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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Garth,
What a great story...yet another insight I would not I had, if it weren't for the club. The epilogue allows a certain closure, but for us who miss Enzo's "dogness", him running in the fields of forever is a great scene we can feel. Somehow the boy Enzo in the epilogue, barking twice would not have been the same.
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
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CylonReader
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Well, as promised - I ran to my local Starbucks and picked up this book a few days ago. I finished it in just over a day - laughing and crying along the way. I LOVED the bit about Enzo fearing he was a "dog stalker"!!! Ironically, I was early for a meeting on Sunday, parked outside a building in a residential part of Denver. It actually crossed my mind as several cars drove by, and several people actually walked by me that someone would wonder if I was a stalker - then, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I returned home and reached that part of the book...too funny.
 
This book was among the best I've read in a while, and like so many who post on the B&N sites, I read a LOT. I found the narration by Enzo to be a fresh and rewarding approach and the characters are so richly developed. I came to care deeply for this family, and I cried during Denny's final moments with Enzo. I plan to recommend this book to everyone I can think of - including my monthly book club.
 
Mr. Stein - my true and heartfelt thanks to you for a wonderful and inspiring story, and for your steadfast attention to the thoughts and questions of your readers. This story was beautifully and intelligently written. In a word? Brilliant!
 
Lisa:smileyhappy:
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Rachel-K
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

This is another that has moved to the "Annika" thread! Come share your thoughts.

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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Hi Drella an area for Garth to help us with...
One of the areas we haven't explored are the scenes with Denny's parents. Just a few pages, not a lot of dialogue, but I think the author was painting a picture, setting a tone. I think Enzo's a little confused by the interaction between Denny and his parents. They are obviously estranged, but below that there seems to be an understanding and even an acceptance of the differences between them. Am I reading those passages "correctly"? Any insights?
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
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vivico1
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


brontyman wrote:
Hi Drella an area for Garth to help us with...
One of the areas we haven't explored are the scenes with Denny's parents. Just a few pages, not a lot of dialogue, but I think the author was painting a picture, setting a tone. I think Enzo's a little confused by the interaction between Denny and his parents. They are obviously estranged, but below that there seems to be an understanding and even an acceptance of the differences between them. Am I reading those passages "correctly"? Any insights?



Michael, I think thats a good topic for us all :smileywink: Denny's parents and what everyone thought about them and the relationships. Now that you mentioned that, I will have to go back and read a couple of pages about them too. Thanks for bringing up the topic, for all of us, I hope. :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Vivian, Any topic I bring up is for all to discuss! The ending with Enzo is so moving that we overlook the simple scenes of Denny and his parents. When I was reading them at first, it took me a while to even know they were his parents. I too will read those passages again.
I mentioned Garth, because Drella posted that he would respond if there were any posts. Wanted to have something for him to comment on, but I value everyone's comments.
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
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Drella
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel



brontyman wrote:
Hi Drella an area for Garth to help us with...
One of the areas we haven't explored are the scenes with Denny's parents. Just a few pages, not a lot of dialogue, but I think the author was painting a picture, setting a tone. I think Enzo's a little confused by the interaction between Denny and his parents. They are obviously estranged, but below that there seems to be an understanding and even an acceptance of the differences between them. Am I reading those passages "correctly"? Any insights?





Yes, I agree with your take on Denny and his parents. There was that pivotal moment in their lives when Denny's father made the threat: Stay and help with your mother or we're through. Denny's father probably regretted what he said as soon as he said it, but he didn't know how to get himself out of it. Again, Denny's forgiveness probably is what causes his parents to travel all that way and give him money. If Denny hadn't been trying to contact them and make amends all along, they probably wouldn't have responded to a call for help out of the blue.

Enzo is probably not so much confused as he is frustrated that he is caught up in an interaction that he knew nothing about before this moment. How weird for him to have been living with Denny all these years, to know so many of Denny's thoughts and dreams, but to know nothing about his parents. Obviously, it was one of those subjects that Denny didn't want to talk about with Enzo. Since Denny is generally not a complainer, he would never have spent any time talking about how mean his parents had been to him.

Anyway, I'm just rambling now....no special insights!
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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Hey let me ramble with you. Enzo would not have understood the interaction with Denny and his parents very well, after all he didn't know his father at all and barely had a chance to know his mother. The complex interaction, and the unspoken tension, in those passages would have been sensed by Enzo, but not understood. For one of the few times in the story Enzo has no insight, that's what grabbed my attention.
 
