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Rachel-K
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Last Chapters, Entire Novel

Please use this thread to begin discussing your impressions of the entire novel once you've finished!
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CrystalVan
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and finished it in a weekend. A few days after finishing the book I listened to a rather negative review on NPR. The whole point of a story like this is to entertain. It held my interest. I liked the way the book worked its way back through time. There was plenty of mystery to keep me turning the pages. I heartily disagree with the review on NPR. Sometimes I think critics feel they must be critical in order to justify being a critic. (I felt the same way about the reviews of the movie, The Bucket List.) I thought the book was wonderful.
Crystal V.
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bentley
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel



CrystalVan wrote:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and finished it in a weekend. A few days after finishing the book I listened to a rather negative review on NPR. The whole point of a story like this is to entertain. It held my interest. I liked the way the book worked its way back through time. There was plenty of mystery to keep me turning the pages. I heartily disagree with the review on NPR. Sometimes I think critics feel they must be critical in order to justify being a critic. (I felt the same way about the reviews of the movie, The Bucket List.) I thought the book was wonderful.





I have to say that I just finished the book today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought that Geraldine Brooks' timing was very well done; how she interwove the elements and characters from the past with the present. It was an enjoyable book; I have to agree with you.
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Clare
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

I really enjoyed reading this book. I finished it in two days. I was intrigued by the meticulous way Hannah examined the manuscript and the detectve skills that she employed.
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Fozzie
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

Like all of you, I read the book very fast, each story held my interest, and I thought it tied together wonderfully. 
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

I too enjoyed this book and felt its relevence.  So much suffering throughout the centuries.  It took many different kinds of people to assemble this particular book, they didn't even know, from one country to the next or one century to another, that they were working together to create/save a thing of beauty. 
 
I did not hear the NPR review however I was sorry to see that POTB dropped to 7 in the NY Times Bestseller list.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Fozzie
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

HannibalCat asked how we felt about Hanna's mother.
 
At first I was neutral toward her.  Yes, she worked too much and was cold, but I did not hold that against her.  However, as I read how work absolutely dominated her life, at the expense of Hanna, the mother became a thorn in my side, irritating me. 
 
When I found out that the mother (do we know her name?) let her lover, the painter, die, because she thought she knew that he would not want to be blind, I lost all respect for her.  I don't blame Hanna for cutting off contact with her upon learning that.  I do think the mother became a workaholic as an attempt to atone for this mistake, but found her controlling nature to be too much.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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HannibalCat
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel



Fozzie wrote:
HannibalCat asked how we felt about Hanna's mother.
 
At first I was neutral toward her.  Yes, she worked too much and was cold, but I did not hold that against her.  However, as I read how work absolutely dominated her life, at the expense of Hanna, the mother became a thorn in my side, irritating me. 
 
When I found out that the mother (do we know her name?) let her lover, the painter, die, because she thought she knew that he would not want to be blind, I lost all respect for her.  I don't blame Hanna for cutting off contact with her upon learning that.  I do think the mother became a workaholic as an attempt to atone for this mistake, but found her controlling nature to be too much.





Great answer. I felt that way too. I though she was completely irresponsible and spent her time fulfilling her own needs, neglecting even to tell Hannah who her father was. I think that was reprehensible in light if the fact that he was a decent person and did not deserve to be forgotten or unknown. Hannah could have had a family throughout her growing years and was denied the opportunity.

Anyone else have any thoughts.
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel



Fozzie wrote:
HannibalCat asked how we felt about Hanna's mother.
 
At first I was neutral toward her.  Yes, she worked too much and was cold, but I did not hold that against her.  However, as I read how work absolutely dominated her life, at the expense of Hanna, the mother became a thorn in my side, irritating me. 
 
When I found out that the mother (do we know her name?) let her lover, the painter, die, because she thought she knew that he would not want to be blind, I lost all respect for her.  I don't blame Hanna for cutting off contact with her upon learning that.  I do think the mother became a workaholic as an attempt to atone for this mistake, but found her controlling nature to be too much.


I find Dr Heath, MD,to be  a self-centered egotistical selfish woman.  I feel that she did not want to be saddled with a baby and a blind lover, what would it do to her career! 
To not allow Hannah's paternal grandmother to even see her is unbelievable, then she advises Hannah to keep her paternity a secret to protect her position.  Strangers in Brooks' short stories were more caring than Hannah's own mother!!! Am I being a bit harsh?
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Fozzie
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel




Carmenere_lady wrote:


I feel that she did not want to be saddled with a baby and a blind lover, what would it do to her career! 
Am I being a bit harsh?



