Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

Please use this thread to talk about your reactions to the middle section of The Art of Racing. After developing such deep affection for Enzo and his family, we are given some terrible shocks in these chapters.
 
What are the advantages of hearing these happenings from Enzo, rather than from Denny? Is it possible that because of his boundless love for Denny, that Enzo might be able to express outrage and confusion better than Denny himself?
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

The middle chapters gave me one of my favorite lines in the book and I'd like to share it with you. It is from chapter 25, and Enzo observes, "Beware the whimsy of Fate...She is a mean bitch of a lab."
Ain't it the truth!
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

These chapters are the difficult ones for me to love as they seem to set up the drama for the ending. Can any of the readers offer their view of Annika and the episode with Denny? I've never had a 16 year old, even when I was 16 too, after me and it is beyond my aging comprehension.
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

We have seen the Zebra in Denny and in Enzo, but it is within us all. The night of the incident with Annika, was she possessed by the Zebra rather then Denny?
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Contributor
CylonReader
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

Well, as much as I would like to write off Annika's behavior as just that of a self-absorbed adolescent, I really can't. I believe at any given time, any of us can allow our perceptions to be shaped by hearing what we want and by interpreting someone else's behavior to suit our agenda. That said, I have mentored teenage girls for many years, and I can tell you that the drama they associate with "love" can be all consuming for them:smileyhappy:
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

[ Edited ]
Hi! I agree with what you say. I don't believe this is all her fault, there is a two way street here. I don't mean ignore the incident because something did happen. The issue of the Zebra in Annika, was raised not as an accusation, or even an explanation, but to recognize that the Zebra exists in us all. As it was being asked, if the Zebra was in Denny, then I posed why not Annika as well? Thanks for your observation...


Message Edited by brontyman on 07-15-2008 01:55 PM
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Contributor
CylonReader
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

Hi Michael -
 
I certainly agree with your observations as well...Annika's behavior when Denny confronts her was certainly "out there"...and Garth certainly alludes to something extraordinary about her behavior when Enzo uses the words "spooky" and "creepy" in terms of her actions.
 
Hmmm...I'll have to read through some additional threads, as I'm sure someone posed the question "why did he use a Zebra"?
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

[ Edited ]
CylonReader,
Drella, Garth's wife gives a wonderful clear interpretation of the Zebra and the significance of the symbol itself. Look for it in the Zebra thread. It clears up a lot. Trying reading the scene again after her interpretation, it will be a new view for you!
Oh, Welcome to the discussions, I look forward to chatting with you again!


Message Edited by brontyman on 07-15-2008 05:10 PM
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Frequent Contributor
Drella
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

I'd love to try to explain my understanding of Annika and her motives and role in the story--hopefully I'll get a chance tomorrow. I'll put it in the whole book thread, because I don't think I can discuss it without getting into the later chapters.
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

Hi! That's for being so gracious with your time, insight and patience. I am very interested to hear about Annika, I think she is a pivotal character and because of a perceptual blindness caused by testosterone, I can't read her well. I look forward to the conversation.
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Frequent Contributor
brontyman
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

In trying to understand the middle chapters I just had an epiphany sitting here. In some of the reviews of the book, the critics say that Denny seems to have an almost unbelievable run of "bad luck." For some it makes the story less real. Also is the reader's difficultly in understanding Eve's behavior, and also Denny's apparent passivity in the face of the twins.

Eve's death is described by Enzo as a dream that he had after Eve tells him that she is no longer afraid, it is not the end. We know from the reader's view that the story has entered a phase where there are many unresolved issues. It feels uncomfortable to me not knowing how they will all turn out. That is my epiphany...

I seek to order the chaos that life brings, I can not control it and my unease is born. Just as Eve and Enzo completed the tasks of the soul, they were then able to let go of trying to control the chaos. Maybe that is what faith is, letting go of trying to control and order life and instead navigate life's rough water, by accepting the flow and going where it takes you.

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34

Realising we are not always in control is often one of the most difficult things to master or accept. But when we realise that there are some things in life we have no control over, then we can concentrate on what we need to do in the situation, what we can do, rather than try to change the situation itself. We learn to change what is within us, or how we choose to live our lives given some restraints. Often we expend much too much energy trying to change the situation, rather than living our lives knowing it exist as it is. Giving up control on some things, is not the same as giving up on things. Having cancer of the brain and accepting that you can not change this and many aspects of control have been taken out of your hands, is not the same as giving up on life because you have it.

