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The Clearing
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Group Reads: Post-1980 > The Clearing: Initial Impressions, February 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here's the place to discuss your initial impressions. Please, no spoilers.

Mike


message 2: by Virginie (last edited Feb 01, 2014 08:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Virginie | 18 comments I finished the book (very) late last night and am still haunted by the characters and their stories. This is the first time I ever read Tim Gautreaux's work. And think so far that he did a great job with this particular book. His writing is harsh and powerful, violent but filled with humanity.


Meran | 126 comments I enjoyed it greatly.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


sappho_reader Just started this weekend. Really liking it thus far!


message 5: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
I'm really liking it too! Sometimes the detail of the southern environment and the balminess described almost weights me down. I want to run with this book but the author does a wonderful job describing the climate of the south in much detail. It forces me to slow down and invest in the surroundings that I'm reading about.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

quick question is this clearing by heather or tim
I was trying to get the book but 2 books by 2 diffrent people came up. one by heather and other one by tim.
wihhc one do i need to get thanks.


message 7: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Erika wrote: "quick question is this clearing by heather or tim
I was trying to get the book but 2 books by 2 diffrent people came up. one by heather and other one by tim.
wihhc one do i need to get thanks."


Tim Gautreaux Erika I think you will like this book. I still lack about 40% of the book but enjoyable read so far.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

thanks that makes things easier


message 9: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
I got a couple of chapters in last night and I have to agree with Laura. His powers of description force the reader to slow down and enjoy the journey. I really like it so far.


message 10: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Finished last night....great group read that I really enjoyed! Here are a few thoughts....

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Debbie Sweeney | 26 comments "...his stovepipe arms suggested that he'd cut his way to Nimbus. His skin was hot, satin black of a locomotive, and his eyes were crimson..." Such detail for a minor character. The author paints such vivid imagery on every page. And something happens on every page. The writing does prevent you from reading too fast but it certainly isn't boring or slow-moving. Take your time with this one and enjoy.


message 12: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Debbie wrote: ""...his stovepipe arms suggested that he'd cut his way to Nimbus. His skin was hot, satin black of a locomotive, and his eyes were crimson..." Such detail for a minor character. The author paints..."

Agree, I wanted to read fast to see what happens next but the details force a slower pace. Very good reading selection this month!


message 13: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Debbie wrote: ""...his stovepipe arms suggested that he'd cut his way to Nimbus. His skin was hot, satin black of a locomotive, and his eyes were crimson..." Such detail for a minor character. Th..."

I've had Gautreaux on my shelf for far too long. I'm looking forward to the read. I'm deep into The Keepers of the House today.

Mike


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

good book so far


Debbie Sweeney | 26 comments The upside-down shield that the deputy wore, does anyone know what that means or might represent?


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Got my used copy from Thriftbooks in the mail today and just read the first chapter. I like a book with short chapters so maybe The Clearing has that in its favor right off the bat. I am also hopeful that, judging from the fact that a few readers have already chimed in this first week, this might be like reading a book with a real group. That would sure be fun!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Jim wrote: "This book describes a world and a unique people that I got a taste of when I was a merchant seaman, working on an oil tanker in the early 80's. About half the crew were Cajuns ..."

The online interview that you reference (http://www.southernspaces.org/2009/in... fascinating, just a guy talking about his writing based on his life experience:

I don't think of myself as any particular type of writer. I am what I am. I was born in a certain area of the country, and the people around me happen to speak a certain way and have a certain set of values, and pursue a certain type of lifestyle, and that's all I know. That's where I draw my characters; that's where I draw my dialogue, my sense of timing, my values. If I were raised in some other area, naturally, I would be drawing on some other set of characters and culture. So I don't think that I have to ennoble or expose a particular type of culture. I don't feel a particular duty to region. I just weave narrative out of where I'm from.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments More from the online interview:

GAUTREAUX: Many of the uncles in my family were in World War I, and they all came back with their stories, and I heard a lot of them. The Clearing, of course, is about this damaged veteran who returns shell-shocked. I had an uncle that was in all eight major American engagements and endured some horrible things. And I knew what it was that he endured through family stories and through talking with him because he lived to be quite old. I knew him many, many years. Of course he was very unlike the character in The Clearing, but nevertheless I could draw on the psychological damage that I witnessed in him to develop the Byron character in that novel.

See more at: http://www.southernspaces.org/2009/in...


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Maybe you have read the interview by now so you can just skip this. But maybe you are not going to read the interview so I'll just butt in and give you another chunk that I think is interesting. I wonder what we "Southern novel experts" will wind up thinking about whether this is a Southern novel?

GAUTREAUX: The point of view characters are the two outlanders from Pennsylvania. That was done to open up the novel to all readers so that we wouldn't have so much a hermetically sealed, southern novel with southerners looking at southerners. We have a novel in which these northerners are looking at the culture and the people down here, and the readers in Minnesota or Oregon or Canada look at things through the main characters' eyes. The non-southern point of view makes The Clearing less of a southern novel, and I think improves it, broadens it.

