Archive for August, 2011

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2 Things

August 24, 2011

1.) You aren’t to the narrative shift* I was describing. (Keep reading, Jonny, I know you can make it!)**

*Plot twist really doesn’t do it justice.
**I know you hate me just a little bit right now.

2.) It must be nice to be reading a version of this book that translates the French. (P.S. Poupee = doll-like? No wonder I get such strange looks from my French speaking friends–Egg on my face.)

That’s all.

Justin

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Untwistiest of Twists

August 24, 2011

Color me underwhelmed.

In our face-to-face conversation you hinted that the plot “twist” was a “game changer”.  I believe you said something along the lines of “And then the story takes an enexpected turn that completely (you really stressed this, in my recollection) makes the last third of the novel almost a completely (you’re getting a thesaurus for Christmas!) different book from the first two-thirds.  Stop hogging the salsa!” (I think we were eating chips and salsa at the time).

So with much anticipation I have been veritably flying through the chapters trying to catch up with you (I’m still a little behind, but I am caught up to where you were about two weeks ago).  I kept flipping the pages thinking “What can this twist be?  Will Lucy Snowe have to solve a mystery? (with cats!!!)  Does Lucy Snowe become a jewel thief to finance a secret abortion?”

Well I get to where you were and all I find is…the return of Polly Home (which I forsaw!).

Yawn.

I’d like you to explain in your own words why you found this turn so dramatic?  I figured after Dr. John turned out (inexplicably) to be Graham Bretton that Polly was bound to rear her frighteningly precocious head once more. (Although I kept expecting Ginevra Fanshawe to turn into her). So did I miss something else (a different major plot twist) or can you explain what you were getting at?

In other (unrelated) news I did come across the most hilarious French mistranslation to date…let’s just say that “des couleurs de poupee” is not a cognate.  It translates into a most un-hilarious “doll-like colours”.

So I look forward to your explanation.

Until then,

I remain,

Your Twin,

Jon

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The Unexpected Pleasures of Half-Assed Reading

August 22, 2011

Yes, Twin Brother, shock of all shocks: I have been reading this book. This mind numbingly boring, all over the place novel. This oh-my-gosh-what-just-happened-I-think-I-fell-asleep-with-my-eyes-open, leaden-paged tome. (My thinking here, lead is heavy, hence difficult to turn the page = boring. Was that clear?): Villette.

And as you know mom always taught us: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all. (Unless it’s funny.)” Well, I have nothing nice to say and this book makes my sense of humor shrivel up to the level of laugh-track ridden episode of Three’s Company. (Who am I kidding, I love Three’s Company, when is Mr. Furley finally going to figure out that Jack is straight and living as an impossibly platonic roommate with those two beautiful Southern California women?!? I hope never.)

Well, that was my feeling until my 65% attention to the book actual lead to a jaw-dropping plot twist that comes to light in Chapter 24 (at least, I think it was Chapter 24–it’s been so long since I actually read the chapter–I am currently on Chapter 31, and so much has happened–just kidding the glacial pace of plot development continues.)

I won’t confirm or deny your previous post’s deduction. Afterall, I would hate to ruin the surprise in store for you in Chapter 24(?)–when you finally get there.

Happy Reading,

Justin

 

 

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Eddie Felson

August 15, 2011

Here I am reading away, but still pacing myself–trying not to get to far ahead of you, as I use the blog to gauge your progress in Villette.  I’ve been guessing that you were still somewhere around page 150.

Then just as I’m patting myself on the back, simultaneously reading about Lucy’s Pretty Woman-goes-to-the opera experience at the theatre (which quickly devolves into a horrific scene reminiscent of Carrie‘s denouement)–I find out from an actual person-to-person conversation with you that you are actually quite far ahead of me!  And privy to unforeseen plot developments that I know nothing about!  I call dirty pool twin brother…I’ve been hustled.

And yet with all of this knowledge we still hear nothing from you…Have you no thoughts about this novel?  Do you hate the story so much?

Oh well.

Back to that horrific scene where Topsy-Turvy meets The Towering Inferno…is the young girl rescued by Dr. Bretton and Lucy yet another of their childhood housemates?  Another “Bretton House Kid” who has  inexplicably (some might say “unbelievably”) ALSO found herself residing in Villette?  Is it, indeed, Polly Homes?  I noted that upon her arrival back at her hotel she calls out for Harriet…which was also the name of the young woman who dropped Polly off at the Bretton’s in the early chapters of this book.  (Note my sleuthing…I’m a bit of a Sherlock Holmes in regards to the Homes of Villette!)

Is the unexpected plot twist that you alluded to in our real person conversation an unforeseen love triangle?  A Victorian Something Borrowed?

I’ll pull the lead out now that I know that you’re speed racing to the end of this book…I won’t be looking at the blog until I get to Chapter 29 (where I believe you are now) so I can make sure not to have any plot points spoiled…but that’s a mere few chapters away!  So you will be hearing from me soon.

Jon

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Page 222

August 2, 2011

Yes, I am still pretty sure that we are reading the same book…a slightly boring story of a girl with frighteningly (perhaps pathologically) low self-esteem who goes off to a boarding school to teach in France.  Sound familiar?  I’ve grown to quite enjoy its clunky plot-twists and glacier-paced narration.  Even it’s unfulfilled promise of a ghost nun charms me.

Wait did I just say unfulfilled promise?  Implying a narrative bait-and-switch?  Well let me correct myself…unfulfilled promise of a ghost nun UNTIL PAGE 222!  Page 222 (at least its 222 in my Everyman’s Library paperback) is rife with action.

It is on this page that the ghost nun finally shows her pallid face (actually she wears a sheet over her face…like Casper?).  There are other happenings in this chapter (“The Letter”) that makes me think that the plot has finally turned a corner.

First, of course, the ghost nun…what the hell was up with that.

But we also get this mysterious revelation from Lucy (also on page 222)

Dr. John, you pained me afterwards: forgiven be every ill–freely forgiven–for the sake of that one dear remembered good!

So before the love story even really starts Lucy let’s us, the reader, know that it is all going to end horribly.   I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to read on.

In your last post you asked whether Lucy really loved Dr. John or whether their love was instead a precursor to the awkward beach gyrations/uninspired caterwauling on display in From Justin to Kelly.  Well (once again!) on page 222 you find incontrovertible proof of Lucy’s feelings vis-a-vis Dr. Bretton in her recounting of her feelings as she read his letter to her:

This present moment had no pain, no blot, no want; full, pure, perfect, it deeply blessed me. A passing seraph seemed to have rested beside me. leaned towards my heart, and reposed on its throb a softening, cooling, healing, hallowing wing. (emphasis mine)

Pretty opaque.  Not exactly “From Me To You”

Other things that happen off of page 222, but still in chapter 22 that might be interesting to discuss:

  • Madame Beck’s mother is visiting because she’s ill…she’s so ill that she has left her home, so as not to suffer this grave illness alone.  And yet Lucy still forces her to help her investigate the ghost nun sighting.  She’s not Venkman, Lucy, she’s an invalid.
  • Dr. John stole the letter that he himself sent to Lucy.  Curious.
  • They were going to call the police after this…because Lucy saw a ghost and lost a letter (which was returned)…do not the gendarmerie have more important tasks to see to?   Mon Dieu!

So plenty to discuss!  See you next post.

Jon