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Rachel-K
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Opening Chapters

Please use this thread to discuss the first chapters of People of the Book, up to page 127 of the hardback edition, (where Hirshfeldt accepts payment from Herr Mittl).
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Opening Chapters



rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to discuss the first chapters of People of the Book, up to page 127 of the hardback edition, (where Hirshfeldt accepts payment from Herr Mittl).




The first chapters of the book are a set up for a great story leaving so much to the imagination to figure out or to look forward to happening.
Besides unraveling the obvious, the history of this particular haddaggah, but also the mother daughter relationship, the potential relationship between Ozren and Hannah, Alia's medical problem, just to name a few. Has me entrenched in this book!
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: Opening Chapters

The section of the book titled An Insect's Wing reminded me of a book called a Thread of Grace. I can't imagine being Lola.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780449004135&itm=1
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Opening Chapters

When I read this thought that Hirschfeldt had on page 125, I couldn't help but thinking, Isn't that the truth? We always want what we can't have or what others find attractive.

But the odd thing was that the idea of her, desired by another, had rekindled his own passion.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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bentley
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Re: Opening Chapters



Carmenere_lady wrote:


rkubie wrote:
Please use this thread to discuss the first chapters of People of the Book, up to page 127 of the hardback edition, (where Hirshfeldt accepts payment from Herr Mittl).




The first chapters of the book are a set up for a great story leaving so much to the imagination to figure out or to look forward to happening.
Besides unraveling the obvious, the history of this particular haddaggah, but also the mother daughter relationship, the potential relationship between Ozren and Hannah, Alia's medical problem, just to name a few. Has me entrenched in this book!




Yes, I loved all of that as well. So many parallel themes and subplots.
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Opening Chapters

As I read thru POTB I find that this novel reminds me of another which I love very much and that is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
It is the story of a painting done by Vermeer and traces its history back to the moment of its inspiration. Of course we learn the ownership of the painting thru the years and how everyone who owns it is connected in some way. Very similar in nature. Has anyone here read that book?
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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bentley
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Re: Opening Chapters



Carmenere_lady wrote:
As I read thru POTB I find that this novel reminds me of another which I love very much and that is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
It is the story of a painting done by Vermeer and traces its history back to the moment of its inspiration. Of course we learn the ownership of the painting thru the years and how everyone who owns it is connected in some way. Very similar in nature. Has anyone here read that book?




No,but it sounds wonderful.
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Fozzie
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Re: Opening Chapters



Carmenere_lady wrote:
As I read thru POTB I find that this novel reminds me of another which I love very much and that is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
It is the story of a painting done by Vermeer and traces its history back to the moment of its inspiration. Of course we learn the ownership of the painting thru the years and how everyone who owns it is connected in some way. Very similar in nature. Has anyone here read that book?



I haven't read it yet. I do own it though.
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: Opening Chapters

I'm not sure I like Hannah as a person, yet. I see her as very angry with her mother (can't say I like her mother either), but it seems to interfere too much with her life. I'll hold my judgement on that til later in the book.

But the stories of the people who have been part of the book's history are totally engrossing. I love the way Brooks writes. I had a hard time reading the Hannah parts, but the story parts kept me up at night. Lucky for me I work from home three days a week and can sneak in a nap if needed.

Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?
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HannibalCat
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Re: Opening Chapters



Fozzie wrote:
When I read this thought that Hirschfeldt had on page 125, I couldn't help but thinking, Isn't that the truth? We always want what we can't have or what others find attractive.

But the odd thing was that the idea of her, desired by another, had rekindled his own passion.




So true. I was a little surprised as his quick capitulation to his wife's infidelity. The fact that he could see himself so clearly was interesting. I wonder how long that kind of thinking would last. Do you think it would carry over through the years?
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Opening Chapters



HannibalCat wrote:
I'm not sure I like Hannah as a person, yet. I see her as very angry with her mother (can't say I like her mother either), but it seems to interfere too much with her life. I'll hold my judgement on that til later in the book.

But the stories of the people who have been part of the book's history are totally engrossing. I love the way Brooks writes. I had a hard time reading the Hannah parts, but the story parts kept me up at night. Lucky for me I work from home three days a week and can sneak in a nap if needed.

Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?





