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Discussion Archives > June 2-13: The Light Between Oceans

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message 1: by Rachel Jorquera , Moderator (new)

Rachel Jorquera  (racheljorquera) | 3008 comments Mod
Discussion for The Light Between Oceans!


message 2: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1154 comments Here is part of my review:

The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman
Audio book performed by Noah Taylor
4****

I admit I was expecting a lighter, historical romantic epic, but Stedman delivers a wonderfully complex psychological study of love – between a husband and wife, parent and child. This is a story of a couple pulled in opposite directions and yet somehow striving for the same goal. Tom loves his wife and would do anything for her, but what Isabel wants requires that he goes against all he believes is right.

The twists and turns of the story had me mesmerized. Central to the plot are issues of forgiveness, loyalty, ethics, compassion, and revenge. Stedman poses several moral dilemmas. To whom do we owe our loyalty? Does Tom protect his wife’s fragile psyche or follow his conscience and the rules and regulations of his government job? Does he love her enough to give her what she wants? Can he forgive her for what she’s required of him? Can she forgive him for going against her? How far will parents go to protect their child?

The reader is constantly wondering … Might she …? Could he…? Would she…? What would I do in their place? I think this would be a great book club discussion book.

Noah Taylor does a good job with the audio, but his Australian accent was difficult for my American ears. I was really happy I had a text version to check for those scenes where I simply could not understand his pronunciation. I think he handled the various characters reasonably well, including the women and little Lucy.


message 3: by Margot (last edited Jun 14, 2013 11:19PM) (new)

Margot (margotmontreal) | 165 comments The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman
4****

I agree with you Book Concierge. I was surprised, I was expecting more of a summer read. But I loved the ethical side to the book.

(view spoiler)
I am sorry if I wrote too long a post. Please tell me if you want us to keep it short.


message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (caro65) Book Concierge wrote: "Here is part of my review:


The Light Between Oceans
- M. L. Stedman
Audio book performed by Noah Taylor
4****

I admit I was expecting a lighter, historical romantic epic, but Stedman delivers..."


You've summed it up wonderfully BC, and I don't think I can add more other than to say that, although I didn't listen to the audio version of the book, I'd have no problem with Noah Taylor's Aussie accent lol. As I read it I wondered how my American friends coped with old-fashioned Australian colloquialisms such as something being "a bit of a furphy", but the language in this novel really helped to paint the picture of a different time and place. I loved every bit of it.


message 5: by Shannon (new)

Shannon So good, especially listening to the audiobook read with an Australian accent.

I wish I had written down or marked all the great lines & passages, but I didn't. Here's one though:
"Scars are just another kind of memory. Isabel is part of him, wherever she is, just like the war and the light and the ocean. Soon enough the days will close over their lives, the grass will grow over their graves, until their story is just an unvisited headstone."
It speaks to the grief & loss prevalent throughout this book, but also a bit to the shared experience & inevitability of living.


message 6: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie (frqs37) | 85 comments This book is well built with a good balance between descriptions, narration and dialogues. I also liked that each character is well-developed. Stedman takes time to bring in each intervening character by sliding in short stories about their past which explain their reactions. It's never too much that it takes away from the main story and is judiciously inserted as the action progress so we don't have a chapter on all protagonists but discover them slowly with a fuller description later. Very well done.

Now for the meat of this discussion. Of course it is all about the moral dilemma of who a child should be living with if he has known 2 sets of good parents due to some circumstances but..
I strangely do not see the dilemma here. I think the child should be returned with the family if he will be loved and well cared for. I'm not sure this book was about who the child should be with. I think the dilemma is more about how doing one's duty can bring pain first but ultimately doing one's duy will bring calm to chaos and love to people around us.

Look at Isabel. Had she gave back the child ans simply love her to save her but respect the mother, she might not have been separated from Lucy once Hannah will have recovered her. Hannah would have kept her in Lucy-Grace life as the "2nd mother" who saved the life of her precious child. She might even have sent Lucy-Grace for vacation on Janus when the child is a bit older and let her see her when the couple were back on mainland. Isabel selfishness kept her away from that child for the rest of her life.

And what about duty. It's the sense of duty that was bringing order in all these war memories Tom is having. It's a sense of duty that helped him rebuild his life after war. And it's when he failed his duty that pain, hate and anger came back to destroy lives.

So strangely I don't know that this is a story about a child torn between 2 families but more a novel about war and the pain of all the people we lose in our lives and mostly on the importance of doing one's duty to bring love and truth in the world. As a Quebec French newspaper motto states so well: "Fais ce que dois"


message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1154 comments Exactly, Sylvie. The child in this novel is the plot device used to explore these issues.


message 8: by Cathie (new)

Cathie (catitude) | 46 comments This book is by far one of my favourite reads of this year. A truly wonderful story and life, lies and how deceit only grows bigger and more out of our control once we have spun it. It's also a wonderful story about love and staying true to those who you do love even when they are undeserving of your loyality. Definitely a 5 star book for me.


message 9: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 57 comments I have this book but havent had a chance to read it yet! I will probably start on Sunday! I will update when I do!


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) | 53 comments Loved this book, and immediately recommended it to a few people I know. I was excited to see the movie, but was horribly disappointed. I couldn't even finish the film.


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