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Kate Vaiden
by Reynolds Price
From Booklist:
Familial dysfunction defines this Price effort--his first experiment with a first-person narrator in a full-length novel. Kate Vaiden is left parentless as a child when her father fatally shoots her mother and then himself. As an adult, Kate attests, "I'd caused their deaths." She isn't the only one in such a predicament: her mother's mother died in childbirth, and the father of her child was raised an orphan. Trapped in a self-defeating cycle, Kate forever seeks stability, only to flee when it gravitates within her reach. This rich Southern tale, which won a National Book Critics Award in 1986, is slathered with Christian themes of guilt, salvation, shame and, occasionally, triumph.
 



Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (1 of 72), Read 49 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 09:12 AM An amature psychologist at heart, I found Kate to be a fascinating character. At times, I was as confused and stymied as she was. At others, I was as focused on self preservation as she. This was a woman determined to survive, no matter the cost to herself or to others. Kate was full of contradictions, I think. She ached for love, was surrounded by it from her aunt and uncles, yet couldn't accept it. She saw men as the only means of validation, yet she couldn't accept their love. Kate wanted to be loved for herself, yet when faced with opportunities, as with her son and Whitfield, she ran from the responsibility. I'm not quite sure whether she loved Douglas or not. I don't think Kate knew for sure. Her fears and behaviors are understandable when considered in light of the incest and the murder/suicide or murder/murder of her parents. Isn't it interesting how Caroline and Holt's loving attention, and her access to Fob and Walter's care, couldn't do anything to break through to her heart? Though she survives, she does not survive intact, I don't think. What is your take on Kate?
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (2 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 02:49 PM She sure believed in the geographical cure. Everytime things went bad, or threatened to break thru that emotional wall, she cut and ran. At first I was sympathetic, but about 3/4 of the way thru she began to irritate me intensely. I realize she was damaged, but so much of her behavior seemed to be about 'me, me, me.' And she never learned. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (3 of 72), Read 47 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 03:55 PM After I finished this book, I read an interview with Reynolds Price in which he said that Kate was partially based on his mother, not what she actually did, but what he thinks she would have liked to do. I had the sense that this was almost a case study of what early loss can do to a life. There's a lot of documentation that people who lose even one parent early in life reject future relationships because they don't want to experience that loss again. It would make sense to me that, particularly after the early loss of her lover, that she would start walking away from all of them. And, how scary would the dependency of a child be to a person who has lived through all of that? My only criticism is that this voice sounded far too much like Reynolds Price talking and not Kate. Did anyone else have that sense? Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (4 of 72), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 06:45 PM No, I didn't, Barb. I think the distance I felt was due to Kate's own dissociation from relationships. Ruth - Yes, she was frustrating, but like Caroline and Holt, I just had to let her go. I found I could do so without much emotion. I wonder if it was a similar reaction for those that truly loved her? She's not an endearing person, is she? For me, she's a cold fish. Is that fair, do you think? All- One thing that puzzled me, as well as Kate, was how Caroline could just let her go. On the other hand, I don't remember any hugs ever offered to Kate as a child - not even from Frances and Dan. The fact she used their given names tells us something about her relationship with her parents, doesn't it? Don't forget Dan abused her sexually. Then he is murdered, or commits suicide. (Which was it, do you think? Swift was mean enough to do the deed.) I didn't get the impression that Kate ever saw the abuse as something taboo. I think perhaps she never had the opportunity or guidance to sort through what had happened. Caroline never discussed it with her. Any time someone tried to get close emotionally, Kate took to her heels. She knows it's "wrong," but she doesn't have the fortitude to stick with it. Having a choice seemed to be the guiding light of her life. Isn't it interesting that even as a child, she determines she doesn't ever want to be a mother? I thought she was living her whole life from a distance. She sees herself as a survivor, but I'm not sure she is one. Also, what did you all think about Walter's "rescue" of Douglas? As kind as he was, I suspect some implicit demands were made of the needy young man. Douglas was damaged goods, as well. What did you all make of his character?