Oh, I hadn't thought of the blind lover hurting her career!  Of course he would!  I don't think you are being too harsh.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Last Chapters, Branko returns

SPOILER:
 
The one disappointment in this novel, for me, was the return of Branko.  Why him?!  Any man could have filled this portion of the story.  It brought to mind Alfred in The House at Riverton brought back just to tie up some loose ends.  Just too tidy.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel



rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to begin discussing your impressions of the entire novel once you've finished!

I love the way Brook's weaves romance, history and mystery into this novel.  In my opinion, she is  masterful.  Also, when you think the story is winding down she throws something else at you.  It is my plan, now that I've been introduced to GB, to read her other books.:smileyhappy:
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Ken22102
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel

I was very excited about this book.  I hadn't read anything by Brooks but was aware of her Pulitzer and was hoping I'd found a source for some good future reads as well.  I lucked out, noticing that she was making the rounds doing book-signings, and I managed to attend one in a neighborhood store.  What I heard that night only whetted my appetite further.  She is an excellent speaker and made the history of the book (her book), her own personal history, and the decisions she made in structuring the story, all very fascinating and entertaining.
 
Well, the book was a big disappointment for me.  I found it slow, often boring.  While some characters were very interesting, many were not - including, unfortunately the protaganist.  The links back to the historical passages were weak, and the huge time gaps between the flashbacks were disruptive.  I couldn't wait for some of the flashbacks to end.  I thought the climax was also disappointing. Bottomline: dull, dull, dull.
 
 
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Fozzie
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Re: Last Chapters, Branko returns



Carmenere_lady wrote:
SPOILER:
 
The one disappointment in this novel, for me, was the return of Branko.  Why him?!  Any man could have filled this portion of the story. 
I agree.
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: Last Chapters, Branko returns



Fozzie wrote:


Carmenere_lady wrote:
SPOILER:
 
The one disappointment in this novel, for me, was the return of Branko.  Why him?!  Any man could have filled this portion of the story. 
I agree.



Did this part make sense to you? It was a bit of a jaw-dropper for me, but it also made a kind of gruesome sense, too. There was a connection with him when her own past seemed lost otherwise. How did you read this?
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Last Chapters, Branko returns



rkubie wrote:


Fozzie wrote:


Carmenere_lady wrote:
SPOILER:
 
The one disappointment in this novel, for me, was the return of Branko.  Why him?!  Any man could have filled this portion of the story. 
I agree.



Did this part make sense to you? It was a bit of a jaw-dropper for me, but it also made a kind of gruesome sense, too. There was a connection with him when her own past seemed lost otherwise. How did you read this?


Mmmmm, I hadn't thought about that.  Perhaps in a world where everything has changed and been taken away from you, a person would tend to gravitate to something or someone who takes you back to what you know. 
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
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Re: Hill of Grace shiraz (pp. 342-3)

A bit about Hill of Grace shiraz:

http://tinyurl.com/3doltd

http://www.henschke.com.au/vineyards/hillofgrace/

http://www.henschke.com.au/wines/?wine=13

http://www.henschke.com.au/about/

Demanding professions can have their rewards.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel -- Some overall musings

This is a book that feels a little like alcohol mixing with water -- the volume doesn't increase drastically, but a new mixture has been created.

Tidbits -- adds to book history and art history -- the curator's training and work, how long these works of art may travel at what human interests and risks across the centuries, the arcane knowledge and techniques, the continued application of leading edge technology, the glimpses of Venice ....

Comparison to Susan Vreeland's The Girl in Hyacinth Blue has already been made. I was also reminded of The Last Jew by Noah Gordon, a tale of escaping Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century. Perhaps a bit of The Coffee Trader by David Liss. And of a bleak book on death and grieving written by a British scholar about the difficulties of attaining closure in parts of Russia after ethnic and political purges that I read during a period when I was wrestling with grieving.

I enjoyed the references to Australian artists and appreciated the links other readers here have traced down for us to use. Also, the Carnivale masks.

I wanted more on Sarajevo and the history there -- I didn't get as much historical perspective as I anticipated from the stories Brooks provided.

A.S. Byatt's Possession introduced me to the archives at:

Harry Ransom Center
http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/

People of the Book introduces me to:

Straus Center for Conservation
http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/straus/
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Fozzie
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Re: Last Chapters, Entire Novel -- Some overall musings



Peppermill wrote:
 Perhaps a bit of The Coffee Trader by David Liss.

Really?  I recently read that and the only comparison I can think of right now is Jewish people in historical times.  What were you thinking of?
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Peppermill
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Re: Any relevant comparison w/The Coffee Trader?


Fozzie wrote:

Peppermill wrote: Perhaps a bit of The Coffee Trader by David Liss.
Really? I recently read that and the only comparison I can think of right now is Jewish people in historical times. What were you thinking of?
You hit it on the head, Laura. Historic Jewish relationships with the remainder of the citizenry in Europe -- the undercurrents, the ghettos, the needs for awareness, ....
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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