Thursday, October 21, 2010
I am surprised to say that I might have preferred The Great Man to The Postmistress. The reason I am making a comparison at all is that book club is meeting today to discuss both books. I found the characters to be more fleshed out in The Great Man, even if a lot of the general topic matter centered around modern art, which does not interest me. The Postmistress, on the other hand, is about World War II, which does interest me.
I understand that part of the author's objective was to provide snippets or the middles of stories because very often that is how life works, especially in war time. People pass through your life, make brief appearances and leave lasting impressions, but you can only imagine what happens next because the connection made is fleeting. She was trying to make a point that in real life there are not always happy endings. There are not always explanations for why something happens, it just does and life goes on. Life does not come in a pretty parcel. It is messy and disjointed and inexplicable and painful and joyful and constantly moving. Despite all that, I still wanted a happy ending or at least some explanation as to what happened to the main characters post-tragedy. The "ending", if you can call it that, felt a little abrupt.
It also really bothers me when authors take too much creative license in historical fiction. There is a part in the book where a runaway Jew is shot and killed in front of Frankie Bard, the American reporter. That never would have happened. The Nazis were brutal and murderous but they were not careless. They would not have done something that would so obviously reveal their plans to an American reporter. I mean, I think that is partially why the Nazis were so successful - because they were as secretive as they were inhumane. The maltreatment of Jews reached the U.S. in rumors. I do not think Americans or anyone knew concretely that Jews were being exterminated almost until the middle/end of the war. This book takes place in 1941 before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. America was not even involved yet. Not plausible!
It was decent. It certainly provoked thoughts and feelings about fate and how much is predetermined and how much we can control or change. There was definitely a running theme about death and our powerlessness to stop what is already coming. We can resign ourselves to it or we can fight it and die anyway.
Posted by Denise at 10:03 AM