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (5 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 07:10 PM Kay, I must be really dense, or read this too fast, but I didn't see where Dan sexually abused Kate. I know they ran around naked, which I thought was rather odd in a Southern family in that era, but I missed the abuse part. Barb, I kind of agree with you that I heard Price's (or a man's) voice in this. There were a few phrases that just struck me as not likely to have been said by a woman. One was near the end where Kate said something about women using tears as a device for manipulation. She didn't qualify it at all, just flat out said all tears were a manipulation, or at least I read it that way. Sounded suspect to me. Also her early easy (guiltless) way with sex seems like male wishful thinking somehow. Would any thirteen year old Southern girl really be that cavalier about "helping" a boy in that way on first meeting? I had a really hard time identifying with Kate. So many of her instincts were directly opposite of what my instincts are. This isn't to say I didn't find a lot of good in the book. I did, but on the whole, I was puzzled by her. Sherry
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (6 of 72), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 07:14 PM Dan abused her sexually? Is my memory that bad, or did I miss something? I agree about Kate's being damaged so that she couldn't/wouldn't tolerate any kind of dependency/intimacy, even to the point of running from her child. But what frustrated me was not her, but Reynolds. After Kate had cut and run several times, and eventually abandoned even her child, why did he keep on with the same kind of thing over and over? I mean we got the point way back when. Why repeat and repeat and repeat?And then right at the end of the book, just sort of stop? I saw nothing in the book before the flash forward at the end to make me believe Kate had changed a wit, yet there is the implication she that she had. Or at least had some kind of insight into her behaviour. I don't think Reynolds laid his groundwork for this. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (7 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 09:45 PM Perhaps I misinterpreted, but when Kate talked about Dan rubbing her chest and teasing her about getting bosoms soon, I thought, "abuse." I also got the impression he had gone further at times. I'll see if I can find the passages. I think the way Price wrote Kate is exactly why I couldn't get close to her. She was confused, which made me confused. I could not find a reason to love her, yet I'm reminded that she couldn't either. That must have colored her interpretation of events. I think what was missing was a sense of vulnerability. What do you all make of her changing herself into a boy early on in the story? Was that just a defensive move, or was something stronger at work? Since homosexuality ran in her family, I have to wonder if that was a factor somehow. Ok. Tell me how far off base I am here. :-)
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (8 of 72), Read 41 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 10:24 PM I didn't sense any abuse either, Kay, just a lot of stuff that we would think of as really inappropriate now. There was that one line about Dan using his penis as a pretend banjo that I thought was really bizarre. And, there was the episode that you are referred to about her "bosoms". I thought that it just emphasized how incredibly young and ill-equipped they were to be raising a child. There were some times too when I thought that Price was airing some of his own agendas through Kate. I kept trying to remember that this was a 53 year old woman remembering and telling the story. But, more often, it sounded like an older man than an older woman to me. I'll go back and see if I can find some of those spots. When Kate changed herself into a boy, I thought she was fighting for some control, some strength. I was fascinated with how Price played out that scene though. It was eerily powerful. I could really feel what she had done. I have such strong memories of those kinds of drifts into unreality when I was a child. It's so much easier to do when you're young. And, Price did a good job, I thought, of conveying that situation. I thought that Douglas was another example of the emotional damage that early significant loss causes. Both he and Kate lost both of their parents. But, Douglas doesn't even have an extended family to take him in. He ends up in an orphanage. And, his difficulties forming a relationship are even more intense than Kate's plus he has all that violence in him as well. The relationship between Walter and Douglas was certainly complicated, wasn't it? First, Walter rescues him, then at some point they seem to have developed a sexual relationship. Douglas appears to be bitter about this, implying that Walter took advantage of his gratitude. I also had to keep reminding myself that Holt had beaten these kids, Swift, Walter and Frances. He is painted as such a benevolent character later on. However, I must say that I have seen some people go through that kind of behavior transformation from parent to grandparent. Ruth, I have to agree with you that Price didn't lay down the necessary groundwork for Kate's development at the end. In fact, though there are parts of this that I find outstanding, I'm surprised that it received the National Book Critics Circle Award. I just don't think that its overall quality is that high. I'm interested in your reaction because I know you loved Price's writing in the White People collection. By the way, was there a story in that collection that include Frances' building of the underground garden? I remember reading that scene before somewhere, I think. