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In the Memory of the Forest
by Charles Powers

Literary Fiction and Classics Editor's Recommended Book: Even in the days after the collapse of Communism, the Poland of Charles Powers's novel is an "old country in an old Europe," a place that When a young farmer named Leszek starts looking into the unexplained murder of a childhood friend in his small hometown of Jadowia, he is led into a dark terrain, and begins to uncover difficult truths about war crimes committed by members of his own family. It's a complex, literary detective story, rendered in precise, jewel-like prose. Powers, who died Angeles Times for more than twenty years, he served as the paper's Eastern European bureau chief from 1986-1991.


      IN THE MEMORY OF THE FOREST by C. T. Powers (1 of 2), Read 23
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) 
 Date: 
      Sunday, August 15, 1999 08:25 PM 


Our forests are dark places, secretive, yet well-trodden. You
perhaps would not realize their measure, given the prevailing notion
of a country so planted with steel mills and coking plants and
factories devoted to the manufacture of tanks and heavy
machinery. The forests are, in fact extensive, and their brooding,
meditative gloom is so suggestive of isolation that it is not easy, in
some of them, to imagine that a human foot has touched their
layered leaves before. Of course, this is not true, for Poland is an old
country in an old Europe.
What a wonderful opening paragraph! The beginning of the book
shows us modern day Poland in all of its dreary poverty. I thought
how sad life seemed there. But as the story unfolds we find out
about the secrets of the forest and the secrets of the inhabitants of
the village of Jadowia. No one is what he/she seems.
Jane

  
 

 
      IN THE MEMORY OF THE FOREST by C. T. Powers (2 of 2), Read 11
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 06:50 AM 


Jane,
Yes, I loved the opening paragraph. I was engrossed from the
beginning. We had much the same reaction. I started a thread
yesterday and posted the very first sentence of the book, saying it
was one of the best opening lines I've read in a while. If anyone is
thinking about skipping this month's book, I hope they reconsider.
This is a gem. 
Sherry 

 
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (1 of 8), Read 34
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
      Sunday, August 15, 1999 07:39 AM 


In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers

What a powerful punch this book packed. It had so many elements
that I think make a book good. 
1. It puts me in a place I have never been and makes me see it, feel
it hear it.
2. It has complex characters that I care about.
3. It tells a believable story.
4. It engages me emotionally.
5. It leaves me with a feeling that people are generally good. 

Thats a pretty simplistic list for such an intricately woven book, but
I usually like books even if there are only one or two of those
elements. Plus the writing was wonderful. It had one of the best
openings Ive read in a while.
I wish I could tell you a tale of espionage and international intrigue,
the kind of story I once liked to read, set in places I liked to imagine,
but Im sure I would get the details wrong, put croupiers at the
blackjack table and tumbleweeds in Miami. So I wont do that.

I was hooked from the first.



Sherry 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (2 of 8), Read 37
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Sunday, August 15, 1999 09:33 AM 


Congratulations Sherry. Such insightful comments and no spoilers! 

One of the things I loved about ITMOTF is what makes it very
difficult to talk about without spoilers. That's the subtle way Powers
manages to build to the climax and foreshadow events which happen
much later in the book. In fact the novel is a much different
experience in the memory - and I would imagine the re-read - than it
is the first time through.

I agree with you about the complex sympathetic characters. You end
up feeling compassion for everyone in the story, no matter what their
faults, with the possible exception of Jablonski. I liked Leszek, the
part-time narrator, more than just about any character I have
encountered recently.

Two themes running through the book that intrigued me were the
corrosive effects of unexpressed guilt and the power of collective
history on the individual. 

I look forward to the discussion.

Bea

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (3 of 8), Read 30
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 08:34 AM 


SPOILER:

What do you make of the fact that the book starts out as though it
is going to be a routine mystery and ends up giving us just a foggy
idea of who done it and why? By the end of the book Tomek's murder
seems like sort of a side issue.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (4 of 8), Read 19
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 04:33 PM 


Excellent list of factors that make for a good book, Sherry. They
would seem simple, I agree, but how many authors actually reach
them, or even a few of them, in one book? 

The two themes that Bea stated so succinctly, the effect of
collective guilt and the power of history on the individual, were
threads that Powers managed to string throughout the story,
sometimes stating them directly, sometimes waiting for us to find
their meaning in the end. 

SPOILER!


The guilt issue may have been the most fascinating to me. Powers
managed to convey it in such a way that I could imagine the people
in my community reacting in much the same way. Horrible as that
may sound...their justifications for their actions and for their desire to
forget what happened to the Jewish people in their community sound
similar to rationalizations people have utilized for decades. And, their
ultimate result, in this case, is terrifying.

Jim, I think the point of introducing Tomek's death, then having the
importance of it fade, was to contrast one death which the
community was prepared to ignore with the deaths of thousands of
Jews which the community was also trying to ignore. Tomek's death
gave the thread to follow back.

