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The Quincunx
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Archived 2015 Group Reads > 04/27 The Quincunx, Chapters 101-117

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Zulfiya (ztrotter) Now the book is back to its twists and turns and darker revelations. I personally believe that the pace of the novel is determined by the size of its chapters. For this week, the chapters were smaller and as a result more intensive.

1. What do you think about the size of the chapters and how and if they change the perception of the book?

2. The scene of the ball is told from the present-tense perspective while Johnnie's narrative is always in the past. Usually such shifts occur at the beginning of each or virtually each book, but this time it happened at the end of book three, part V.
What is the role of the temporal shift? Does it help to understand the story behind the story?

3. Another question is about names. Usually the present-tense chapters did not have characters with real names. In their stead, the adjectivized nouns were used. Now all masks are off. Is it the time to reveal the darker truth behind the mystery?

4. Henry Bellringer's betrayal still poses a lot of questions. He is not the heir apparent in this situation as his brother passed away some time ago. What are his ulterior motives? Why does he confess that the other version still exists? What side is he on?

And only one week to go. Yay! So far, it has been an engaging read, but the closer the end, the faster I want to finish reading it and start a new one. It is the usual tinkling sensation I experience every time the big read is virtually over.


Teanka This time I read the book all the way till the end, as I wanted to finish it in April. I haven't really noticed the longer and shorter chapters except of course the ones told by a different narrator in present-tense which always were very short. Yes, the masks are off this time but it has happened before with several of the characters that their true names were already in use (Sancious and Clothier, for example).

I was wondering if you expected Bellringer to betray Johnnie? Personally, I never saw it coming (except the usual attitude of not believing anybody in this novel). I guess that's because the poor Stephen Maliphant held him in such a high regard. I won't speculate about his motives because I already know what was on his agenda.


message 3: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 152 comments Shorter chapters make it seem as if the story is moving faster... for which I am eternally grateful.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) I really did not expect Bellringer to betray Johnnie. Because Palliser has been using so many plot tropes of Victorian fiction, he misled us and made me believe that Bellringer is one of those relatively poor, but very decent people. They populate many early novels of Charles Dickens. To my surprise the author deliberately mislead us and did it masterfully. We have all found elements or even passages of earlier fiction, so it was easy to assume that Bellringer will be one of those Samaritans, and he obviously was not.


Kristina (kristina3880) I did not see Bellringer betraying Johnnie either. I thought he was a decent, trustworthy guy. I liked that the chapters were getting shorter, It did make this section seem to go faster.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) This is how I feel. The shorter chapters give an oomph to the narrative. It seems to be edgier this way.


Bonnie Kristina wrote: "I did not see Bellringer betraying Johnnie either. I thought he was a decent, trustworthy guy."

Same. I couldn't quite buy it, even went back and looked over some earlier places where we met him -- he seemed good, though poor, helpful to Johnnie.


Kaycie | 294 comments Zulfiya wrote: "I really did not expect Bellringer to betray Johnnie. Because Palliser has been using so many plot tropes of Victorian fiction, he misled us and made me believe that Bellringer is one of those rela..."

Hmm...I did suspect this, but I think that is because Palliser seemed to make nobody trustworthy in London so I suspected everyone. Basically, I have read this book from mid-way on like "DON'T TELL THEM! ITS OBVIOUSLY A SET-UP!" *sigh*


message 9: by Deana (last edited May 19, 2015 05:21PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Deana (ablotial) I also found the shorter chapters to be refreshing and made it feel as is things were progressing more quickly. The lack of long monologues also helped!

I did expect that Henry would not turn out to be as good as he seemed. The fact that he is somehow related to someone with one of the five magic names could not be a coincidence and means he has a stake in the outcome of the suit. Additionally he showed up at the court and knew Miss Porteous,which seemed suspicious. BUT I did not expect him to be involved with quite as much as he seems to be... at this point it seems like he has somehow touched every family in some way! I wonder how much of this story it will turn out he had been the mastermind of!


Kaycie | 294 comments Deana wrote: "BUT I did not expect him to be involved with quite as much as he seems to be... at this point it seems like he has somehow touched every family in some way! "

I didn't pick up on this when I read it - I was basically noticing his connection to Johnnie and Steven! Good catch!

I'm glad I wasn't the only one suspecting him, too!


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