Tag Archives: Characters

How The Story Ends


At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Despite the many awards and accolades, I don’t know that I would have read this book if it hadn’t been on the Book Club list. Blind girl and young German soldier meet in WWII, nothing automatically compelling in this boiled down description. (But isn’t it completely unfair to reduce any story down to so little?) What I’m trying to say is that I am grateful to Book Club for encouraging me to read this because I enjoyed it immensely.

The story that is told and the structure of how it is told are both mesmerizing.

I have a sense that Mr. Doerr’s characters came to life for him and told him how their story ended. As I read the final page there were parts I wanted to change, just a few minor revisions so this character or that character had a different outcome. But life doesn’t work that way, bad/sad things happen to decent people who don’t deserve those endings. I think it is a testament to writing skill that it feels as though the author didn’t give himself permission to rewrite his characters’ story so that all the good guys had happy endings, he wrote it the way it happened. Or the way it would have happened if these people had existed outside of his imagination.

This is the book we will be discussing Sunday and I’m so looking forward to it!



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Filed under Book Club Reading List, Writing

The Martian, The Book

Log Entry: Sol 6
I’m pretty much fucked.
That’s my considered opinion.

The Martian by Andy Weir

I missed the meeting yesterday, where this was the book discussed, but I did chat with a neighbor who was there and who told me most people did not particularly enjoy the book. Although I think I agree, it is a 435 page paperback, and I finished it, so there must have been something appealing.

I did skim some of the paragraphs that were overly science based, the ones that made it feel like the book had been written for some other audience, like my retired Nuclear Engineer friend.

It is odd that even with the Log Entries being dated, I didn’t realize how much time was going by until near the end when our hero makes a specific comment about how many days he’d been there. At the end of the story I felt like I knew very little about him in the way of biographical facts but that I understood his spirit quite well; and I liked his spirit.

I’d be surprised if the book would be on any best-seller list if hadn’t been made into a movie, but I bet it makes a good movie.

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Filed under See The Movie, Read The Book

Time to Leave the Beautiful Singing in My State of Wonder

Finished reading Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto several days ago, yet the book still sits on my nightstand because I haven’t been ready to leave it behind.

After 310 pages immersed in the lives of Ms. Patchett’s characters, a mere seven pages was not enough time for me to prepare to leave.

I could see how many pages were left, it isn’t as though it was a movie where I hadn’t kept track of time and was completely surprised the ending was so near. But I still have that sense of sitting in the theater as the credits roll and I’m saying “…wait… I’m not ready…”

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Filed under For The Love of Books, I Read It

The Life and Death of a Character

I just finished reading a mystery novel that I really enjoyed, but I can’t tell you the name of the book if I want to write about it because what I want to discuss would be a major spoiler.

At some point in the future I will mention the book’s title, though I won’t reference this post; today I want to ponder the author’s choice to kill a character after we’ve come to know and like them. Not just once, but in this book there were four different characters that were brought to life only to be killed.

The first person started the book but we had just shy of 9 pages in which to get to know her, not unusual or surprising. The second victim had about 35 pages in which she was brought to life, a little harder but still not unusual for this genre. The third had many more pages, and was more likeable than either of the first two, but at least she died of a heart attack before the serial killer got to her. But it’s the fourth victim that got to me.

Introduced on page 31 and pronounced dead on page 416 (out of 438 pages), this character played a major role in the story. Knowing that this is the first in a series of books about a different character (who would have been the perfect love interest), I was sure she was going to be around for the rest of the series. I absolutely did not see her death coming.

Normally I like it when I don’t see a plot twist coming, but this was one I had considered it and dismissed because it wouldn’t make sense to kill her (but probably really because she was my favorite character).

I will continue to read the series, but I will be very careful who I give my heart to in the future!

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