Was anyone else as moved by the Grandpa's building of the memorial
as I was? I sat in my chair with tears streaming down my face as I
read it. I don't think I've ever seen the theme of a mind troubled over
time with wartime acts conveyed so effectively and yet so quietly.

Barb 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (5 of 8), Read 14
      times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 06:07 PM 


I didn't cry, Barbara, but I was incredibly moved.

SPOILER ALERT !!!

I thought the story of the guilt for the Jews and the complicity of
almost everyone in the old Communist system ran in parallel. I really
admired Leszek because his first reaction to learning his father's
secret was to find someone to "confess" to. He didn't let it infect his
life or behavior, as Jablonski intended it to. There was a powerful
sense of redemption through memory and forgiveness throughout the
book.

I saw a program on TV awhile back about Russians who were officials
in the Stalin government and lived in the same elite apartment block
in Moscow. One of the elderly folks said that the worst thing about
living under the system was the way one was forced to say things
he/she didn't believe. The person said the effect was to make you
feel a constant sense of guilt. He thought producing guilt and
self-hatred in the person doing the lying was the real intent of the
system.

That stayed with me.

Bea

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (6 of 8), Read 7 times
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 08:58 PM 


Bea and Barb, 
I thought that it was interesting that the grandfather kept his secret
for years, telling only his grandson. And Leszek (as you said Bea) told
the people that he thought that his father had harmed in order to get
his guilt out of the way. It is so ironic that Czarnek did not see the
memorial that the grandfather built for his family, and that he killed
himself on the day that the memorial was finished. I wondered if
Father Tadeusz's visit precipitated the suicide.
I posted yesterday, but I mistakenly started a new thread. Here I am
back on track.
Jane

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (7 of 8), Read 7 times
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 09:21 PM 


Jane -

SPOILER

I thought about those same things. How tragic and how real was
Czernik(sp?) death? Did you at first think he was going to be a villain?
I did.

Bea 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (8 of 8), Read 3 times
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) 
 Date: 
      Monday, August 16, 1999 11:01 PM 


One other question that caught me was: why now? The book appears
to be dated in the late 80s or early 90s, and suddenly everyone
starts feeling guilty about the 40's. Why didn't all this guilt happen
right after the war if it was going to happen? 

 
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (9 of 18), Read
      20 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 01:01 AM 


Jim, maybe it was such a job just for people to get their feet
back under them after the war, that they just had to put
everything but their own recovery out of their minds. Then by
the time they'd recovered a bit they had to deal with the
Communist system, and besides they'd gotten used to not
thinking about the Jews and as the years passed it got harder
and harder to open that closet door.

Ruth
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (10 of 18), Read
      21 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 01:22 AM 


Ruth -- enjoyed your response to Jim -- I have not read this yet
-- my own response to Jim's 'why now?' therefore is given as
conjecture but your note seems to support it somewhat.

My response was -- if the people were teens or at most 20 at
the time of the events in the 40's then the 80's would be when
they reached middle-old age and perhaps had time to think and
face the past -- maybe?

Dottie
ID is an oxymoron!

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (11 of 18), Read
      18 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Katie Kleczka (knp@execpc.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 06:08 AM 


The "why guilt now" question has put me in mind of an incredible
nine hour documentary entitled "Shoah". If you have not viewed
it before, I would highly recommend seeing at least the first two
to four hours. The value in this would be to see native Poles
discussing what they saw, how the acted, and their feelings
towards very painful events. It is an extremely moving film, and
while it does not perhaps explain directly the idea of "why guilt
now", it does create the images of the forests and the people
that are addressed in this book. One of the things that having
seen Shoah did for me when I read the book: the forests really
do hide the violence and tragedy that occurred and in many
ways really do appear as though untouched.

Katie
"Everything in moderation, EXCEPT for reading."

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (12 of 18), Read
      22 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 08:34 AM 


Katie: "Shoah" never made it to theaters here, so the Jewish
Community Center sponsored a special showing divided over
three nights. I only got to see the first section, but it was
indeed powerful stuff.

>>Dale in Ala.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (13 of 18), Read
      20 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 08:38 AM 


Katie -- have heard about this production and seen some very
small bits of it -- had forgotten until you mentioned it that I
intend seeing this at the first opportunity. Thanks for the
reminder. I have written it in my book so it won't get lost again.

Dottie
ID is an oxymoron!

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (14 of 18), Read
      20 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 11:21 AM 


One of the things that this novel brought home to me very
powerfully, was what it was like to be in Poland after the
"triumph" of the free market system. Wow. This book was set,
what, maybe 10 years ago? Do you think things are still as bad?

Ruth
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (15 of 18), Read
      20 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 11:46 AM 


The NY Times book review of 8/17/99 is about THE HOLOCAUST
IN AMERICAN LIFE by Peter Novick. The book is related to this
discussion because it speaks of ". . . Israel's difficulties as
stemming from the world's having forgotten the Holocaust."
(My emphasis.)

