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The Tenderness of Wolves
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Book Group: Book Discussions > September read: The Tenderness of Wolves ~ discussion led by Susan




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Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Sometimes the audio makes a big difference.


Carly (WildCityWoman) | 110 comments If I find it on an audio version, I might pick it up again.

Sometimes I do better with a book that way.


Kimberly | 1978 comments I've been flirting with this book for ages I might pick it up and then go back and read through the discussion


Carly (WildCityWoman) | 110 comments Jeff and I discarded this one halfway through - seemed to lack proper focus. All that dancing around but going nowhere.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Carly wrote: "Just started this one - looks like a good read."

Let us know what you think when you are done, Okay, Carly?


Carly (WildCityWoman) | 110 comments Just started this one - looks like a good read.


Carly (WildCityWoman) | 110 comments I enjoy anything with wolves in it. So I guess I'll order this one in.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Janice wrote: "Both Susan and Sarah's interpretations of the title make sense. When I think about what you both wrote, I have to wonder if I even "got" this book. I find symbolism really tricky because every on..."

Janice, I think there are many levels on which you can take this story. It can be looked at as an adventure story or a detective story,also.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Sarah wrote: "Janice wrote: "Both Susan and Sarah's interpretations of the title make sense. When I think about what you both wrote, I have to wonder if I even "got" this book. I find symbolism really tricky b..."

Most definitely. And particularly in Mrs. Ross's case.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Sarah wrote: "I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the title after I finished the book, and to me, it signifies how people misinterpret things. Wolves are not the vicious killers they are portrayed as; the..."

I agree Sarah. Everyone is afraid of the wolves, and they should be afraid of the people around them.


Sarah (wheatabix) | 22 comments Janice wrote: "Both Susan and Sarah's interpretations of the title make sense. When I think about what you both wrote, I have to wonder if I even "got" this book. I find symbolism really tricky because every on..."

I also think that there is a link between the destruction of the Native culture (the so-called savages) and the unnecessary killing of the wolves (the savage creatures).


message 56: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments Both Susan and Sarah's interpretations of the title make sense. When I think about what you both wrote, I have to wonder if I even "got" this book. I find symbolism really tricky because every one interprets them according to their own frame of reference. Differences in the meanings of symbols becomes pronounced when there are different cultures involved.


Sarah (wheatabix) | 22 comments I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the title after I finished the book, and to me, it signifies how people misinterpret things. Wolves are not the vicious killers they are portrayed as; they are intelligent creatures who are actually monogamous. There are a lot of characters in the novel who are not really the way they seem to be at first - just as wolves are tender, so are many of the characters.


message 54: by Susan (last edited Sep 21, 2011 04:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Here is my interpretation of the title. The wolf in the entire book is a symbol for the land and wilderness and the indigenous people -- the land as it existed when the white people came. On the very first page Jammet is carrying a dead wolf over his shoulder. The white trappers have come to this area and exploited it, and the wolves, for its financial worth. There is a bounty on wolves to rid them from the populated area, and many types of wolves are nearing extinction. Mrs. Ross in particular and the majority of the white populace in general are afraid of the wilderness. Parker brings her attention to the beauty of the wolf in the moonlight interacting with the dogs (her domesticated distant cousins). It takes Mrs. Ross's trek through the wilderness and the realization that she is attracted to Parker, a native man she initially feared and was repelled by, to show her that she can live with nature/natives instead of just having to master them. She sees the "tender" side of the harsh land. Does that make sense?


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Hmmm it really irritated me that she never went to Canada for research, but finding out that she is agoraphobic changes things. That has got to be difficult.


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments Chrissie and I contacted Alan Brennert through his official website. Maybe we can do that with Stef Penney.

Here is an interview with the author about the book. I thought it would be interesting for our discussion. There is no answer about the title though.

I found the publisher's official site, but nothing for Stef.


message 51: by Judy (last edited Sep 21, 2011 04:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Janice wrote: "I think this may be one that needs clarification from the author or publisher."

How does one go about that? I'd do it if I knew the procedure. Not knowing what the title means, kind of bugs me. LOL!


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I think this may be one that needs clarification from the author or publisher.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments What you said about the wolves not eating the people even though that's what Sturrock would have liked people to believe. But it seemed like there needed to be a stronger connection than that in order to title the book that. The other thought I had was that all the people wandering through the woods in the midst of winter had guilty secrets (they were wolves) were trying to nurture and keep other people alive in spite of the freezing elements. (the tenderness) That probably is a stretch.....


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments Judy wrote: "Did anyone figure out the reason for the book title. I can't come up with anything solid, just some not-too-likely guesses."

I've thought about that too and can only speculate.

There's a common belief that wolves are vicious, man-eating animals. However, the statistics show that wolf attacks on human are quite rare. Perhaps the title refers to the erroneous idea that all the missing people in the story were feared to have been eaten by wolves.

What ideas did you come up with?