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (9 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 10:30 PM Oops, I'm confused, Barb. WHITE PEOPLE is Allan Gurganus's short stories. I'm not sure if I've read Price before. I did like his writing. Very readable. Sometimes amusing, even tho KV as a whole sure wasn't amusing. I keep wondering though, what was the point of it all. If it was to show us a damaged person, why they were damaged, and what this can lead to, that was established in the first half of the book. He could have stopped there. If it was to show us that we can be redeemed from such emotional havoc, then where was the redemption and how did it happen? Still, I might try another RP. His writing style is very nice. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (10 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 10:44 PM Oh jeez, Ruth. How did I manage to mix these two up?!? Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (11 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 11:18 PM I can understand the frustration with the ending. Actually, I didn't see much resolution at all, at least when it came to Kate's perspective. It's as if her emotional and relationship skills never developed. KV is not a satisfying read, is it? The undercurrent is one of sublimated emptiness on Kate's part. I agree that first scene "helping" Gaston was a bit far fetched. I'm curious. At one point, she mentions something about Douglas having played an important role in Lee's life. Exactly what did she mean, do you think? And why on earth did Douglas come back to Whitfield's to commit suicide? There were a number of mini mysteries in this story. Did Whitfield kill him, or do we believe his story. If he did, why? Was Kate confusing sexual attraction for love when it came to Douglas? She seemed to waiver on that point. Also, I wasn't sure whether Swift had killed both Dan and Frances or not. Kate never decided for sure, did she?
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (12 of 72), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001 11:22 PM Ruth- You might try "Roxanna Slade." I enjoyed that a lot more than KV. "Promise of Rest" is also on my TBR.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (13 of 72), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 06:31 AM Barb, the "Penny Show" was familiar to me too. Could it have been in the Eudora Welty book we read? I know I've read something like it. Sherry
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (14 of 72), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 08:22 AM I do know that Welty and Price were mutual admirers of their writing, so that's possible.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (15 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lynn Isvik (washualum@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 12:22 PM I agree that the ending left something to be desired. So much time was spent on the 5 or 6 years in Kate's adolescence, then we just kind of fast-forwarded through her young adulthood and suddenly came back to the starting point of the middle-50's woman contemplating seeing her son after all those years. There just didn't seem to be a lot of point to the young adult years, other than to reiterate her inability to form lasting relationships. Kate reminded me of a cat -- 9 lives and she always managed to land on her feet. It just didn't seem realistic to me that she could manage that all the time, especially in her teens, without getting taken advantage of by people she encountered. I'm thinking specifically of her time in Norfolk... the sailor and his wife, the cab driver, etc. Lynn
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (16 of 72), Read 47 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 12:50 PM And except for the aunt, it was always a man who pulled her chestnuts out of the fire, wasn't it? But I must admit I devoured the book. RP has a very readable style. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (17 of 72), Read 49 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lynn Isvik (washualum@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 01:01 PM The only other woman I can think of who played a role in helping Kate was her former grade school teacher who helped her as a young adult. And you're right, Ruth... whether one believes he wrote in his own voice or stayed true to Kate's voice, Price created a very readable book. Lynn
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (18 of 72), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 03:34 PM Remember how surprised Kate was when the teacher indicated Kate needed to find a man? Kate seemed to feel a sense of betrayal. What was that all about?
