Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Fiction  (Read 25157 times)
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2007, 08:21:47 PM »

Nytemps...I am reading along, and am looking forward to the discussion.
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weezo
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« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2007, 08:31:42 PM »

NY Temps,

That was one of the delights in the book. The Scripture war! And Price wasn't even charitable enough to be a good host to his guests!

Remember, when Price first arrived and started out with fire and brinstone about the dress, or lack of same, of his new congregation, a practice which had been acceptable to Fowlkes during his tenure at that church.
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weezo
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« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2007, 01:11:02 AM »

NY,

Ah, I cannot play your game - sadly I have a hard time remembering names of actors and actresses. I can think of a few I would NOT cast in the roles, but not of any I would.

Nathan angered me a lot. I've known too many like him, both in dragging their families to bolster their own egos, and preachers who seem to totally miss the message. Ruth May reminded me a lot of my own baby sister, and when I mentioned that to another sister who was next up in age, she was startled that I remembered "Babum" as bubbly and outgoing. She remembers her as the struggling student with undiagnosed dyslexia who was beset upon by the nuns in the early grades. I totally destroyed her Ruth May-like character. But by the time that had happened, I was married and moved to Virginia.

Rachel was an interesting character in how she played with her opportunities and never let morality or ethics get in her way. Not even to let her sister and dark husband stay in her lily-white resort.

I am curious about one thing. It seems to me that this is a book that would be enjoyed more by a woman than a man. Do you feel that way? I think the female characters are more real than the male ones. They have so much more depth.

One thing that struck me was that the girls all went their own way after the death of their sister, far away each from the other, with little or no contact for decades, then they got back together.

In a way it reminded me of my own family - five sisters, I'm the oldest. And, as we matured and flew the nest we went far away (within the borders of the US, but coast to coast and border to border). We rarely saw each other and didn't have a lot of interest in each other until our Mom was diagnosed with Dementia and we needed to pull together to work things out. We fought, we scraped, we argued, we sulked, but by the time Mom passed, we were almost all on good terms with each other. We each had nursed issues that stemmed from childhood all through out adult lives, and some of us could not put them aside when Mom's life was flowing away. Mom always said when we were growing up, that we were certainly not "peas in a pod", and that each of us have very different pesonalities and ended up with very different lives.

I the PB, I noticed that about the girls in the story. They were each a different person and personality. Adah was so dark and gloomy as a teenager. In today's world she would be one of those girls who wore all black clothes and black nailpolish. Yet, she made so many large steps in her young adulthood and built a wonderful career that made it easy for her sisters to really respect her. Yet, the childish tension between the twins remained. The pull together and the push apart. A need to pay back for the slights in childhood almost wiped out, but not totally. Somehow Oleanna came to hate everything about Africa, but was able to make a final, unsuccessful visit to the grave that could never be found. And, late in their lives, she enjoyed a few minutes with her girls as a family, something that she had been robbed of by her husband.

And, I truly hope I have not spoiled anything for those who are not yet finished reading the story. It is a moving story that stick with you after you close the covers.

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Lhoffman
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« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2007, 01:40:52 AM »

Anne....That is one of the things that impressed my about PB many years ago when I first read it, and now on a re-read.  I have five sisters and  I found  Kingsolver's writing of relationships and  her ability to differentiate their voices in her writing to be quite amazing.   It has always seemed to me that people on the outside of large families view all daughters as the same.  There is sort of a stripping away of individuality.  Kingsolver really seems to understand the interactions, battles and struggles of heirarchy that take place among daughters in  large families, the striving to prove one is special or different, but still needing to belong. 

I haven't looked at her biography, but I wonder if she comes from a large family.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2007, 01:54:30 AM by Lhoffman » Logged
cwlange
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« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2007, 02:58:34 AM »

Anne....That is one of the things that impressed my about PB many years ago when I first read it, and now on a re-read.  I have five sisters and  I found  Kingsolver's writing of relationships and  her ability to differentiate their voices in her writing to be quite amazing.   It has always seemed to me that people on the outside of large families view all daughters as the same.  There is sort of a stripping away of individuality.  Kingsolver really seems to understand the interactions, battles and struggles of heirarchy that take place among daughters in  large families, the striving to prove one is special or different, but still needing to belong. 

I haven't looked at her biography, but I wonder if she comes from a large family.