Michael

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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


Drella wrote:

Enzo is probably not so much confused as he is frustrated that he is caught up in an interaction that he knew nothing about before this moment. How weird for him to have been living with Denny all these years, to know so many of Denny's thoughts and dreams, but to know nothing about his parents. Obviously, it was one of those subjects that Denny didn't want to talk about with Enzo. Since Denny is generally not a complainer, he would never have spent any time talking about how mean his parents had been to him.



You know, speaking of this maybe not being something Denny wanted to talk about with Enzo,looking back on the book, I think there were many things Denny didn't want to talk about but probably should have. He may not be much of a complainer, but he does sometimes frustrate us as much as Enzo as far as wanting inside what he is thinking sometimes that he doesnt share. It's why we don't always understand his motives, but gee, dont we all know someone like that, whom we love or friends we care about but sometimes they can really frustrate you by keeping things to themselves.

I wonder who we tend to judge the most, and often wrongly, those who just talk way too much about everything, or those who don't talk enough.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

For me, these scenes are about the idea that Enzo is our narrator and we've grown to trust him and love him. But he is only telling the parts of the story he knows.

Denny has a life outside of Enzo. He has his past, and his world that he lives outside the house or the apartment. And it's a life filled with stuff.

As a literary device, these chapters are a reminder to the reader that this "other world" exists. As a character device, it shows us first, what you guys already said, that Denny's character is consistent: he is determined to do his thing, but he is ever generous about understanding the needs of others who are affected (Eve, his parents). And second, that Enzo, who has previously marginalized Denny's parents ("They may have been stuffed animals themselves for all that we saw them in Seattle...." ), is willing to forgive, reassess, change his mind. He doesn't get to know Denny's parents as well as he would have liked, but he does get to see that they are people; and he understands that all people--familiar or not--have feelings and motivations.


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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


brontyman wrote:
Hey let me ramble with you. Enzo would not have understood the interaction with Denny and his parents very well, after all he didn't know his father at all and barely had a chance to know his mother. The complex interaction, and the unspoken tension, in those passages would have been sensed by Enzo, but not understood. For one of the few times in the story Enzo has no insight, that's what grabbed my attention.
 





Yes, B-man. Honestly, I didn't think much when writing these chapters. I just wrote, and I knew they were necessary. So it's hard for me to explain them; that's why I have Drella.

I think Enzo accepts Denny's parents because Denny does, and Enzo always defers to Denny. And I think he has no judgment because he is very much taken by surprise, but also because Denny has no judgment. Finally, I think Enzo realized that something very significant happened in those few days, and maybe even realized that he didn't have full understanding of the complexity of it.

I remember my editor asking me to change the syntax of that last paragraph to make it sound more in keeping with Enzo's cadence. I tried, but I put it back the way I had written it. One of the only times I didn't take Jennifer's suggestion--which almost always were prefect. I wanted to keep that Yoda-like last paragraph because I think, to me, it sounded like Enzo's bewilderment and acceptance.

G


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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]
Garth,
Your instinct on that last paragraph was correct. The Yoda like "brief but powerful was their visit" makes that paragraph. The final sentence sets into motion the mood and tone  for the finale. Well crafted it is... Powerful it is...
You mention that you just wrote, but I have listened to you enough to know that this degree of mindlessness is needed to reach a creative vision that rings false when it is forced. Most of us who read these brief chapters will tell you you gave us something to think about.You paint a picture of his parents with a few strokes  but you leave us with lasting impressions of the light and shadows of that picture.


Message Edited by brontyman on 07-17-2008 09:53 PM
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Michael, Vivian, and Garth,

Yes, yes, and yes! I love what you all just wrote about Denny, Enzo and Denny's parents.
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Ayrton Senna said this:

"...the last qualifying session. I was already on pole, then by half a second and then one second and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel. Not only the tunnel under the hotel but the whole circuit was a tunnel. I was just going and going, more and more and more and more. I was way over the limit but still able to find even more.

"Then suddenly something just kicked me. I kind of woke up and realised that I was in a different atmosphere than you normally are. My immediate reaction was to back off, slow down. I drove slowly back to the pits and I didn't want to go out any more that day. It frightened me because I was well beyond my conscious understanding. It happens rarely but I keep these experiences very much alive inside me because it is something that is important for self-preservation."

