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Stephanie
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Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first few chapters of The Book of Air and Shadows. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

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Stephanie
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

I don't think that I am far enough along in the book to have an opinion on how his personality and profession will aid his search, However, so far, I do not think that his flaws make him more likable. To me, he is not a likeable man so far. However, I think that his frankness and candor about his flaws makes him a little less unlikeable, if that makes any sense. Meaning that I dislike him, but I think I would dislike him more if his flaws in character and judgment were uncovered by other characters and not laid out there in his own narrative.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Stephanie wrote:
What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first few chapters of The Book of Air and Shadows. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.




I find him likeable but distractible. He's smart, and successful in his profession, with some integrity, so I'm optimistic about his ability to look into this mystery.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

I find him likeable but distractible. He's smart, and successful in his profession, with some integrity, so I'm optimistic about his ability to look into this mystery.


I think we will have to agree to disagree about his integrity, but I am not sure how far along you are in the book so I will refrain, for now, as to some of my reasons why.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Wildflower wrote:
I find him likeable but distractible. He's smart, and successful in his profession, with some integrity, so I'm optimistic about his ability to look into this mystery.


I think we will have to agree to disagree about his integrity, but I am not sure how far along you are in the book so I will refrain, for now, as to some of my reasons why.




Well, now you've got me intrigued! Speaking of integrity, I gotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

Well, now you've got me intrigued! Speaking of integrity, I gotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!




Yes, I am intrigued about her as well. I am not far enough along yet to know her whole story, but either everything she told Crosetti is a lie, or else her name is not Carolyn Rolly.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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Bastet
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale


Stephanie wrote:
What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?




Hi All~

Although I have already finished the book, I remember thinking to myself that Jake Mishkin is definitely an aimless person. I wouldn't call him "unlikable" per se, but I could feel a sense of frustration with him because he can't seem to get his act together. You can even see that in the opening pages of the book as he struggles to keep himself on track with his narrative. He keeps digressing, and even at points, has to write that he is digressing. He just lacks focus to me, and this inability to show any kind of real drive is what can be frustrating about him.

I think, from reading the first few chapters, that Jake is going to have a hard time with this search. He struck me as the one who sort of fell into this and, of course, he would happily walk away if he really could. Again, I don't say that is unlikable but it does make for a weak hero. It also, at the same time, keeps him human, so that makes it easier, I think, for readers to really relate to him. He is definitely no god, but a mere mortal like the rest of us =)

Thanks!
Rachel
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Bastet
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale


Wildflower wrote:
Well, now you've got me intrigued! Speaking of integrity, I gotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!




Yes, I am intrigued about her as well. I am not far enough along yet to know her whole story, but either everything she told Crosetti is a lie, or else her name is not Carolyn Rolly.




Hi Wildflower~

Carolyn Rolly is definitely an enigma! No other word for it! I'm not sure how far you have gotten but if you have read through the scenes that take place in her apartment (when they first discover the documents in the book covers) and immediately after, like the visit with the professor and such, there is a huge element of mistrust with her. I do not want Al to fall for this girl because he seems like such a decent guy and she has a dark air about her .... I sense trouble a'comin =)

Thanks!
Rachel
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

Rachel,

I like your use of the word "aimless" -- group, is this an apt word for our hero Jake?

I wonder, if we could change anything about him, what would we change? How would that change the story?
Stephanie
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Bastet wrote:

Stephanie wrote:
What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?




Hi All~

Although I have already finished the book, I remember thinking to myself that Jake Mishkin is definitely an aimless person. I wouldn't call him "unlikable" per se, but I could feel a sense of frustration with him because he can't seem to get his act together. You can even see that in the opening pages of the book as he struggles to keep himself on track with his narrative. He keeps digressing, and even at points, has to write that he is digressing. He just lacks focus to me, and this inability to show any kind of real drive is what can be frustrating about him.