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments Jenny wrote: "My version didn't have a sexy cover :D a winter scene with a wolf walking through the snow. Could be sexy I guess, depends what floats your boat :P"

It wasn't that the cover was sexy, it was an endorsement by a magazine that said the story was sexy.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Did anyone figure out the reason for the book title. I can't come up with anything solid, just some not-too-likely guesses.


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Jenny (sunnysweetpea) | 890 comments My version didn't have a sexy cover :D a winter scene with a wolf walking through the snow. Could be sexy I guess, depends what floats your boat :P


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I want my sexy back! LOL!


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I agree about Sturrock and Maria. They were both red herrings. (view spoiler)


message 42: by Susan (last edited Sep 18, 2011 12:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments I agree with all of you who have said there were many loose ends at the end of the book. I was happy the book and the ending, and the relationship between Mrs. Ross and Parker, as did Jenny, but a while after I finished the book, I found myself saying, "Wait a minute, what about ---" and "What happened to ---" etc.

There were some characters that I wondered why they were even there, although I enjoyed the fact that they were there. Such as Thomas Sturrock (Did anyone else picture him as the actor Sam Elliot?) And the parts about Maria and her interest in the bone tablet. Part of me wonders if the loose endings were intentional, since we all have loose endings in our lives, and everybody's story is not neatly tied up at a particular point (or am I making excuses).

Contrary to everyone else, I enjoyed the short chapters. I felt they helped me to read more, because every time I came to the end of one, I'd look ahead and say, "Oh, well, I can read just another four pages." And, I'd go on and on.

Fortunately, Janice, my copy of the book did not say it was "sexy," so I was not disappointed. But, as they say, true sexiness is in the mind!


message 41: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I finished the book and have given it 3 stars. I liked the storyline. I thought it was a good mystery, but there were too many teasers that didn't tie in with the ending. In my mind, having those teasers all fit in together like a jigsaw puzzle is one of the trademarks of a great mystery.

I don't know what the significance was in being so elusive about Mrs. Ross' first name. Yes, in that time period, women generally went by their title and surname in public. But there was strong emphasis made on other people's names, why not hers? I think that was one of the reasons I couldn't conceptualize her as the endearing main character.

As for the POV - yes, I realize that there were only two throughout the book, however the omniscient third voice made it feel like multiple pov's. At one point, I felt frustrated with it, but by the time I got halfway into the book I was used to it. Still, I think it made for a disjointed read.

I think the last thing that irked me was that the cover of the book indicated that it was "sexy". I'm disappointed. It wasn't, and I want the sexy back. Just kidding. LOL!


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I have to agree with Jenny about Mrs Ross' character. I have about 100 pages left to go and was thinking about it over breakfast this morning. I realized that I don't have a mental picture of her. I do have one of everyone else in the story - Parker, Francis, Moody (even Nesbitt). I'm hoping to finish it today if I can ever tear myself away from GR's. LOL!


Robert (BobHE) Agree about the bone tablet a weak reason for murder and traipse around the country. But still really enjoyed this book. Enjoyed characters and feel sure that the big companies destroyed the people and wildlife as written
Bob


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments I can say, as a Minnesotan, her description of winter was spot on for someone who has never lived in the north. But I wish I would have read the book in January, not August. Summer is too short here to be reminded of winter already! :) LOL!


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Jenny (sunnysweetpea) | 890 comments YES!! That was my issue Michelle. Sooooo many loose ends. The bone tablet drove me up the wall.

And Susan it doesn't matter if people didn't enjoy it. I did. Even though it's one of those books that, whilst I was reading it, I enjoyed it, now I'm reflecting on what I read it is driving me potty! Makes for good discussion.

The one part of the book I really did like was the relationship between Mrs Ross and Parker. Heartwarming and believable :)

The POV I did struggle a little with. Took me a while to work out who I was reading about sometimes, but I actually felt it worked. Mrs Ross's character was a little dreary and I couldn't relate to her so if the entire book has been written from her POV I probably would have given up.


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I think you make a good point about the length of the chapters, Michelle. If they were longer, I don't think it would seem so disjointed. I've read lots of novels that switch POV and they are like mini cliff hangers, keeping me excited about getting back to one or the other.

Don't apologize for people not liking the book or the POV, Susan. We all voted for the book. We all have different likes and dislikes and that's what makes a great discussion.


Michelle (LonelyDoll21) | 84 comments Part of what I didn't care for with the book is that many of the plot lines just went nowhere. Such as the entire bone tablet - the supposed reason Jammet was murdered (or what the reader was lead to believe until the very end of the book, was the reason.) In the end, it was just lost in the snow? Really? Disappointing.

How did Mrs Ross end up meeting her husband? All she says was she was released when she met and married him. The entire section about her stay in the asylum seemed non-incidental to the story as well.

We also still don't know what happened to the other missing sister. Just too many loose ends for me. Maybe this is why I generally don't read suspense/mystery.

And to the POV - again, I found it just didn't flow well at all. I've read many books with multiple POV's but it was always a struggle with just about each chapter (and they were all quite short) to figure how who's POV it was. I would have to read nearly a page or more sometimes before I pieced together who's POV it was.