Hi HCat,

I can understand how you may get the impression that Hannah is cold. Her relationship with her mother makes me cringe. In fact, her mother makes me cringe too. Hannah does show concern for her old mentor, Herr Doktor Doktor Werner Heinrich in "Hannah, Vienna, Spring 1996). They seem to have a close relationship and show mutual respect. As you state she does stick her nose into Ozren and Alia's business but perhaps she is falling in love w/Ozren, we'll see.
In my opinion, Hannah has put up a wall of defense to protect herself from getting hurt
because her mother has emotionally strained her. Unlike Heinrich, her mother shows her little respect and seems to belittle her choice of careers.
As you can see I rather like Hannah she just needs more love in her life.
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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HannibalCat
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Re: Opening Chapters


Hi HCat, I can understand how you may get the impression that Hannah is cold. Her relationship with her mother makes me cringe. In fact, her mother makes me cringe too. Hannah does show concern for her old mentor, Herr Doktor Doktor Werner Heinrich in "Hannah, Vienna, Spring 1996). They seem to have a close relationship and show mutual respect. As you state she does stick her nose into Ozren and Alia's business but perhaps she is falling in love w/Ozren, we'll see. In my opinion, Hannah has put up a wall of defense to protect herself from getting hurt because her mother has emotionally strained her. Unlike Heinrich, her mother shows her little respect and seems to belittle her choice of careers. As you can see I rather like Hannah she just needs more love in her life.
You're right about Herr Doktor, she did show caring and respect to him. I had forgotten that. And, I think you're right about falling for Ozren. For someone who seems so cold, she sure fell into that fast. I hope she doesn't get hurt in this relationship. Oops, I guess that means I do care about her (at least a little). I think she's the kind of person whom you grow to care about. We'll see.
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Fozzie
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Re: Opening Chapters



HannibalCat wrote:
Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?

There is a thread devoted to Hanna which I have not looked at yet.  I do remember thinking early on in the book that I expected the author to make Hanna an unsympathetic character.  However, I can't say that I ever found her to be such.  There must have been an edge to her voice or something that I noticed early on that quickly disappeared.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Opening Chapters



HannibalCat wrote:


Fozzie wrote:
When I read this thought that Hirschfeldt had on page 125, I couldn't help but thinking, Isn't that the truth? We always want what we can't have or what others find attractive.

But the odd thing was that the idea of her, desired by another, had rekindled his own passion.




So true. I was a little surprised as his quick capitulation to his wife's infidelity. The fact that he could see himself so clearly was interesting. I wonder how long that kind of thinking would last. Do you think it would carry over through the years?

Gosh, not having been in an extramarital affair and then looked at my husband in a new light, it is hard for me to say!  :smileyhappy:  My guess is that he will stray again.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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newbie
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Re: Opening Chapters



HannibalCat wrote:
I'm not sure I like Hannah as a person, yet. I see her as very angry with her mother (can't say I like her mother either), but it seems to interfere too much with her life. I'll hold my judgement on that til later in the book.

But the stories of the people who have been part of the book's history are totally engrossing. I love the way Brooks writes. I had a hard time reading the Hannah parts, but the story parts kept me up at night. Lucky for me I work from home three days a week and can sneak in a nap if needed.

Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?


Hi .... wasn't sure that I would post anything about POTB because everything I read about it seemed to be so "glowing" and at odds with how I felt about it! Then I read your contribution and I have to agree with you. I found myself totally absorbed with Brooks' description of the history of the people of the book but kind of not too interested in Hannah. SPOILER ALERT - I think what put me off early on in the Hannah's sections of the book was her getting into bed with (I've already forgotten his name! - it's been a while since I read the book) Alia's father - I thought - now where did this come from. It felt too soap operaish to me. Like I had just been introduced to her and bam there she was in bed with someone. It somehow made me less interested in her character and her family history. Now, as has been said, as the book goes on we find out how (maybe) she became the person she became but I had pretty much lost interest in her by then. I was much more interested in the historical aspect of this book than Hannah. I haven't read any other of Brooks' books but do like historical fiction. How does March compare to POTB?
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HannibalCat
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Re: Opening Chapters



newbie wrote:


HannibalCat wrote:
I'm not sure I like Hannah as a person, yet. I see her as very angry with her mother (can't say I like her mother either), but it seems to interfere too much with her life. I'll hold my judgement on that til later in the book.

But the stories of the people who have been part of the book's history are totally engrossing. I love the way Brooks writes. I had a hard time reading the Hannah parts, but the story parts kept me up at night. Lucky for me I work from home three days a week and can sneak in a nap if needed.

Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?


Hi .... wasn't sure that I would post anything about POTB because everything I read about it seemed to be so "glowing" and at odds with how I felt about it! Then I read your contribution and I have to agree with you. I found myself totally absorbed with Brooks' description of the history of the people of the book but kind of not too interested in Hannah. SPOILER ALERT - I think what put me off early on in the Hannah's sections of the book was her getting into bed with (I've already forgotten his name! - it's been a while since I read the book) Alia's father - I thought - now where did this come from. It felt too soap operaish to me. Like I had just been introduced to her and bam there she was in bed with someone. It somehow made me less interested in her character and her family history. Now, as has been said, as the book goes on we find out how (maybe) she became the person she became but I had pretty much lost interest in her by then. I was much more interested in the historical aspect of this book than Hannah. I haven't read any other of Brooks' books but do like historical fiction. How does March compare to POTB?