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (19 of 72), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 03:49 PM Glad you reminded me of that, Kay. I remembered wondering why Kate took umbrage at that, it's what she'd been doing all along. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (20 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Mary Anne Papale (mapreads@aol.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 07:42 PM While I was reading KV, I kept wondering what Price was trying to tell me. I finally came up with the following: suppose you wanted to write a story in which the main character is a rolling stone. But there’s a twist to the story, as this character is female. We’re so used to female characters that nest, and hunker down, and overcome their problems without bolting. Price wrote this book as a pseudo-memoir. To write it otherwise would defy believability. Kate even says herself that her story is unbelievable. In many mysteries I’ve read, the author throws in many characters to throw off the reader as to the identity of the culprit. But in KV, every person Kate meets, even casually, is someone she’s bound to live with at some point in her life. In addition to Caroline and Miss Liner, Kate also stays with and is helped by two other females, Noony, and Daphne Baxter. Also, let’s not forget that there are many orphans and bastards in this book: Kate, Douglas, and Frances were orphans; Lee and Whitfield were bastards. It seems that this whole book was about leaving and abandonment: Kate’s last look at her mother was her back as she was leaving with Swift. Kate leaves herself on the train, when she imagines that she is a boy. Noony refers what she has to clean up from Kate and Douglas’ love making as “leavings”. Gaston is dead, of what surely was suicide. Same with Douglas. Miss Limer finally leaves Kate, and abandons what Kate mistook for an anti-male philosophy. No wonder Kate wonders if her son would want to see her. I really admire RP’s writing. He has a way of packing a lot of information into a single sentence. Sometimes the sentence takes a tiny turn and ends somewhere I didn’t expect: I can name every teacher I had in the ten years before I quit. It seems so simple, but a sentence like that early on, really pulls me in and makes me want to keep reading. Metaphors be with you... MAP
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (21 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 08:29 PM Kay, I didn't think that Dan abused Kate either. Kate mentions that Dan and Frances were consuming each other with their passion. Swift tells us that Frances had told Dan that Swift and Frances had been lovers, so that sent him over the edge. I felt sorry for Caroline. The poor woman couldn't get rid of other people's children. First, she takes in Frances when her parents die. Then she takes in Kate, and finally she raises Lee. The poor thing. Diane Freeman and I were talking about all the occasions where Kate ran instead of facing reponsibilities and, in some cases, love. I kept thinking that she should have stayed with Walter. She could have finished her schooling, and Walter would love raising Kate's and Douglas's son. I think that I mentioned that this book reminded me of WHITE OLEANDER. The main character is a young girl as well. She seems to equate love with sex, and I felt like Kate did the same thing. They both lost their parents when young, so they took love and attention wherever they could get it. So, I didn't find the scenes with Gaston to be so unbelievable. MAP, I loved your note. I hadn't thought about all of the orphans. Ruth, I agree about the ending. At the beginning, I knew that Kate was 57, so I thought that the book would take us through her life up to that point. After awhile, I was wondering how Price would bring us to the present. I, too, loved the writing style. Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (22 of 72), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 09:51 PM But Jane - when a father rubs his hands all over his daughter's chest and plays banjo on his penis in front of her, and walks around naked, there's something very wrong. Other than the rubbing of her chest, Dan may not have touched her, but you have to admit, that was beyond weird. Don't you? I sure do, and I think it affected her future relationship with men.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (23 of 72), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 09:58 PM Having a choice seemed a big thing for Kate. She comments that at least Lee will have the choice whether to accept her or not. So, where does that need come from, do you think?
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (24 of 72), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 06:39 AM Mary Anne, your note was a wonderful summing up for me. Your first paragraph about what a writer would do if he wanted to paint a picture of a woman as a rolling stone particularly opened a window. I think this is exactly the dilemma that Price had set for himself. The interview I read with Price was in Parting the Curtains: Voices of the Great Southern Writers by Dannye Romine Powell. I'll try to excerpt some of the pertinent parts here: Price: My mother's mother died when she was about four. Her father died when she was thirteen. She never had to leave home, because an older sister, Ida, and her husband and children moved into the house. And though Ida and her husband were wonderfully kind people, there was always that sense that somebody's come into the house and taken over my parent's role. I would love to know a lot more about, really her response and feeling to all that. Certainly, as I said in interviews about Kate Vaiden, there's a lot of atmosphere of my mother in Kate--this rather rebellious, outlaw person who nonetheless was very warm and open. Mother never did anything remotely as dramatic as Kate's various runaways. But it was sort of in her soul. She never acted it out. And, later, Price is talking about the relationship he had with his mother, how open she was to reading his writing and how uncritical: DRP: So you have had the freedom to write exactly what you wanted? Price: Yes, and the access to my material. DRP: What do you mean by access? Price: Let's say that my material is simply everything that's been deposited in my mind--conscious and subconscious--for the last fifty-five years. A fiction writer's--and probably a poet's and dramtist's--success is in direct proportion to his or her ability to open up direct lines to all that material. Not to be frightened by it. I think if I had had the sort of neurotic and fearful relationship with my mother that so many of my friends have had, then I just couldn't have done a Kate Vaiden. I wouldn't have been able to go ahead and face the fact that my mother wanted like hell to run away many days in her life. The fact that she didn't was rather herioc of her. But Kate chose to run, and it was rather interesting to follow that on through to some kind of imaginative conclusion. Sorry that I included some more that didn't relate directly to our discussion, but, indirectly, it did. It was interesting for me to think that Price probably saw a tiny bit of what he might have been himself in Lee. BTW, I highly recommend this book of interviews. It was published in 1981 so I don't know if it's still in print, but I go back to it time and time again. