Katya. By the end of 1936 the farm is foreclosed. One of the people in the photograph will die in 1938 (during the year we are reading about) and the two that will be murdered must be in the extended family (Anna, Stefan, Lesya, Petro), since they are not in the picture.

 

The back of the book says that there will be "violence and tragedy" I am glad I figured out the connection. I don't think the introduction gives away too much, but I had to work a bit on my understanding of the sequence of events.

 

On page 76, on the day of their escape from the village, Maria's mother gives her the jeweled crucifix. In the same paragraph "Maria traded the crucifix for the wagonload of grain that the police had confiscated."

We are transported from the Ukraine to Canada in this sentence; I guess I overlooked that the first time I read it. Maria now takes the children on a fifty-mile trek north to Anna's house. Teodor is in jail. The farm is gone, the house is gone. Maria saves the grain. And it will be two years before Teodor comes home.

 

Even though people tended to look stiff and official in the portraits of those days (because they had to stand still for so long) the photograph is their symbol of "togetherness." The fact that they smiled after the shutter had clicked shut is proof of this. And so begins the long road ahead.......... 

 

 

 

 

 

rkubie wrote:

How is the description of this 1933 photograph an introduction to this story? What does it tell us about who this family is and what may be going to happen? Do you think the description "gives away" too much, or does it entice you to keep reading?

 

 

As you begin reading, please share your first impressions of this family and their difficult lives. Where have they come from, and how have they made it this far?
 


 

Message Edited by Sunltcloud on 08-03-2009 08:11 PM

 


 

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kfort78
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Re: Photograph and First Impressions

I really liked the description of the photograph at the beginning.  It made me want to read the book and see what happened to the people in this photo.  I found myself referring back to the description throughout the book (especially in the beginning when the characters were new to me) so I could place the names with each description.  I found myself becoming attached to particular characters and hoping that they were not one of the people who died.  All in all I thought it was a great beginning to the book.