When I write, I may not be in a car going 200 mph, and if I make a mistake, I will certainly not die. But sometimes I feel like I am in a tunnel....

G


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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Garth,

There is a temptation to ask you if ARR was written in one of your tunnels.  Not understanding writing I want to ask if the words and the characters took shape painfully in the special way of an author or if they were born speaking with a voice of their own? I want to ask but there is no need the answer is self evident. We who do not write, think of writing as a craft. Something you switch on and off as the need arises. Those of you who write view it, I think, as something that is given a voice that occurs from an understanding of motives from within.

ARR seems to be more then the sum of it's parts. It is all of the writer's craft and the expression of one man's art, but it has touched something deeper, something universal, something felt by all. You mention your writing is like Senna's tunnel, I like to think it is Enzo's field. An open endless field, with all that is good and true, felt with a passion, all without a sense of time. Sir, you have tapped into that energy, that special place. You have carried us there with your words, we have run with Enzo in that field because of the power and beauty of your words. Forgive me if I am redundant, I am not an articulate man, but I am a man who knows when something special has happened, and sometimes it is as simple as reading a book.

Thank you for the ride...

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

There is a passage in the later chapters of the book where Enzo says he does not know where Eve got her distrust of doctors, but knows where his comes from. He relates the story where his dewclaws were clipped without anesthesia, and the vet saying to him, "It's a mean bastard that won't pay for anesthesia for his pups." Enzo's thoughts are "That's why I don't trust them (doctors), because it's a mean bastard that would do the clipping without anesthesia because they want to get paid."

While the thought can be debated both ways, there is some truth in this...How many of us would have given the anesthetic out of our pocket? If you would could you afford to do this for all?

Michael

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vivico1
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Hey, I am too soft hearted. I had a guinnea pig once in college. Wasn't even that attached to it, it was my first and not what I really expected I guess. But it got sick. I took it to the vet, paid them to watch it over night and when they said it was going to die, did I want to come get it and take it home to die (knowing that I paid all of what, $10 for this guinea pig) I said noooo, that would be cruel. I paid another $35 to have a GUINNEA PIG put to sleep! lol, I would be paying for anesthesia, trust me.

 

Oh, and yes, I remember Enzo thinking, its also a mean doctor that would do it without anesthesia. He was right. The vet could have just given it on his own tab if he thought it was that mean to do to a dog. Makes you wonder, if someone left sick animals on this vets door, as people will do,say a sick kitty, would this doctor just put it in a corner to die or in a bag and drown it, rather then euthanizing it as most caring vets would do?

 


brontyman wrote:

There is a passage in the later chapters of the book where Enzo says he does not know where Eve got her distrust of doctors, but knows where his comes from. He relates the story where his dewclaws were clipped without anesthesia, and the vet saying to him, "It's a mean bastard that won't pay for anesthesia for his pups." Enzo's thoughts are "That's why I don't trust them (doctors), because it's a mean bastard that would do the clipping without anesthesia because they want to get paid."

While the thought can be debated both ways, there is some truth in this...How many of us would have given the anesthetic out of our pocket? If you would could you afford to do this for all?


 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Garth_Stein
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


brontyman wrote:

Garth,

There is a temptation to ask you if ARR was written in one of your tunnels.  Not understanding writing I want to ask if the words and the characters took shape painfully in the special way of an author or if they were born speaking with a voice of their own? I want to ask but there is no need the answer is self evident. We who do not write, think of writing as a craft. Something you switch on and off as the need arises. Those of you who write view it, I think, as something that is given a voice that occurs from an understanding of motives from within.

ARR seems to be more then the sum of it's parts. It is all of the writer's craft and the expression of one man's art, but it has touched something deeper, something universal, something felt by all. You mention your writing is like Senna's tunnel, I like to think it is Enzo's field. An open endless field, with all that is good and true, felt with a passion, all without a sense of time. Sir, you have tapped into that energy, that special place. You have carried us there with your words, we have run with Enzo in that field because of the power and beauty of your words. Forgive me if I am redundant, I am not an articulate man, but I am a man who knows when something special has happened, and sometimes it is as simple as reading a book.

Thank you for the ride...


Tunnels.  Fields.  The metaphor we use, the image we invoke, is simply a reflection of our need to describe the indescribable.  It all means the same.
 

 


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