The reviewer refers to ". . . his vexing new book" but I suspect
that there is going to be more outrage than vex. Please
understand that I take no position with respect to the book and
its contents. (Coward ! But I haven't read it. What difference
does that make?)

However, though I have the sense that the U.S public has never
been without the sense of the horrors of the German death
camps, I also sense that, in the two decades following World
War II, we were more concerned with the Cold War (fear of
former Allies) and with the reconstruction of Europe (so blithely
destroyed by the reasonable actions of civilized nations). The
Holocaust was not then a cause, not till after the re-creation of
Israel.

PRES, who is now entering an old unused bomb shelter.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (16 of 18), Read
      6 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 08:39 PM 


I would like to thank the person who nominated this book, so
please come forward and identify yourself.

I was not left with any warm fuzzy feelings about humanity at
the end of this book. Poland has a history of extreme
anti-Semitism and I think that is why people wanted to
conveniently forget the Jews had ever existed. Even after the
Communists took over, the anti-Semitism continued. The Poles
didn't feel guilt over the fate of the Jews because they could not
identify with them. They were "the other."

Father Tadeusz (the hero or the book in my eyes) says the
following:

For too many of us, what happened to those people was not a
sorrow. It was a horror, but not a sorrow. Do you see that
there is a difference? The horror was not traceable to us. We
were not to blame for it, and so, in a way, we could accept it.
The sorrow should be ours to accept, but we reject it, for we
have our own problems, our own crosses to bear. What we are
really saying is these ten percent were something else to us --
among us but not of us."

An entire village allowed their Jewish neighbors to be caged like
animals and starved in the middle of the town square before they
were transported to death camps. Maybe there was nothing they
could have done, but I think the reaction would have been
different if these people had been non-Jewish Poles. 

At the end of the book the priest makes the people at least
acknowledge the truth of what happened. Only the grandfather,
Father Tadeusz, and Leszek felt any guilt.

This book asks very interesting questions about the need for
collective memory. In the case of the massacre of the Jews, it is
necessary. If society does not acknowledge the existence of
such an overwhelming evil it can too easily happen again, with
another group targeted the next time. However, with smaller
crimes, Powers seems to be saying that sometimes it is better
gloss over the details, to destroy the records (as Jablonski's
records were burned) so that society can move onto a new
future. This is particularly true when so many people were
compromised, when individuals operated under different rules of
survival.

So, when to remember and when to forget? -- an interesting
question.

Ann

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (17 of 18), Read
      4 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 08:59 PM 


Ann,
That is a very powerful note that you wrote. And I agree with
everything you said. I was so pleased when our country built
THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM so that we can show future
generations what the Holocaust really was like. Sherry and I
visited this museum last year at the CR convention, and we were
both moved by it. 

I would also like to recommend a German film called THE NASTY
GIRL. It is about a German town that has hidden its atrocities for
decades. It is similar to this book.

According to my notes, Mary Anne Papale nominated this book.
Jane

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (18 of 18), Read
      2 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 09:39 PM 


I agree with Jane, Ann. Good note. There is much to think about
with this book, guilt and responsibility, collective and individual.

Ruth
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

 
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (19 of 23), Read
      36 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) 
 Date: 
      Tuesday, August 17, 1999 11:42 PM 


Thinking about this a little more, I wonder if the answer to my
"why now" question might relate to the end of the Soviet
"occupation" of Poland. As long as the Soviets were in control,
the Poles could avoid responsibility for anything. Once the
Soviets left, the Poles had to live with themselves and the
memories of the war became more important.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (20 of 23), Read
      36 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Wednesday, August 18, 1999 12:23 AM 


Good point, Jim. The market economy may have brought the
crooks out of the woodwork, but at the same time it at least
began to nourish the idea of individual responsibility.

Ruth
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (21 of 23), Read
      39 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Wednesday, August 18, 1999 07:03 AM 


This thread of notes illustrates once again why I love reading
books with the people on this board. Often, I have a feeling
about a book but can't quite crystallize it. Then, one of you
shines a clear little beam of light on it and I think, "of course!"
and it sends me off thinking in ways I might never have reached
without you.

Ann, I did not focus on Father Tadeusz' words that you
excerpted in your note when I read the book. I'm glad you
repeated them for me because they are, obviously now, one of
the most important kernels. I did think that he brought the
villagers out of the little cocoons of ignorance they had built
around themselves, but the true horror of it never did seem to
strike them.

The most admirable and interesting characters in the story were
definitely Father Tadeusz, Leszek and Leszek's father and
grandfather. However, one of the things I loved about the book
was that none of them were traditional "heroes" though I agree
with you, Ann, that Tadeusz was the person who rose to
understand the atrocity and mark their collective memory.
Tadeusz began as such a fallible character, resenting his
isolation in an ignorant village away from the means he thought
he needed to study. Then, he turns those same abilities on the
records in his basement and the central issue of his community
and a key turns.

And, Jim, I think you definitely answered the "Why now?"
question. It also brings up another question...do people trying to
survive in a totalitarian society feel less individual responsibility?
Is that an inevitable side result? I'm aware that history records
many individual heroes in that situation, but I'm wondering if it is
true in general.

