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Readalong: To the Bright Edge... > Week 3 Discussion (March 18-24): pgs. 207-304

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message 1: by Jenny (Reading Envy) (last edited Mar 23, 2018 01:18PM) (new)

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 902 comments Mod
I'm a little behind in posting questions, so sorry, but I just finished reading this week's section this morning. Wow, I just wanted to keep going to the end.

1. The three white men on the expedition are separating out into their own stories. Thoughts?
2. Can you see any places where the written accounts seem to be untruthful or masking the truth?
3. We know who keeps the weather-noted journal now. Why do you think the author didn't reveal that in the beginning? I liked how it seemed to be talking to Sophie as well.
4. Sophie has a new hobby! Discuss.
5. Land of the Dead... mysterious lake monsters... what are we to make of these elements?

I don't word my questions very well, so feel free to react/interact on these points or the points that stick out most to you.

P.S. Doodle poll is up for online chat about the book


message 2: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (jeff_koeppen) | 168 comments Well, this was an interesting section. The highlight for me was the exchange between Colonel Forrester and Tyrone Ceeth Hwya. Fascinating. The lowlight was the letter the the Colonel wrote to General Haywood on 6/04/1885 in which opines on ways of taking over the land from the natives which, as in the case in the lower States, would result in the loss of many lives. The natives’ way of life and freedom would be coming to an end.

I thought the entries where Sophie talked photography were interesting. This new hobby and Charlotte’s companionship are undoubtedly keeping her occupied when she might otherwise be grieving over her lost child or worrying non-stop about her far-away husband.

And the tree baby growing up to be a famous Alaska Native chief?!? Too bad they didn’t have DNA testing back then, I’d love to see the results from his test.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 902 comments Mod
Is the tree baby Sophie's baby?


message 4: by Carol Ann (last edited Mar 26, 2018 12:05PM) (new)

Carol Ann (carolann1428) | 47 comments The tree baby was the wildest thing! I, too, thought it might be Sophie's baby, especially since Allan was the one who found it. But still, he wasn't even aware she'd lost the baby yet, was he? I agree with you, Jeff, DNA testing would be interesting indeed!
I'm trying to make sense of the magical events and what they mean. Were they hallucinating? Were they real events? We only read Colonel Forrester's description and interpretations of them so it's hard to know if everyone saw the same things. Yet, the Indians knew about these things and warned them over and over but the explorers disregarded them. I was blown away by the geese women and then Allan seeing downy feathers on Nattie's inner arm. The old man, the fog and Boyd's "wife"....So mysterious!

Confession: I couldn't stop reading it. I'm patiently and eagerly waiting for more discussion : )


message 5: by Carol Ann (new)

Carol Ann (carolann1428) | 47 comments I find it fascinating that while Allan is away on his exploration of unknown territory in the wilds, Sophie, though staying at the barracks, is on her own exploration of unknown territory - miscarriage, grief, seeking hope to continue on and finding it in nature and photography. I admire her for forging her own path and staying true to her talents.


message 6: by Nadine (new)

Nadine (nadinekc) | 121 comments I couldn't control myself and read through to the end, so now I'm leery of committing accidental spoilers. So I'll just comment on generalities, like.....

Even though Col Forrester's expedition is high adventure, Sophie's life at the military base interests me just as much. I think the author does a great job in making Sophie someone who chafes against Victorian conventions, but doesn't seem anachronistically modern. The last book I read that was set in the same time period was The Essex Serpent and the overwrought Victorian emotions really turned me off, whereas in this book the characters are clearly Victorian but also feel timelessly human.


message 7: by Nadine (new)

Nadine (nadinekc) | 121 comments Carol Ann wrote: "...Sophie, though staying at the barracks, is on her own exploration of unknown territory - miscarriage, grief, seeking hope to continue on and finding it in nature and photography. I admire her for forging her own path and staying true to her talents."

Yes, and I'm also happy that she's found a passion to channel her thoughts and feelings - not just to work through her grief, but to end her frustration over not having an outlet for them.


message 8: by Casey (new)

Casey | 96 comments Carol Ann wrote: "I find it fascinating that while Allan is away on his exploration of unknown territory in the wilds, Sophie, though staying at the barracks, is on her own exploration of unknown territory..."

Yes, I found this to be a nice narrative mirroring tool. Clearly, the camera is a nice way to introduce the female gaze into a place dominated by men, military men tramping about on the base, and Sophie is choosing to focus her lens on birds, which we might also assume is a representation of freedom due to their ability to fly.


message 9: by Casey (new)

Casey | 96 comments Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "Is the tree baby Sophie's baby?"

That's how I tok it.


message 10: by Casey (new)

Casey | 96 comments 5. Land of the Dead... mysterious lake monsters... what are we to make of these elements?

I took it as the product of Western culture intruding upon Native American society. The magic elements were there because the Native Americans were there, it was real because it was believed to be real, and when the people stopped believing, that aspect of the culture stopped being.


message 11: by Nadine (new)

Nadine (nadinekc) | 121 comments Casey wrote: "5. Land of the Dead... mysterious lake monsters... what are we to make of these elements?

I took it as the product of Western culture intruding upon Native American society. The magic elements wer..."


Yes - and along with that the white explorers feel superior because they believe that they think 'rationally' and the Indians don't but the physical and mental stresses of their travels mess with their minds and show them the limits of their own rationality.

And now I'm wondering if the pictures that Sophie takes are a step toward finding a midpoint between seeing rationally and seeing spiritually.


message 12: by Nadine (new)

Nadine (nadinekc) | 121 comments There isn't a whole lot of humor in this book, but the conversation between Col. Forrester and Ceeth Hwya, with Samuelson translating cracked me up. (p.224-228). During the previous weeks Forrester kept continually trying to get the tyone to tell him how to cross the mountains but couldn't make himself understood. Once they have a translator, Forrest finds out that Hwya understood him the first time, but wanted to know why first, and thought that Forrest wasn't very bright for asking the same question over and over. ' "He says he is not an old man who can't hear."


message 13: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮  | 234 comments I love Sophie's interest in photography. It certainly reflects the world behind and taking a closer look much like her husband. She also develops a friendship as a result which I think is lovely. Her ability to patiently wait for her shot is admirable and one I can hardly fathom in the age of digital photography.


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