I think, from reading the first few chapters, that Jake is going to have a hard time with this search. He struck me as the one who sort of fell into this and, of course, he would happily walk away if he really could. Again, I don't say that is unlikable but it does make for a weak hero. It also, at the same time, keeps him human, so that makes it easier, I think, for readers to really relate to him. He is definitely no god, but a mere mortal like the rest of us =)

Thanks!
Rachel





To me it seems as though Jake senses that he is missing important or essential component in his life, whether love or commitment to something bigger than himself I can't say yet.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Stephanie wrote:
Rachel,

I like your use of the word "aimless" -- group, is this an apt word for our hero Jake?

I wonder, if we could change anything about him, what would we change? How would that change the story?




No, I don't view him as aimless. Just adrift, because as I wrote a few minutes back, he is aware that he is missing something but doesn't know what, or what to do about it. I see him as more lost than anything. There's something poignant about him under the glibness.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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Bastet
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale


Stephanie wrote:
Rachel,

I like your use of the word "aimless" -- group, is this an apt word for our hero Jake?

I wonder, if we could change anything about him, what would we change? How would that change the story?




Hi Stephanie~

Thanks for your comments! I am not sure I would change Jake at all. I think his character and his foibles are a big part of the progression of the plot. To change his character would be to change the flow of the story since, I feel, alot of the action of is driven by Jake's flaws. Of course, that is not to discredit Al Crosetti, Carolyn Rolly, and others =)

I also think, and I believe I mentioned this elsewhere, that Jake's flaws make him that much more human to us as the readers. We can stumble along with him in this story because he isn't perfect. He is gonna mess up and we can relate because we might have done the same. It makes the connection with Jake that much more real.

Thanks!
Rachel
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LizzieAnn
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Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

I too like the word "aimless" to describe Jake. Others that hit me are discontent, dissatisfied, and disconnected. I also think that he brings alot of unhappiness onto himself.



Bastet wrote:
Although I have already finished the book, I remember thinking to myself that Jake Mishkin is definitely an aimless person. I wouldn't call him "unlikable" per se, but I could feel a sense of frustration with him because he can't seem to get his act together. You can even see that in the opening pages of the book as he struggles to keep himself on track with his narrative. He keeps digressing, and even at points, has to write that he is digressing. He just lacks focus to me, and this inability to show any kind of real drive is what can be frustrating about him.

I think, from reading the first few chapters, that Jake is going to have a hard time with this search. He struck me as the one who sort of fell into this and, of course, he would happily walk away if he really could. Again, I don't say that is unlikable but it does make for a weak hero. It also, at the same time, keeps him human, so that makes it easier, I think, for readers to really relate to him. He is definitely no god, but a mere mortal like the rest of us =)

Thanks!
Rachel



Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Bastet wrote:

Wildflower wrote:
Well, now you've got me intrigued! Speaking of integrity, I gotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!




Yes, I am intrigued about her as well. I am not far enough along yet to know her whole story, but either everything she told Crosetti is a lie, or else her name is not Carolyn Rolly.




Hi Wildflower~

Carolyn Rolly is definitely an enigma! No other word for it! I'm not sure how far you have gotten but if you have read through the scenes that take place in her apartment (when they first discover the documents in the book covers) and immediately after, like the visit with the professor and such, there is a huge element of mistrust with her. I do not want Al to fall for this girl because he seems like such a decent guy and she has a dark air about her .... I sense trouble a'comin =)

Thanks!
Rachel




Yeah, I have finished that part in her apartment and she is definitely lying about alot (everything?). I am just beginning chapter 10 where hopefully I will learn more about her deep dark secrets. I think Al has already fallen for her so hopefully she turns out to be more mysterious than evil.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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michaelgruber
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