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (25 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 07:11 AM Barb- Interesting, indeed. That answers my question about why choice was so important to Kate. His mother had the same one, but never acted on it. In KV, Price allowed her the option of running.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (26 of 72), Read 49 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 07:23 AM Kay, I believe you nominated KV and I am half through with it. And I love it! Like you, I love getting into the psychology behind a character, and there is just so much here! Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (27 of 72), Read 49 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Mary Anne Papale (mapreads@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 10:29 AM Wasn't there a post here (from Anne?) that first mentioned Kate transforming herself to the adolescent boy Marcus on the train? For some reason, I can't spot the post. At any rate, last night I was thinking that one could read KV as a study on androgyny. Or at least I was thinking that until I read Barb's posts on Price's comments about his mother. But still, I think a case could be made here. Metaphors be with you... MAP
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (28 of 72), Read 51 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 05:20 PM MAP- I think I was the one that mentioned her changing into a boy. I thought it went beyond just wanting to be powerful somehow. KV seemed so neutral and bland emotionally to me throughout the book.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (29 of 72), Read 53 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Gail Singer (gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 10:17 PM good evening ladies of CR.. question.. do you remember the title of REYNOLD PRICE BOOK about his life.. .autobiography.. ... he is in a wheelchair.. gail... trying to remember.. i bet DALE comes forth now!!
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (30 of 72), Read 56 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 06:30 AM Clear pictures, gail? David
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (31 of 72), Read 58 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Mary Anne Papale (mapreads@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 11:29 AM Thanks, Kay. I finally found it. None of the sex scenes seemed very sexy or seductive to me. Here's an adolescent having regular sex, but it all seems pretty perfunctory. Kate's most vivid memory of her encounters is the feel of her wrist on the back of the guy's neck. This struck me as an unusual way to write this, as if RP is saying the sex just is, and it's not that important. Just curious: I had an older library copy, and the cover image seems quite different from the paperback advertised through Amazon.com. Could someone describe it for me? Metaphors be with you... MAP
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (32 of 72), Read 47 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 12:44 PM I got the feeling the sex was something Kate just did to please the guys, not to please herself. That would tie in with her fear of emotional intimacy, I would think. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (33 of 72), Read 47 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 04:43 PM I think Kate had a learned helplessness about her. I don't think she would allow herself any sort of emotional involvement in any aspect of her life. I think she was too frightened of abandonment if she allowed herself to become involved, even with her son. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (34 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 08:50 PM MAP, My cover depicts a young, slim blond girl who is sitting on her bag in a train station. The train track stretches into the background, and there seems to be a train at the end of the track. The photo is fuzzy and has a rose tinge at the bottom and a yellow tinge at the top. Below the photo is a portion of a handwritten letter from Dan to Kate. At the bottom left corner is a photo of an old pickup truck next to some sunflowers. I hope that helps. Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (35 of 72), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 09:25 PM My library copy is black. with a small photo of a white horse reflected in a lake. You can barely see a young woman beside it. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (36 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lynn Isvik (washualum@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 02:26 AM That sounds like the one I have Ruth. On mine, the title and author's name are printed so large , I hardly realized there was a picture there at all. Lynn
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (37 of 72), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 08:50 AM Interesting interpretation of KV's psyche, isn't it? She uses a white horse to whisk her away when something threatens. Notice there's no white knight to accompany her.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (38 of 72), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lynn Isvik (washualum@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:20 AM I thought it was interesting that, in spite of all her abandonment issues, that Kate chose to abandon her own son. I don't recall that she gave much thought to his developing similar issues. Lynn
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (39 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:49 AM I thought that she had put up such basic emotional barriers in her psyche that the kind of love one feels for a child was simply not possible for her. I've had to be aware of some of these kinds of tendencies in myself after my mother died when I was 11 years old. I can't imagine the ramifications of losing both parents in those violent kinds of death. The absolute responsibility and selfless kind of love that you begin to realize that you entering into with your own children must be terrifying in that situation. I don't think that logic would enter into it. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (40 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Lynn Isvik (washualum@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:51 AM Good point, Barb. I have such a tendency to expect logic from everybody! I should know better, since I'm not always logical myself (even though I probably tend too much to that left-brain side). Lynn