- See more at: http://www.southernspaces.org/2009/in...


message 20: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
I just turned the last page of this novel and can't find enough good things to say about it. Gautreaux was unknown to me before this, so a big thank you to whoever nominated it. What a novelist this guy is! For anyone who was thinking of skipping this one, do yourself a favor and change your mind. All of the characters were tightly drawn and memorable, but I'm going to be thinking about that blind horse for a long time.


message 21: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "I just turned the last page of this novel and can't find enough good things to say about it. Gautreaux was unknown to me before this, so a big thank you to whoever nominated it. What a novelist t..."

Diane,
I agree with your comments, I too loved the book and loved the memorable characters. As a female I thought the wives were very strong characters putting up with alot. To the point they were almost too good and too accommodating to there spouses and surroundings. They seemed so accepting of all the circumstances.


message 22: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
I agree, but Lillian surprised me with her emerging strength and common sense. At the beginning, I had her pegged as a weak little whiner. Ella seemed stronger from the outstart, maybe because she was a farm girl from Kansas, so my perception of her was different. There was certainly a mixture of people and cultures in that sawmill in the swamp.


message 23: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Loved Lillian! They were very strong and willing to adapt to all types of environments. Because they were so strong I'm surprised author didn't voice more of their thoughts and opinions. They made decisions, yes, but really not much voiced on how they felt. I felt like I made some assumptions to what they were thinking and feeling.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Laura wrote: "As a female I thought the wives were very strong characters putting up with alot. To the point they were almost too good and too accommodating to there spouses and surroundings. They seemed so accepting of all the circumstances."

I hope it turns out that this guy writer wrote strong women characters. That would be a treat to see a guy writer do that. But I am sorry to say that Laura's words don't make me think of strong women: putting up with, accommodating, accepting. But the setting of the story makes me think that we are going to have macho guys up the proverbial wazoo.


message 25: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
Larry, sometimes putting up with and accepting takes more strength than you know. Yes, I think Gautreaux did write strong women characters that made a difference. Macho men, that too, but with their weaknesses also. And by the way, thanks for posting that interview with him, it was a great resource.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Diane wrote: "Larry, sometimes putting up with and accepting takes more strength than you know."

I do think that macho men require some putting up with and accepting - especially with their weaknesses! But is that a good thing? I am looking forward to seeing how this story sorts that out.


message 27: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
I'm looking forward to your thoughts when you finish.


message 28: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
I think both ladies chose their battles they wanted to engage in. Don't want to spoil anything with details.


message 29: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Where do we talk about book without worrying about spoiling it for anyone?


message 30: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
I'm not sure Mike set one of those up yet.


message 31: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Thanks Diane!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Laura wrote: "Where do we talk about book without worrying about spoiling it for anyone?"

Maybe someone could briefly describe what a spoiler is? On the one hand, telling how a story ends is an obvious spoiler but it seems like discussing character development (e.g. strong women) is not spoiling anything but would give something to think about while reading. I think that classifying information as a spoiler can inhibit some good discussion.


message 33: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1934 comments Mod
Well, if you talk about the character weaknesses and strengths, etc I don't think it's a spoiler but if you start talking about why they handle certain things in the book then you might be telling too much about what's about to take place.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I have solved the short term problem by creating a Spoilers Welcome comment section! Spoil away freely.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Debbie wrote: "The upside-down shield that the deputy wore, does anyone know what that means or might represent?"

During Vietnam some of us put the flag stamp on letters upside down as a distress signal. Even today some of us, when stuck with a flag stamp, will put it on upside down. I guess a symbol for the law upside down might be similar.

By the way, the Spoilers Welcome comment section is doing some business for those who might be interested in some fear free words.


message 36: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "I'm not sure Mike set one of those up yet."

Yep. Diane, you're absolutely right. Consider it a facet of the aging process. My thanks to Larry for setting up the discussion topic. I'm still into The Keepers of the House and loving it.

Mike


message 37: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Larry wrote: "I have solved the short term problem by creating a Spoilers Welcome comment section! Spoil away freely."

Thank you, Sir!

Mike


message 39: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Larry wrote: "Four stars!
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..."


I'll look forward to your review when I've completed my read. And, so, on to the book.

Mike


Meran | 126 comments Larry, I'm one of those who out flag stamps on upside down ;) though now I do it because of Guantanamo...


message 41: by Debbie (last edited Feb 11, 2014 07:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Debbie Sweeney | 26 comments Larry wrote: "Debbie wrote: "The upside-down shield that the deputy wore, does anyone know what that means or might represent?"

During Vietnam some of us put the flag stamp on letters upside down as a distress ..."


Thanks, Larry. I like that explanation, seems more relevant. The only thing I came up with was in regards to an 1891 New Orleans PD Superintendent who was pinned upside down with the comment, "Now you will stand out," and it went on to become a tradition.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

what I really like about this book is the plot and people in the book.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

just got done


message 44: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3878 comments Mod
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Here is my review. Thank you, Josh and Laura!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Jim wrote: "Just passed the century mark....I sort of get that these are really violent people who are fond of shooting and maiming each other. Hoping the story takes off soon!"

As I recall you are at the section where WWI is in full force and "takes off" might be an understatement.


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