Well, I meant the reader to see the relationship of the three main male characters as significant. Jake is a 'successful' modern figure, but wracked by discontent arising from his own dishonesty. He's a cheater and he knows it, but feels helpless to change. He's also an unreliable narrator. Crosetti is 'unsuccessful' in terms of the world, but he's essentially happy although as an artist, he tells lies for a living, and sometimes has difficulty distinguishing life from a movie. Bracegirdle is essentially honest--he's writing his deathbed confession--and he's a pre-modern man. His main concern is his immortal soul and, unlike the other two, he's not neurotic. I thought the contrast would be interesting and say something about our modern predicament, which is what I think novels are for.
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Bastet
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale


michaelgruber wrote:
Well, I meant the reader to see the relationship of the three main male characters as significant. Jake is a 'successful' modern figure, but wracked by discontent arising from his own dishonesty. He's a cheater and he knows it, but feels helpless to change. He's also an unreliable narrator. Crosetti is 'unsuccessful' in terms of the world, but he's essentially happy although as an artist, he tells lies for a living, and sometimes has difficulty distinguishing life from a movie. Bracegirdle is essentially honest--he's writing his deathbed confession--and he's a pre-modern man. His main concern is his immortal soul and, unlike the other two, he's not neurotic. I thought the contrast would be interesting and say something about our modern predicament, which is what I think novels are for.




Hi~

That is fantastic! Although I was particularly keen on the way the three main male characters interacted with each other (especially Crosetti and Jake, since Bracegirdle is there through his letters), you suddenly highlighted one of the reasons why I found their relationships so dynamic. Each person has this dichotomy in their character; each person is both a success and a failure. They just differ in how they succeed and how they fail. And I just now realized how evident that dichotomy is in the relationships between the three characters, and how it plays out in the evolution of those relationships over the course of the book. I don't want to give anything away to those who are not yet finished, but I can especially see this when I think back on how Crosetti's and Jake's relationship changed through the course of the story, especially as the two start to "come to blows" so to speak. This does create a great metaphor for our modern relationships and I'll be interested to see what others think as well.

Thanks,
Rachel
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GypsyWriter
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale

"What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?"

I am surprised to find that I like the Jake Mishkin character. I find myself snickering over his cynicism (e.g., "That was when you could beat the sh*t out of the press without having it captured on videotape, which made for a more civilized press, in my opinion." That's a classic!) First-person narrative usually drives me nuts--especially when it's from a character I don't especially relate to, which Jake definitely is. But I've got his voice in my head now, and I'm following his ramblings and anecdotes with pleasure.

At this early stage in the book (I'm in Chap 5), I would guess that his personality might be more of a hindrance. If he can't even stay on track to relate the details of a single day, how will he ever stay on track in what might turn out to be a treasure hunt--or a wild goose chase? I don't think I would necessarily call him 'aimless;' he seems to have a purpose, he just seems unable to keep it in sight.
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Fozzie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: The Lawyer's Tale



Stephanie wrote:
What is your early view of Jake Mishkin's character? Are his personality and profession likely to aid in his search -- or are they going to be more of a hindrance? Do his flaws make him more likeable?




I do not like Jake, but I do respect him. I also find him to be very interesting. Like others, I do find him to be detached from personal relationships and find myself wondering about his wife. I think his personality and profession will aid in his search, but he seems to be distracted while writing this story and I am concerned that a distraction will ultimately be harmful to the search.
Laura

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Fozzie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Carolyn Rolly

[ Edited ]

katknit wrote:


... I cotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!



Me too! The talk of her thin, sharp teeth, like a wolf's teeth, make me think the worst about her.

Message Edited by Fozzie on 05-05-200708:33 AM

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Carolyn Rolly



Fozzie wrote:

katknit wrote:


... I cotta wonder about the enigmatic Carolyn Rolly!



Me too! The talk of her thin, sharp teeth, like a wolf's teeth, make me think the worst about her.

Message Edited by Fozzie on 05-05-200708:33 AM






Wow Fozzie. What a great catch. I never thought of it that way.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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