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (41 of 72), Read 53 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 10:03 AM I lost my mom when I was a child too, and Barb is so right. When one loses a parent at a tender age, getting close to anybody brings along tons and tons of emotional garbage. I cannot relate taking that to the extreme Kate did, especially in regards to her child, but she was a child herself when she gave birth and hadn't had the time to deal with all the feelings of abandonment that accompany losing a parent..much less both parents at the same time. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (42 of 72), Read 49 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 10:16 AM And when you're young the world revolves around you so you think you have this monumental effect on everything in your life. I think thats why Kate felt responsible for all those deaths. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (43 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 08:19 PM I wouldn't say Kate made a decision to leave Lee so much as she drifted and eased into the mindset that allowed her to do that.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (44 of 72), Read 44 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:08 PM I think you're right Kay. I don't think she made the decision..at least a conscious one... to leave him either, but I do think it was just the way she was, to leave behind those who began to matter a bit too much. I don't think she consciously planned on leaving most of those she left..she just did it spur of the moment for the most part. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (45 of 72), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:41 PM Right. She'd start off to do something, and next thing you know, she was running someplace else. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (46 of 72), Read 33 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 02:59 AM Allan Gurganus said something today that triggered a thought for KV. He said that you can't start writing, knowing exactly where you want to go. He feels that's using "too much smart and too little heart." I wondered if that's one reason we can't identify with KV very well. She never took on her own character enough with Price for his heart to dominate. He set out with too strong an idea of what Kate would be. That would certainly explain why KV isn't as good as his usual fare. Usually, his books touch me to my very core. Gurganus insisted that when an author writes about someone he knows, more like a reporter than a loving friend or relative, the book suffers. Just musing.

Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (47 of 72), Read 36 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 11:22 AM How interesting, Kay. That gives me something to think about. I had really been looking forward to reading something by Price and felt a little bit let down by Kate Vaiden. However, your comments make me think I should eventually try something else. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (48 of 72), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 12:36 PM Barb: Price has written some killer short stories and novellas, of which one in particular comes to mind: "Waiting at Dachau." My favorite novel of his, though, is SURFACE OF EARTH, a big family saga set in the 1960s. Powerful, powerful book. For something shorter, I also liked his first novel, A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (49 of 72), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 01:08 PM This book, altho seriously flawed, did make me want to read more RP. I love his writing style and the way he handles language, and felt that the flaws in this book were more in plot than anything else. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (50 of 72), Read 41 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 03:59 PM Barb- Do be sure to read more RP, as this isn't anywhere near the quality of his others. For an engaging picture of a woman with grit, try "Roxanna Slade." I'd say he wrote with more heart in that one. Dale's advice is good, too, and those are on my list.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (51 of 72), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 04:45 PM The only two Price novels I've read are KATE VAIDEN and ROXANNA SLADE. I think I read somewhere that these are his only books with women as the main characters. Of the two, ROXANNA SLADE was the better, IMHO. Anne
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (52 of 72), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, April 20, 2001 09:39 PM Ruth, I agree with your assessment of this novel. I really liked the writing style. And thanks to Dale and Anne for recommending two other Price novels. Maybe, I shouldn't thank you because you will be adding to my monstrous TBR pile! (ggg) I have to say that KV really grabbed me from the beginning. This hold on my mind weakened a bit, but I still enjoyed the book. Here is a sentence that I love, from p. 4. Kate is talking about both Dan's and Frances's families. "Neither family had money but Dan's had a Ford, and soon he making that long trip to Frances on roads rough as gullies." Here is another from the same page. "It was January and cold as igloos." Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (53 of 72), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Saturday, April 21, 2001 08:13 AM Thank you for the recommendations, everyone. Maybe we can do one of those for the CR reading list next year (that would help the towering TBR dilemma for me). I'm very curious about Price's other writing too because there are things about Kate Vaiden that really grabbed me. I did think that he had this early loss thing nailed. There were points in the book when, at a very gut level, I knew exactly what Kate was feeling from my own experience. And, I think that my gut would have screamed out "FALSE!!", for that same reason, if he had got it wrong. I loved the language too. However, Jane's examples made me remember that many times the voice of that language was what didn't ring true for me. Sometimes, that was because of the gender issue, but, more often, (as I'm thinking about it now), I didn't think that a child or adolescent would have been saying it. This is solved in some places by the fact that Kate was telling it in her 50's, but in other places she was quoting herself as a child/teenager and it didn't work for me. Can you sense that I'm still working out how I feel about this book? Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (54 of 72), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, April 22, 2001 08:28 PM Barb, I don't agree about the language. If I were to quote myself as a teenager now, I am sure that I would use my current 54-year-old language. It is difficult to put yourself into your younger self. I realize that this is a novel, but Kate as a 57-year-old was there all of the time. Jane who is thinking that it is "cold as igloos" here today because it has been snowing all day. My poor tulips!