 

Sometimes, I think that may be the frustration in reading about some characters. We don't like what is happening to them and so we don't like or understand why they are doing this and not that and we just don't understand how they can be that way. But that is also the uniqueness of being human. We do not just act and react, we think and feel. This is not to say animals don't think or feel, but I mean, an animal's behavior is much more about act and react and altho this can be either instant instinct or thinking, there is a difference. Thinking and pondering are not the same thing. We ponder, which may also be why things out of our control do bother us even more.


brontyman wrote:

In trying to understand the middle chapters I just had an epiphany sitting here. In some of the reviews of the book, the critics say that Denny seems to have an almost unbelievable run of "bad luck." For some it makes the story less real. Also is the reader's difficultly in understanding Eve's behavior, and also Denny's apparent passivity in the face of the twins.

Eve's death is described by Enzo as a dream that he had after Eve tells him that she is no longer afraid, it is not the end. We know from the reader's view that the story has entered a phase where there are many unresolved issues. It feels uncomfortable to me not knowing how they will all turn out. That is my epiphany...

I seek to order the chaos that life brings, I can not control it and my unease is born. Just as Eve and Enzo completed the tasks of the soul, they were then able to let go of trying to control the chaos. Maybe that is what faith is, letting go of trying to control and order life and instead navigate life's rough water, by accepting the flow and going where it takes you.


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34


brontyman wrote:

In trying to understand the middle chapters I just had an epiphany sitting here. In some of the reviews of the book, the critics say that Denny seems to have an almost unbelievable run of "bad luck." For some it makes the story less real. Also is the reader's difficultly in understanding Eve's behavior, and also Denny's apparent passivity in the face of the twins.

Eve's death is described by Enzo as a dream that he had after Eve tells him that she is no longer afraid, it is not the end. We know from the reader's view that the story has entered a phase where there are many unresolved issues. It feels uncomfortable to me not knowing how they will all turn out. That is my epiphany...

I seek to order the chaos that life brings, I can not control it and my unease is born. Just as Eve and Enzo completed the tasks of the soul, they were then able to let go of trying to control the chaos. Maybe that is what faith is, letting go of trying to control and order life and instead navigate life's rough water, by accepting the flow and going where it takes you.


I think you're right Brontyman, life has an ebb and flow to it.  I think that control is more of a western(philosophy) way of thinking whereby we are always trying to control the circumstances in our lives.  In eastern philosophy your life is enhanced by acceptance of the circumstances beyond your control.  Eve resigns herself to her fate while Denny manifests his destiny. 

bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34


rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to talk about your reactions to the middle section of The Art of Racing. After developing such deep affection for Enzo and his family, we are given some terrible shocks in these chapters.
What are the advantages of hearing these happenings from Enzo, rather than from Denny? Is it possible that because of his boundless love for Denny, that Enzo might be able to express outrage and confusion better than Denny himself?

 

Aren't we always better at defending somebody else better than defending ourselves?  I thought of Denny in these chapters as fighting against a riptide, he keeps trying to swim to shore but circumstances prevent him.  In these chapters Denny always seems to be in the angst of the dilemma he finds himself in and I found myself cheering him and encouraging him through to the victory.  I wanted him to succeed as much for me as for the story.

bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Middle Chapters, 20 - 34


brontyman wrote:

In trying to understand the middle chapters I just had an epiphany sitting here. In some of the reviews of the book, the critics say that Denny seems to have an almost unbelievable run of "bad luck." For some it makes the story less real. Also is the reader's difficultly in understanding Eve's behavior, and also Denny's apparent passivity in the face of the twins.

Eve's death is described by Enzo as a dream that he had after Eve tells him that she is no longer afraid, it is not the end. We know from the reader's view that the story has entered a phase where there are many unresolved issues. It feels uncomfortable to me not knowing how they will all turn out. That is my epiphany...

I seek to order the chaos that life brings, I can not control it and my unease is born. Just as Eve and Enzo completed the tasks of the soul, they were then able to let go of trying to control the chaos. Maybe that is what faith is, letting go of trying to control and order life and instead navigate life's rough water, by accepting the flow and going where it takes you.


* Possible spoilers *

 

Denny does have a run of bad luck but it's not so unbelievable to me. His family is struck a huge blow when Eve becomes sick and their lives change directions instantly and forever. That doesn't mean goals are unattainable but some are changed and some must be rethought. Denny has one setback after another but they are all linked to the trauma they have suffered. For some time all they can do is tread water and try to stay afloat. They didn't expect this and they don't know what to do. They are trying desperately to do what is best for each other but some of their choices only complicate things even more. I think they reached a turning point when they decided to accept what they couldn't change (Eve's terminal disease and imminent death) and have the courage to change what they could (Eve's acceptance of her fate replaced her fear and Denny accepted his role in the issues with Annika and continued his fight for Zoe. He also continued with his dream of racing.) Their lives may have turned in a new direction but they were now able to steer. A rule of racing: No race has ever been won in the first corner; many are lost there.

 

The Serenity Prayer has special meaning to my mother and therefore to me. It reminds me of this time in Denny's and his family's lives.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

the courage to change the things I can;

and the wisdom to know the difference.