Oh, also...what about the runaway Norwegian woman and her family. What became of them? Do we care?

I can say, as a Minnesotan, her description of winter was spot on for someone who has never lived in the north. But I wish I would have read the book in January, not August. Summer is too short here to be reminded of winter already! :)


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Hannah wrote: "I'm sorry but I hated this book. I didn't care for the characters or the setting and I found the plot boring and uninteresting. The POV change was also confusing. I didn't finish it, I gave up abou..."

I'm sorry you hated the book, Hannah, and I can appreciate your dislike for the characters, setting and plot.

But, I have a problem with those who object to the constant POV change.

To my mind there were only two POVs. Mrs. Ross's POV, which was in the first person, "The last time I saw Laurent Jammet . . . ," and the omniscient POV, "When the weather turns cold Andrew Knox is made painfully aware of his age," and "First light falls on three riders . . . ." The author is describing the actions of a large cast of characters coming from different points to add their perspective to the story. I have read this type of large cast narrative many times before and am surprised so many people are seeming to have difficulty with it.


Hannah (hannah_337) | 22 comments I'm sorry but I hated this book. I didn't care for the characters or the setting and I found the plot boring and uninteresting. The POV change was also confusing. I didn't finish it, I gave up about 100 pages before the end because it was slowly leeching all the pleasure out of reading away from me. One of the worst books I've read this year, if not ever.


message 32: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments Judy wrote: "Janice, are you feeling it shifts to someone else before you get a feel for what the person is thinking, feeling, etc.? "

I don't know that every character in the story needs to have a chapter or two devoted to their pov. It makes it feel disjointed and slow moving. I found myself thinking, "Just get on with it!" I'm about half way through and some parts I'm really enjoying. Maybe I will understand it all when I finish.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Thanks, Judy, I'm glad. I certainly enjoyed it.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Susan wrote: "I'm sorry so many of you are finding it hard going."

Susan, no need for apology. There are many more people who have enjoyed the book. :-)


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments I'm sorry so many of you are finding it hard going.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Janice wrote: "May I change my opinion? I'm having a hard time getting through this book and I think the ever changing POV is part of the problem."

Janice, are you feeling it shifts to someone else before you get a feel for what the person is thinking, feeling, etc.?


message 27: by Judy (last edited Sep 13, 2011 06:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Susan wrote: "Subjects to ponder:

On the first page of the book there is a dead wolf. What is the significance of the wolves in this novel?

I thought about this after finishing the book and couldn't come up with a viable connection. I'm sure someone else will though.
How does this book stand up as a crime fiction novel?"
It stands up well. I thought the author did a good job of researching her subject so that the crime was befitting the times, setting, etc.


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Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments May I change my opinion? I'm having a hard time getting through this book and I think the ever changing POV is part of the problem.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Subjects to ponder:

On the first page of the book there is a dead wolf. What is the significance of the wolves in this novel?

How does this book stand up as a crime fiction novel?


Sarah (wheatabix) | 22 comments Susan wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I just finished the book. I gave it 4/5 stars, but I need to really digest what I've read before I can even begin to write a review of it."

Sarah? Did you read the whole book in one..."


Yes, I did. I read very quickly and I spent the day reading.


Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Sarah wrote: "I just finished the book. I gave it 4/5 stars, but I need to really digest what I've read before I can even begin to write a review of it."

Sarah? Did you read the whole book in one day?


Sarah (wheatabix) | 22 comments I just finished the book. I gave it 4/5 stars, but I need to really digest what I've read before I can even begin to write a review of it.


Sarah (wheatabix) | 22 comments I've just started the book - maybe we need another discussion thread for those who want to discuss as they go along? A sort of "no spoilers" thread?

I'm not sure what I think so far. It hasn't totally captured me in the first 50 pages.


message 20: by Susan (last edited Sep 10, 2011 07:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan (Chlokara) | 314 comments Michelle wrote: "Okay, I just have to ask - what was Mrs. Ross's first name? The ending totally stumped me. I kept thinking that maybe she referenced it during the section about her time at the asylum but I tried..."

It was Lucie, the same as the female dog. At least that is what I surmised. She implies it when she first talks about the dogs when she sets off with Parker.

And I was not particularly bothered by the change in POV and having to read for awhile before figuring out who it was. I have found that happens in a lot of books I read nowadays. If it was in the first person, I always knew it was Mrs. Ross.


message 19: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janice (JaMaSc) | 11553 comments I'm not bothered by each chapter changing the POV. At least there is an appropriate transistion (the start of a new chapter).

I read Alone in the Classroom which had terrible transitions with the POV would change at any time without warning. It was very confusing.


Judy (patchworkcat) | 5790 comments Also, was anyone else bothered by the fact that the author changed point of view at each chapter but it would sometimes take a bit to figure out which character was "talking"? That slowed down the pace for me. As I got near the end of the book I thought perhaps the author only did that for Mrs. Ross, but I'm not sure.
Michelle, yes. The number of points of view, the fact that most were short and then it was off to someone else's POV lessened my enjoyment of the book.


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