Barb 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (22 of 23), Read
      41 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Wednesday, August 18, 1999 07:47 AM 


Loved your note Ann. It also struck me that really only Leszek's
grandfather and Father Tadeusz felt "collective responsibility" for
the Holocaust. And the grandfather had tried to help at the time!
On the other hand the young priest (whose name escapes me
now) made a couple of really anti-Semetic remarks about how
"international Jewery" was responsible for the sorry state of
post-Communist Poland.

I still remember an incident during the Communist time when a
young Polish doctor was visiting an acquaintance. My friend was
saying how his grandparents were from Poland. The Pole said
"But your last name (Jaffe) isn't Polish, it's Jewish!" Shed a lot of
light on the "otherness" of the Jews that led to such a tragedy.

Bea


  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (23 of 23), Read
      26 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Mary Anne Papale (fdlx59b@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Wednesday, August 18, 1999 04:29 PM 


Ann, et. al.
I am indeed the CR who nominated this book. I was motivated to
do so because of the uniqueness of the themes. I've read so
many Holocaust books, WWII books, and so on. But this was the
first that pushed the action all the way forward to contemporary
times. And I've not read anything else about what things were
like in Eastern Europe during the fall of Communism.
I was chilled by the similarities of the bureaucratic red tape of
Communism compared to our own governmental system. The
frustration the average citizen feels when trying to work his way
through the system, whatever the system, seems to be the
same.
MAP

 
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (24 of 37), Read
      39 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
      Thursday, August 19, 1999 07:11 AM 


Ann,
Your note of the 17th was a CR classic. Extremely
thought-provoking and intelligent. You started off by saying how
this book didn't leave you with any warm fuzzy feelings about
humanity. This is an interesting point. I know exactly what you
mean. But I did have hopeful feelings about individuals, however
flawed they may have been. The bureaucracy was made of
individuals. But as a whole, all the individuals together, it was a
human disaster. It's as if the system had a life all its own and it
was difficult for one person to have any affect. I thought
Jablonski was a fascinating character. He is obviously intelligent,
with no legitimate outlet for his desire to be a leader except
through the channels of this giant corrupt bureaucracy. How
would he have fared in another system, say the U.S? Do you
think that in a better system, he would have been a better man?
A better leader? What I'm asking is: do you think he was innately
bad, or did the system create the need for him to be bad in order
to survive within it? 

Barb, I was moved to tears in more than one section. One of
those times was when Leszek went looking for a battery and
found the old Jewish man. Leszek spoke to him, asked questions,
wanted to know about him. The man's mode of survival was
remarkable. He embraced his surroundings and its way of
worshipping. When the man said I am a congregation of one, I
was bowled over. This scene said so much about loneliness,
forgiveness, acceptance, pride. 

I want to thank you too, Mary Anne. 



Sherry 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (25 of 37), Read
      40 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) 
 Date: 
      Thursday, August 19, 1999 08:49 AM 


My thought about Jablonski is that he adapted to the world as
he found it and did the things he needed to do to get by. The
ugly fact is that the typical reward for heroism is poverty and
possibly death. Idealistic poverty may sound romantic, but on a
daily basis it can get pretty old pretty quickly.

This doesn't mean that Jablonski needed to be as much of a
slime as he appeared to be, but it makes it understandable.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (26 of 37), Read
      37 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Thursday, August 19, 1999 11:14 AM 


This book has a quality that we've talked about in other threads
lately, presentation of the viewpoint of all of the main
characters. I didn't find any one-dimensional heroes or villains,
except perhaps the Nazis and if there had been an individual Nazi
character in the book, we might've been given some insight from
his place. Jablonski did respond in a slimy way to his need for
survival, but I understood how he got there. I thought the part
in which his wife complained about the great, anonymous "they"
and Jablonski's reaction to it was particularly insightful.

There's a fairly interesting review of this book on the New York
Times Book page. I found it by putting the title of the book in
their search engine. It begins by wondering about the reaction to
this book in Poland. I hadn't really thought of that.

Barb 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (27 of 37), Read
      36 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Thursday, August 19, 1999 11:32 AM 


I wondered about the Poles reaction, too, Barb. After all, this
book was written by an outsider. And I also found myself
wondering about how accurate his portrayal of everyday life
was. It had an air of authority to me, but he was only in the
country a few years, wasn't he?

