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Rachel-K
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The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

[ Edited ]

How were you affected by the experiences of these characters? How do they find endurance, and how do people who've suffered find the strength to care for each other?



Message Edited by rkubie on 06-01-2008 10:23 PM
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KathyH
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

I'm always amazed at the bravery and tenacity of survivors. I can't imagine myself in their places, but I'm sure they never dreamed they'd be there, either.
 
I also understand the fear of those who hid, who closed their eyes to abuses. When you don't believe anything you can do would do any good, you try to survive yourself.
 
And I understand those who lost faith in promises. When you are let down so many times and in such life and death circumstances, you refuse to trust. You're setting yourself up for disappointment (at the very least) or betrayal and death.
 
I admire Marta. She remembers all those who helped her, all those who lost as much as she, all those who lost even more. She allows her heart to be changed by her experiences. She judges others less.
 
I think she'll recover more and more quickly than those who hang onto the hate, who are not in positions to help others for whatever reasons, who continue to be battered.
 
KathyH
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Rachel-K
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

And Marta goes through this while she is so young! She was just taking shape as an adult!
 
I'd always imagined that I would find the courage to be brave in such desperate circumstances--until I had kids--and I see very clearly now how reasonable it would feel to follow the simplest and most selfish sort of survival!
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Pam_Jenoff
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

I think it is very hard to judge people's choices in difficult circumstances like war and survival because we do not know what we would do ourselves if faced with the situation.  I always say that I am not very brave - If I'd been Dorothy I probably would have stayed in Oz rather than undertake the scary struggle to get home.  Seriously.
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johanna49
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

[ Edited ]
Marta has survived so many deaths and tragedies. Though, I have not suffered like
Marta.I have survived depression and cancer. Something kicked in that I wanted to go on. I wanted to live and as I say come out the other side. Marta also has wonderful things in her life. Her daughter Rachel is so special to her. I have also had special joys as my family and friends, and my career. Also projects that I have accomplished.


Message Edited by johanna49 on 06-14-2008 11:26 AM
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Pam_Jenoff
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

It's so interesting, isn't it, how one person perseveres in certain circumstances while another doesn't.  So much of it, as you've said, has to do with the things in life that keep us going.
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Pam_Jenoff
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

For me as a writer one of the ongoing themes is a character's relationship to a place and I think a huge theme related to the book is survivors' guilt and Marta's feelings about moving on while others are left behind, not to mention the ties that bind her to Eastern Europe even after she is gone
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va-BBoomer
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

I work for a Jewish non-profit, so have become very aware of the Holocaust and the survivors, and how these people survived such horror.  And you are right; you cannot judge how they survived, and what they did to make it.     I know I am very impressed in that Marta didn't end up with hate, which she well could have, and no one with knowledge of the camps, etc., would blame her. 
I wonder, too, what kind of courage I would have.  I might have stayed in Oz, too.
 
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Pam_Jenoff
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery

Welcome!  I must say that if you work for a Jewish non-profit and are aware of Holocaust issues, you should check out The Kommandant's Girl -- those themes are much more prevalent there.
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Fozzie
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Re: The Diplomat's Wife: War and recovery



rkubie wrote:

How were you affected by the experiences of these characters? How do they find endurance, and how do people who've suffered find the strength to care for each other?


I think having others to care for and about, as well as having people who cared about you, even if they were not family, was a key to survival.  But at what point do you have to fight just for yourself?  Or, at what point do you sacrifice yourself for a friend?  I thought that sacrifice was one of the most moving scenes in the book.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Rachel-K
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Re: Survivors: Leaving a place

I see Marta--while acting as a secretary to Western politicians--as having an especially hard time with leaving--we hear her suppressing her anger at the endless talk while they place the red push pins in the map of Eastern Europe! These offices are so distant from any of the actual suffering they are discussing.
 
When she is pushed back into actual involvement, does it fee like the "real" Marta is waking up?
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Pam_Jenoff
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Re: Survivors: Leaving a place

I definitely think that Marta was frustrated by the West's slow response, which seemed to be repeating the same mistakes as during the war.  And the call to return to Eastern Europe awakened the warrior within her!
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Fozzie
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Re: Survivors: Leaving a place



rkubie wrote:
When she is pushed back into actual involvement, does it fee like the "real" Marta is waking up?


Yes, I think so.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.