Lhoffman - Good to see some familiar names.    So how does this forum work?  Are we discussing any particular texts?
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2007, 10:36:00 AM »

Hello CWLange...hope the vacation was good.  This forum will discuss Kingsolver's "Poisonwood Bible" beginning July 1.
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Donotremove
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« Reply #51 on: June 22, 2007, 11:20:33 AM »

I don't know about women enjoying PB more than men, but I will venture that "Southeners" will/would enjoy/understand this family more than, say, East or West coasters.  Reading Ruth Ann's take the first time I was struck with the notion that Mosca and Dzimas and Whiskey might "fall away," not really connecting with the expressions so familiar to me but so foreign to many others, male or female.  This book is not coming across to me as a chick book, except that it is a tale involving a houseful of women.  I have only one sibling, myself, and she came along after I'd been king of the roost for 10 years, but I have zillions of female cousins and I know how those "clusters" work, believe me.  Of course I am barely into PB as of yet.  I had to read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" first because the library was clamouring to have it back.

Barbara Kingsolver has two siblings.  Her father was a doctor and her family did spend a year in Congo.  Born in Annapolis MD and raised in Kentucky, Kingsolver is a biologist (Masters).  Married twice, she has two daughters, Camille and Lily.  Her web site is:

http://www.kingsolver.com
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2007, 11:53:20 AM »

Thanks for the link and the bio DNR.  And I would agree with you that PB would not be catagorized as chick lit. 
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whiskeypriest
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« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2007, 12:01:25 PM »

Maddie,

I first ran into the missionary abuse of a civilization when I read Hawaii, sometime shortly after high school. I never again supported missionary funds.

I had a heated argument with a priest at one of my sister's wedding some years back (her oldest just graduated HS last week!). The priest had recently returned from a stint somewhere in South America and I made a point of questioning him hard about how they were treating the indigineous people. He kept insisting that by taking the Natives in from the "wild" to be servants and nannies in the homes of rich "civilized" folks, that they were "spreading the culture" to these poor misguided folks. I pointed out that the young mother learning about "modern" child care was unable to apply it to her own children, which were back in the village while she lived all week with the laced ones. I seriously doubt I did anything to change his mind about the "right" way to deal with the indigenous, but I got a lot off my chest!





This being a fiction forum and all, my two favorite Missionary novels are A Burnt Out Case and At Play in the Fields of the Lord.
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kitinkaboodle
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« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2007, 12:06:41 PM »

Donot:

What is your take on A Thousand Splendid Suns ?  Is the storyline and writing equal to Kite Runner ?
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madupont
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« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2007, 01:08:49 PM »

Whiskey,

But did you carry through and see the film just to gawk at Kathy Bates when she eventually went Native?  On screen, it was a very funny story about the naivete of the well-intentioned.

I couldn't imagine "reading" a book about missionaries and their experiences but I imagine one was written before Bruce Beresford filmed,
Black Robe.  I prefer the anthropological aspects where the missionaries don't win. It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.
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weezo
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« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2007, 01:35:14 PM »

It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.

Maddie,

Please explain. That is a matter of Native culture that I have totally missed! If what you say is true, then there is a serious error in Little Big Man, a film I watched so many times since I used it to teach literature to my special ed kids. There is a scene when the Little Big Man is expected to "perform" for his wife and her two sisters, and the shadows on the tent suggest their position. The women seemed to be on their backs, but with their feet in the air.
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weezo
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« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2007, 01:39:21 PM »

When I said the PB may appeal more to women than men, I wasn't thinking of it as "chick lit". I don't see a story which is so squeeky clean being "chick" lit, any more than Little Women was. Perhaps I just don't feel much like a "chick" so much as a "woman".

As to Southern lit, I didn't see so very much of that in the book, and I've lived in Virginia now for about forty years. I can understand the missionary zeal which seems to have toned down over the years since I came south. But otherwise, I just felt it was the time and place of the story, not necessarily "Southern lit".


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whiskeypriest
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« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2007, 01:43:30 PM »

Whiskey,

But did you carry through and see the film just to gawk at Kathy Bates when she eventually went Native?  On screen, it was a very funny story about the naivete of the well-intentioned.

I couldn't imagine "reading" a book about missionaries and their experiences but I imagine one was written before Bruce Beresford filmed,
Black Robe.  I prefer the anthropological aspects where the missionaries don't win. It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.
Peter Matthiesson wrote the novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord.  If you know his work, he's not someone who is more sympathetic to the missionaries than the natives.

Matthiesson is famous, or in some circles infamous, for his non-fiction work In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, which advances the apparently doomed cause of justice for Leonard Peltier.
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whiskeypriest
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« Reply #59 on: June 22, 2007, 01:44:47 PM »

And oh by the way... Gawk at Kathy Bates?
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