Ruth
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (28 of 37), Read
      23 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Mary Anne Papale (fdlx59b@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Friday, August 20, 1999 08:28 AM 


Secrets. Those nasty secrets. I am ruminating about what an
important role secrets play in this book. The secret of why
Tomek was murdered. Leszek's secret. The collective secrets. It
appears that everyone has a secret. There's a fragile, if unholy
balance to the maintenance of all those secrets. The more
Leszek pokes and prods, the more that balance is destroyed. To
a certain extent, I think this explains Jim's "why now" question.
After all, if everyone is tacitly willing, a secret can be kept
forever. Certainly Leszek must know that the more he probes the
more his own secret will be in jeopardy of exposure.
And speaking of secrets, I'm finding it remarkable just how much
one can say about this book without exposing a spoiler.
MAP

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (29 of 37), Read
      25 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Friday, August 20, 1999 10:30 AM 


MAP & All: I'm moving through ITMOTF much more slowly than I'd
wanted to, but still am struck continually by just how good
Powers' writing is. So many sentences that are "just right" in
instantly conjuring a character or a setting. Just a couple I've
noted...

--"The few men on the streets during these trips, standing and
chatting in pairs, [Czarnek] passed with no more than a nod, and
was never seen to enter the bar, the one seriously male domain
on the square, with its thick air of mumbled plans and incoherent
argument..."

--"I wandered in neighborhoods I'm sure I could never find again.
I drifted in and out of shops, stood watching beside crowded
street corners and towering apartment blocks, peered in store
windows under buzzing neon signs until I realized that colored
lights did not automatically signify novelty or quality..."

One thing that makes this novel so immediate and gripping for me
is that it confronts our desperate and universal need to feel we
are "good" people who would do the "right" thing in difficult
circumstances, while the reality is otherwise.

I think this is also why we're so obsessed with public courtroom
cases, when the legal system tries to get at the truth by
questioning what we "should have done" or "should have known"
at any given time, as viewed in hindsight and different contexts.
Deep down, we all know that if push came to shove we couldn't
pass those hurdles.

One of the most powerful quotes in my memory is from some
writer or philosopher who said, "The supreme tragedy of human
existence is that everyone has their reasons."

Re: the subject of "secrets" that aren't really secrets reminds me
of two other novels I really admire: Russell Banks' THE SWEET
HEAREAFTER, in which an out-of-town attorney tries to get at
"the truth" about a schoolbus wreck that killed a number of
children; and Larry Watson's MONTANA 1945, in which a
small-town sheriff has to grapple with such "secrets" in
investigating a case.

As much as we'd like to think otherwise, there's just no such
thing as "the" truth of a situation that involves multiple people.
The "Rashomon" syndrome comes into play every time.

>>Dale in Ala. 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (30 of 37), Read
      27 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) 
 Date: 
      Friday, August 20, 1999 11:11 AM 


Very perceptive note, Dale.

Ruth, feet planted firmly in clay
Books are cheaper than wallpaper

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (31 of 37), Read
      15 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Friday, August 20, 1999 04:40 PM 


Somebody here (Jim, maybe?) mentioned the overwhelming
poverty that Powers describes so well. I was especially taken by
one litany of tremendous material deprivation which a character
ended by reflecting, "But of course, things had been a lot
worse." That one blew me away.

The poverty of spirit, I think, is just as strong here. The scenes
of the prostitutes routinely provided to the politicians, and
endless abstract debates endured with hangovers from bad
Vodka make me see the "Evil Empire" era through new eyes.
What a heck of a writer.

As for myself, I know that the everyday economic conditions for
so many millions of people in the "new" Eastern Europe is
completely beyond my comprehension. If that were the price for
democracy here, I'm not sure I'd pay it willingly.

>>Dale in Ala.

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (32 of 37), Read
      15 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 01:39 AM 


But --- what are we using for the definition of democracy in this
instance, Dale? To the people who have been through this --
maybe -- the definition is simpler than what we have come to
feel is democracy and maybe, just maybe, the idea of democracy
in these new democratic places might be aiming somewhere close
to the original goals of the founders of our country? Something
to think about.

I haven't read this book bear that in mind but I think we
Americans may be a little off the mark -- we need to think about
the more basic ideas of being free and democratic sometimes. I
almost hesitate to say that given that this is often the very
place many fanatical groups begin -- it gets complicated when
people use good things to bad ends.

Dottie
ID is an oxymoron!

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (33 of 37), Read
      12 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Katie Kleczka (knp@execpc.com) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 06:45 AM 


I would just like to share something that occurred to me while I
was reading this book. And while I doubt this is spoiler territory, I
am being somewhat specific so BEWARE. :)

____________________________
____________________________


We learn that the stones being taken from various properties had
originally come from the Jewish cemetery. In a time of shortage
for building supplies, they were used in the construction of the
foundation of a house or barn. I thought as I read how this
aspect of the plot has some a rather important meaning in terms
of the foundation of the community itself: Jews and Poles alike
formed the foundations of this community and someone is
chipping away pieces of not only stone but exposing the
memories contained within the foundation. 

I hope that that was not too confusing. I had a little troubling
articulating this idea.

Katie
"Everything in moderation, EXCEPT for reading."

