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24 January 2014 @ 01:46 pm
GGK Book Club: THE SUMMER TREE, ch 9-12  

The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay
The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay

The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay

You know how you have those days where you’re sure that you’ll manage to have time to do that thing so you don’t let people know that you’re not doing it that day because you’re going to have time even if it’s at the last minute, and then it’s three days later and you haven’t done it because you kept being sure you’d have time and

Yes, I thought you were familiar with that. This is why the post for chapters 9-12 is so late. I’ve caught up on the reading, but I’ve been suffering from the conviction that despite ear infections and head colds and so on and so forth that I would get my commentary *written up*.

Since it appears I’m not yet in a position to write something particularly brilliant, I will at least, once more, make a post, and let other people get to chatting, and maybe tonight I’ll be able to catch up. ;)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Mary Anne: pixelpers1stence on January 24th, 2014 04:22 pm (UTC)
So far, while I'm enjoying this book, it is all plot and very little character. By which I mean, the characters get moved around madly and some of them are thrown in to the thick of things, but there is very little depth. Paul, in particular, for me is problematic. He virtually goes straight to the tree. And while Kevin tells us that Paul is sad, we don't really feel much of that, until he commits suicide (although with the fig leaf of trying to save the country). We eventually get a whole lot of exposition/explanation dumped on us at the very end of his stay on the tree, but that feels so late to me. If we'd seen more of his self-imposed guilt and grief earlier in his actions and behavior, then more of the time on his tree would have been meaningful to readers, and having lived with him and his guilt, the ultimate reveal that he wasn't really at fault for Rachel's death would have been more meaningful.

I'm glad you (Catie) mentioned that he'd been working on JRRT's papers before writing these books, because it definitely explains a certain flavor throughout.

Also, I think I find Diarmuid far creepier now than I did then. I suspect I found him a little heavy-handed but kinda romantic back then. Now? He comes across as a creeper. Even if it ends up being (I can't quite remember) part of his Bruce Wayne-esque playboy disguise to get people to dismiss him, or perhaps especially if it is disguise, his use of women as shiny objects bothers me. Or perhaps it's that he's meant to be charming and lighter than it actually comes across, as GGK is still in his earlier days as a writer.

All that said, the chapters are flying by, and I find myself not actually wanting to stop reading at the end of the designated set of chapters. I am enjoying the plot movements and the arc of the action. The only reason I'm restraining myself is because otherwise I won't remember what happened in which chapter.
kitmizkit on January 24th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think Diarmuid is supposed to come across creepy, at least early on, and that maybe as Young Things we didn't notice just how creepy he is. Having caught up on the Sharra-in-the-garden scene--god damn. I mean, on one hand it was a magnificent seduction and I can totally understand it sweeping a 17 year old off her feet. On the other, what a jerk. Not just a jerk, but one who fairly callously risks lives to achieve his shallow, asshole objective.

I'd forgotten Paul's story happens so *early* in the trilogy. I mean, it has to, because the book is The Summer Tree, but I was--yeah. We knew so little about him when he went to the Tree that it surprised me. OTOH, I do think him being that enigma whose shame/guilt is exposed on the Tree is pretty clearly how GGK wanted us to come to his story, and I can completely see how that unwrapping is appropriate to the story structure.

I'm actually keeping a notebook to hand to take notes about where I see things I want to mention, which helps with the "want to read all at once" thing. Of course, so does an ear-infected 3 year old. @.@ :)
Mary Annepers1stence on January 24th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
Maybe I should start keeping a notebook handy as well....both for that and for my book club books.

I had also not placed Paul's story so early, either, so it caught me a little off-guard. I would've been fine not knowing *why* Paul was so conflicted before he went to the tree; I just would've liked to have *felt* that he was conflicted. As it was, there are just some references to him being deeply sad b/c of Rachel's death, and having been ill recently.

I don't remember what the eventual point is of his seduction of Sharra, so I can't remember if it has political intent or not. If there's no big picture, it is just an asshole thing to do....for so many reasons. And even if it does have a big picture place, it's still sketchy and despicable.
Herefoxherefox on January 27th, 2014 04:48 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely starting to hit the "It's really hard to stop reading" at this point as well.

I knew Paul's story started pretty early but I had really forgotten that Jennifer got kidnapped so early in the story. Which, admittedly needs to happen pretty early for reasons as well but it still surprised me.

I can see why the other commenter said the characters aren't deep at this point though it amuses me all the same because I was thinking when I was catching up this weekend that the reason I like the Fionvarr Tapestry better than Tolkien is that he has deeper characters than most of the ones in Lord of the Rings.

It's definitely interesting, having read so many of GGK's books to see the evolution of his writing style though.

The Dave parts of the first part have always been my least favorite section so I'll be glad when we shift focus again.
kitmizkit on January 27th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
I'll get the last post up tomorrow & promise I"ll be better about this next month! :)
Herefoxherefox on January 27th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
No worries! The only reason I'm good at keeping up with this sort of thing is that I have a train commute I can read on. ;-)
Carlton Maxc_maxx on January 28th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip-off. Just read Under Heaven and it was great!

Always good to find a new excellent author.