I haven't read March either, but I think I would like to. There have been a lot of very good comments about it. I enjoyed the story parts of POTB so much, that I would be willing to give it a go. Do you think you will try it? I think there was a discussion on BN on March, so there should be some people who have read it and could give us a good background. How about it folks?
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Peppermill
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Re: Opening Chapters


Carmenere_lady wrote:
As I read thru POTB I find that this novel reminds me of another which I love very much and that is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
It is the story of a painting done by Vermeer and traces its history back to the moment of its inspiration. Of course we learn the ownership of the painting thru the years and how everyone who owns it is connected in some way. Very similar in nature. Has anyone here read that book?

Lynda Sue -- as a Vermeer aficionado (I have seen all but two of his authenticated works -- made a trip to Amsterdam largely to see the "Milk Maid" -- one of my favorites), I enjoyed Susan Vreeland's story. The picture she describes is not an actual one, however. Also interesting is Tracy Chevalier's The Girl with the Pearl Earring, which is based on an actual Vermeer, but it is Vreeland's story that much more closely parallels PotB, with the travels of an art object from owner to owner across the centuries.
"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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Crystal8i8
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Re: Opening Chapters

Personally, I like the characters just fine. It's their personality that comes out as Geraldine Brooks' imagination wants them, or as the characters themselves want to be written (it happens to me when I write too.)  All characters have this effect on me and whether I love them hate them or just forget about them, that's what they want you to do.
 
The dividing split of the book for me is the past and the present and how they seem to travel in opposite time directions (Hanna's story progresses while the story of the book regresses)  I do like this feature, but sometimes it gets me confused as to what time period I am in, and yes I do look at the dates but they don't mean much to me, I was never a fan of historical dates.
 
Enamored by and lost in the story already.
The Butterfly Girl 8i8

"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors." - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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Peppermill
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Re: Opening Chapters


Crystal8i8 wrote: ...The dividing split of the book for me is the past and the present and how they seem to travel in opposite time directions (Hanna's story progresses while the story of the book regresses)....

Crystal -- thanks for pointing this out -- I hadn't thought about the opposing time lines, but I did notice the tension that was created. I just didn't think about the opposing time lines as one source. (Do opposing time lines also occur on miniature scales at times? Like saving Aborigine art as a new career? Or the priest thinking back to his childhood? Or...? Is this a deliberate technique? If so, to what purposes?)
"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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March



HannibalCat wrote:


newbie wrote:


HannibalCat wrote:
I'm not sure I like Hannah as a person, yet. I see her as very angry with her mother (can't say I like her mother either), but it seems to interfere too much with her life. I'll hold my judgement on that til later in the book.

But the stories of the people who have been part of the book's history are totally engrossing. I love the way Brooks writes. I had a hard time reading the Hannah parts, but the story parts kept me up at night. Lucky for me I work from home three days a week and can sneak in a nap if needed.

Did anyone else find the Hannah parts harder to read, and what is your opinion of her? Why do you think Brooks wrote her as so cold a person? The only humanity seems to be with regard to the little boy, and at that she went against the father's desires. How mixed up is she?


Hi .... wasn't sure that I would post anything about POTB because everything I read about it seemed to be so "glowing" and at odds with how I felt about it! Then I read your contribution and I have to agree with you. I found myself totally absorbed with Brooks' description of the history of the people of the book but kind of not too interested in Hannah. SPOILER ALERT - I think what put me off early on in the Hannah's sections of the book was her getting into bed with (I've already forgotten his name! - it's been a while since I read the book) Alia's father - I thought - now where did this come from. It felt too soap operaish to me. Like I had just been introduced to her and bam there she was in bed with someone. It somehow made me less interested in her character and her family history. Now, as has been said, as the book goes on we find out how (maybe) she became the person she became but I had pretty much lost interest in her by then. I was much more interested in the historical aspect of this book than Hannah. I haven't read any other of Brooks' books but do like historical fiction. How does March compare to POTB?




I haven't read March either, but I think I would like to. There have been a lot of very good comments about it. I enjoyed the story parts of POTB so much, that I would be willing to give it a go. Do you think you will try it? I think there was a discussion on BN on March, so there should be some people who have read it and could give us a good background. How about it folks?


Hi HC ... did you decide to read March? I'm going to do a little more research on it before I decide. I have a habit of enjoying a book by one author so much I buy another which isn't quite as good! Then, as if I haven't learned my lesson, I get a third by the same author -- then I can't read the author for a long long time!!

happy reading, N
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