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (34 of 37), Read
      13 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 06:59 AM 


Katie, I almost missed your note, because we posted
simultaneously. Yes, the grave stone resurrections were
symbolic, weren't they? The town was literally built on the
physical evidence of memory. The memories and the evidence
were underground emotionally and physically. By taking the
stones from the old graveyard the Grandfather created the need
for the distiller to dig out the stones from the foundations to
replace them. By creating physical evidence of his guilt and
memory he started a chain of events that affected the whole
town. The foundations were revealed, the memories were
unearthed. And revealing those memories sometimes shattered
the very houses they had supported. Or at least they certainly
knocked them off-kilter. 
Sherry 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (35 of 37), Read
      13 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 07:07 AM 


Dale, I don't think it's the introduction of democracy so much as
the free market economy (do they always go hand in hand? I
really don't know.) It's the survival of the fittest, which is many
instances means the survival of the crookedest. Our system is
far from fair or perfect, but it seems to be pretty good for lots of
people. Starting a free market economy, slam bang, after no
such thing existed, must be much like going out into the middle
of the Atlantic during a hurricane to get your first swimming
lesson. 

Sherry 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (36 of 37), Read
      6 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 08:23 AM 


Sherry, Dottie & All: Good points, as to democracy and free
market economy not being the same. I guess that since the U.S.
pretty much started on a laissez faire basis, we've had a couple
centuries to work the bugs out of it, come up with laws and
regulations to rout at least some of the crooks, and devise a
social "safety net" for those who go under when the "fittest"
survive. As you say, not perfect but not a bad deal overall for
most.

I'm sure socialism has/had its good points too, but authors like
Powers sure make a case for it being a spirit-destroying force.

Remember the line from the Woody Guthrie song? "Some men rob
you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen..."

>>Dale in Ala. 

  
 

 
      In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (37 of 37), Read
      10 times 
 Conf: 
      READING LIST BOOKS 
 From: 
      Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) 
 Date: 
      Saturday, August 21, 1999 08:53 AM 


Dale et al -

I just wanted to point out that poverty was also a feature of the
Communist time. On pp. 16-18 of the paperback edition Leszek is
talking about the way things were when he was age 8. 

"People lived on cabbage and potatoes. We had no money, nor
did our neighbors, which meant that animals had to be sold for
cash and not killed for food. Not that the cash came to much,
and, of course, there was nothing to buy with it....my mother
would wait line for her rationed allotment of whatever was being
sold.

We are getting perilously close to politics here. In my opinion,
though, it is not the free market that it is causing the
post-Communist poverty. It is that Communism destroyed the
free market, destroyed the price system, destroyed economic
incentives. Then free speech exposed the poverty and the
corruption which had existed, in spades, under the system. With
a destroyed economy, it is naturally going to take years to
recover.

I truly believe that democracy and the free market has given
Americans their wealth. When I was in the Soviet Union in the
80's I repeatedly observed huge, unfenced gaping holes in
sidewalks, piers, etc. I remember thinking that would never
happen in the U.S. -- the property owners would be sued. Our
Intourist guide was from Moscow. When we got there, I said you
must be glad to be home. She said no -- there had been no hot
water to her apartment for three months. This happened every
summer. 

Sorry for the diatribe, Bea


Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (38 of 43), Read 50 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) Date: Saturday, August 21, 1999 09:51 AM Dale, Beatrice, others: Thanks for the interesting thoughts about the transition between communism and capitalism. One of the fascinating things about Jablonski is to see the old system continuing to hang around after the fall. I've also been following recent news stories about the Russian Mafia. I wonder how much of that is a function of the free market and how much of it is a continuation of communism by other means.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (39 of 43), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, August 21, 1999 05:47 PM Folks: Just a note to let you know I'm still tracking this book down in town. It seems everyone will be bored of the forest before I even enter. Typical. Dan
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (40 of 43), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, August 21, 1999 06:16 PM One interesting facet of the "new Eastern Europe" is the huge increase in crime -- private enterprise at its worst. I spent a summer in Russia in 1970 and we could safely go anywhere. Now the Russian mafia shoots people down on the streets of Moscow. Some relatives went to Poland a couple of years ago and the man was robbed of his money bag containing cash, credit cards, and passport on a public bus. Perhaps this isn't so surprising except that that bag was the type that was hanging around his neck under his shirt. There seems to have been a real breakdown in public order in many of these countries. Lest I be accused of being totally off topic here, Powers also mentions the great increase in crime in his book. What do you think? Are increases in freedom and crime necessarily correlated? I don't know if democracy really exists in any of these countries yet. I don't see much sign of it in Russia, where Yelstin replaces prime ministers every other month with a different candidate from the former secret police. In the long run, things will hopefully improve, but I feel sorry for those going through this really long and painful transition. It is especially difficult for pensioners who have had to resort to selling their few meagre possession on the streets to get money for food. And yet some are growing very rich off the new opportunities. Ah well, all was not rosy in our own history either. We did have that period dominated by the "robber barons." Ann
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (41 of 43), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Sunday, August 22, 1999 12:19 PM ANN I think that the robber barons are with us now and not just safely tucked away in history. Look at the recent case of the gentleman who took off with hundreds of millions of dollars looted from insurance companies and who has, so far, successfully eluded the guardians of the law. Not quite the same as a business devoted to milking the public, but you get the idea. But, oh yes, I don't object to living in the U.S. In fact, I think I'm damn lucky. TO ALL Sorry for twisting the thread. Back to the Forest. PRES, who wonders how you can espouse rationality and believe in luck. "Luck" - to recognize a fortunate circumstance.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (42 of 43), Read 52 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, August 22, 1999 01:49 PM You guys have gotten me to wondering whether democracy and free enterprise are by definition joined at the hip, or whether there's ever been an instance of a country having one without the other for any appreciable period of time. Thoughts, anybody? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (43 of 43), Read 36 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Sunday, August 22, 1999 06:42 PM DALE wrote: " . . . wondering whether democracy and free enterprise are by definition joined at the hip, . . ." I think that you can very easily have an autocracy or dictatorship and a free enterprise economic system. Germany before the first World War, and Germany under Hitler should serve as examples. And could you call our system a free enterprise system during the second World War? PRES
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (44 of 59), Read 36 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lee Beech (lee.beech@sympatico.ca) Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 03:48 PM I am surprised that no one has yet raised the subject of the forest in this novel. I felt the presence of the forest throughout: the forest which held the secrets; the forest which had sheltered the grandfather's group during the invasion; the forest which set the village apart. I feel that Powers presented the forest almost as a character which had seen secrets in the past and would continue to have their memory. It seemed as if it was not possible to truly hide or forget, that the secrets would have their revelations. Was the forest a metaphor for some inability to forever hide evil? At the risk of continuing the political discussion, I do want to comment that socialism and communism are not intrinsically evil, and that the systems of government in both the Soviet Union and in Poland were more akin to state capitalism than to true socialism. Further, I am not certain that "democracy" truly exists when there are poor and underprivileged persons who do not find the protection which organized society could provide. Sorry for the political comment, but I read all the other stuff and I just had to add to it. I loved this book, and am interested at how many books are being written and read currently about the post-Nazi generation coming to grips with the past.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (45 of 59), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 04:26 PM Lee, No need for you to apologize for bringing up political questions. This book begs one to look into political questions. I think the forest could indeed be a metaphor for the hiding of evil. But it could also be a symbol of life, and rebirth. I think the best metaphors are the ones that can be interpreted many ways. Sherry
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (46 of 59), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 05:17 PM Lee, One could argue that we don't know if communism works because it's never really been implemented anywhere. Marx thought it would eventually result in the withering away of the state -- such an idealist. I enjoyed reading your reactions. Ann
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (47 of 59), Read 39 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 09:10 PM Lee, I was very interested by your political comments. It seems to me that communism and socialism truly encourage laziness in people. Those who are less ambitious than others get the same salary as those who work harder. Why should anyone work hard? We have this same phenomenon in our society. We have all seen those people with signs "Will work for food." One of our TV stations followed some of these people with hidden cameras and found that many people stop and give them cash. The people asking for work always made excuses when they were offered work and they were living in motels with the money they got. I know that this isn't true for all of these people that ask for money, and I know that many of them are mentally ill. But, I think that there will always be people who take the easy way through life. Jane
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (48 of 59), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lee Beech (lee.beech@sympatico.ca) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 06:34 AM Does "democracy" truly exist and more than "socialism" or "communism"? As for the possibility of socialism breeding "laziness", in the capitalist society in which we live, I see lots of aspects which are not admirable. Perhaps all societies have their evils, but to label one or another of these philosophies more inherently evil is perhaps a denial of their "democratic" right to live with their own system. I am inherently opposed to the inference that "our system" is better than someone else's. None of them works to allow total individual freedom. I like the metaphors of the forest in this novel: shelter, rebirth, hiding place. I felt that the location of the village in the forest was a key element of the novel. It could not have occurred in the plains and perhaps not even in mountainous regions.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (49 of 59), Read 36 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 08:02 AM I think that socialism and communism and democracy would all work just fine, IF people did not have this annoying habit of being power-mad. The systems are all corrupted by people who take advantage of being able to get to the top of the system. Human nature would have to be twisted around in knots for each system to be able to work the way it ideally should work. To me, the system of democracy (although I don't really know exactly what that means) seems to work better, given human nature. Maybe it's really the economic system I'm talking about, more than the election process system (which seems awfully strange in this country right now). Sherry
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (50 of 59), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 08:24 AM Sherry, I think it might be the capitalist economic system you're talking about. In its purest form, it relies on the public good being accomplished indirectly by having people act in their own self interest in a purely competitive environment with a minimum of government interference or direction. As I understand it, socialism and communism differ mainly on that last point of governmental control. Whether or not capitalism is more psychologically valid is another matter entirely. In theory, at least, whether a society is politically democratic is independent of its economic system. It's quite possible for a society with a socialistic economic system to hold democratically based elections (Sweden, I believe, is such an example). David, who majored in economics for exactly one semester before realizing that he didn't know anything about it, so why should you believe him now?
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (51 of 59), Read 41 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 08:34 AM David & All: Speaking of political systems, thought you might be interested in an item I came across in my hometown newspaper this week. Seems the county Board of Education mandated school uniforms for this first time this year, and on the first day of classes some 50 students staged a walkout at the high school in protest. One outraged 15-year-old boy told a reporter, "It's as bad as Communism!" I wonder whose side Marx and Lenin would weigh in on? {G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (52 of 59), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 01:05 PM Hello all: I haven't the ability to sum up the novel, but I really enjoyed it a lot. I praise the author's ability to write well and to weave a fascinating plot full of such interesting situations and characters. However, I do not think it gave me any real insight into contemporary life in Poland. I may be alone in this criticism, but I felt some of the descriptions of people and places seemed like American preconceptions of those people and places. As in, oh yes, they drink a lot of vodka, there's an awful lot of bureaucratic nonsense, and there's a pudgy guy pursuing his secretary. Isn't some of this cliche? The descriptions of the forests were certainly moving, certainly poignant. Some of the characters were certainly original. But I felt the village was a haven for cold war (and post-war) cliches. I am not saying this is because the author isn't Polish, no. But there's some American stereotypes about Eastern block countries within the text, albeit buried within a very rich and creative work. Another note: I recall someone once noted that America is the only nation in the world that feels guilty about its past transgressions. As a rule, we feel guilty about slavery, the trail of tears, Hiroshima, and the list goes on. Of course, it doesn't stop us from conducting activities for which we'll suffer guilt, but, by God, we'll do those activities anyway and suffer the guilt later. The speaker (wish I remember who it was) noted this makes for a fractured national identity and that we would be better off if we just accepted our atrocities and move on. I assume he means countries like Poland. This novel certainly exposes the complexity of guilt and national responsibility. Sorry I don't have time to clarify my comments, but I'm on break. The chemistry exams need copying. . . Dan
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (53 of 59), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 01:10 PM Oh, and Dale: Our high school just formally adopted school uniforms this year. When the students arrived four weeks ago, administration was concerned with walk-outs or with students who simply arrived everyday for an education but wearing Nike and Doc Martens instead of white and khaki. What are we going to do? I'll be damned if no one--not ONE student-- tried to buck the system. All the voices last spring of "I'll never wear that, NEVER!" have died. And they all walk the halls uniformly. I'm going to have to start teaching in my bathing suit and bathrobe. These students have already forgotten their individualities. I praise those students staging the walkout you've read about. At least they are trying. Whether school uniforms is the first step towards Communism, I'll let the social studies instructor deal with that issue. Dan
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (54 of 59), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 02:13 PM Dan: The little boogers are walking the halls "uniformly," are they? Will wonders never cease... {G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (55 of 59), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Mary Anne Papale (fdlx59b@prodigy.com) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 04:19 PM Lee, I love your comments about the forest. Powers gives the forest a distinct characterization. I reminds me of the way the snow was depicted in Snow Falling on Cedars. I don't know much about metaphors, but you can feel the atmosphere. I can almost hear those trees whispering the secrets of the forest now. MAP
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (56 of 59), Read 35 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 05:29 PM DAN Be these little boogers communists or worse; wasn't the intent of the uniforms, recognition of intruders? Giving up some freedoms is a consequence of our proximity to one another (inserted opinion, easily ignored) as we came in out of the forests. Safety? A minor inconvenience in attire? Today, my vote is for safety. A year or two from now, I reserve the right to do the American thing; change my mind. EDD
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (57 of 59), Read 32 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, September 11, 1999 09:05 PM Edd: I hate to take up board space with high school safety issues, but our rural school, student population 600 on a good year, is made up of everyone who knows everyone else. Strangers are instantly recognized. Hard to believe in this day and age, but it's true. The uniforms were adopted because the other high schools in our parish are not so close-knit and friendly. And the board, where wisdom often prevails, decided if those other two high schools were going to wear uniforms, then so would we. After all, would we make a high school student who wants to move around a lot go from uniform to non-uniform? Of course not. Dan
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (58 of 59), Read 29 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, September 12, 1999 08:13 PM Back to economic systems: I remember reading that workers in the U.S. and Britain were polled about inheritance taxes. The Brits were all for taxing inheritances until hardly anything was left for the family. Americans were generally against it, because they generally felt that they might strike it rich some time (win the lottery, invent something, etc.), and they wanted to be able to leave their fortune to their heirs. It seems that we are a very optimistic and hopeful people. Jane
Topic: In the Memory of the Forest by Charles T. Powers (59 of 59), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, September 13, 1999 02:11 AM JANE It seems like it should be the other way. There was a day when Americans thought that with a bit of pluck and just a smidgen of luck, each person could make their way. No need to rely on Papa. Now we expect our parents to save for our benefit. Why work, if you can inherit? Really, we ought to be able to time it, to the second. Tip the barmaid your last 50 cents just as the ticker stops. EDD remembering that if I don't spend my money, my kids will. (and are)

 

 

 
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