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (55 of 72), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, April 22, 2001 09:46 PM I know what you mean, Jane, and that's what I told myself. However, Kate is quoting herself as a teenager, saying things that she said and felt that just didn't ring true for me. It kept distracting me...but I know I probably reacted to it more than most people would. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (56 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 01:01 AM This is kinda funny. I read the first few notes in this thread and thought I'd wait until I'd read the book before reading them all. I just caught up today on the last two notes and they're saying pretty much the same thing as the ones I read before. (I have no idea what else you've talked about in the meantime.) I started the book tonight and I have to say that I'm not caring for it. It could be that having someone mention the language/gender issues had me more aware of them (but hey, I probably would have noticed on my own). I'm finding it tedious. Does it get better? I'm also finding it confusing. I kinda know what happened to her parents but talk about a meandering way to get there. I'm not sure if I'm going to have the patience to read it this time around. Are those expressions like 'cold as an igloo' Southern expressions or are they Price's way of writing. There are a ton of them 'cold as scissors', 'quiet as a rock'. Some were quite clever but they jumped out of the page and called attention to themselves which I found distracting. Bo
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (57 of 72), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 03:57 PM Bo- I'd recommend "Roxanna Slade" or "Promise of Rest." I also got tired of the repetitions. Kate never seemed to learn anything. Kate is an exister, not a survivor, and I find that boring.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (58 of 72), Read 41 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 10:24 PM I really have been repeating myself, haven't I, Bo? I get stuck on certain things that bother me about books and I gnaw on it like a dog with a bone sometimes. I only do it when there are elements of a book that I like, but others that drive me crazy. This was one of those times. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (59 of 72), Read 42 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 10:49 PM Barb, I know what you mean. Sometimes I have some strong reactions to books I read. I need to answer an email from a colleague about a book I reviewed. He's thinking of teaching it in a SF class because he thought it was so good. I really thought the thing had some serious flaws. Which, of course, might make it good teaching material. But not if he thinks it's wonderful! :) Ah well. Maybe I'll go back and read some of your notes. :) Kate's on her way to the next booksale for someone else to enjoy. (I may have voted for this book--it looked pretty good when I glanced over it at the library. Ah well. Maybe next month.) Bo
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (60 of 72), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 12:41 AM I think the 'cold as igloos' voice was Reynolds attempt to give Kate her own voice, to make us sense her as a tart, unconventional woman. It worked with me, at least in the beginning. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (61 of 72), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 09:24 AM I picked up a hardcover copy of KV at the Book Barn on Easter (along with 22 other books, both hardcover and paperbacks for a grand total of $92.22. I love that place!) The picture on the cover of mine is the dark background with the white horse, the woman next to the horse and the dog. I'm on about page 100, and I was trying to resist reading everyone's comments until I was done with the book, but I went ahead and read them anyway. I expected to like this book, but I'm not sure if I do or not. I don't know if I buy the things she does and doesn't understand. Gaston just left for the war at the point I'm at in the book and she's still in Macon. One thing that's driving me nuts in this book is the obvious foreshadowing. How many times do they have to make a point of telling me someone is going to die? Or that she's going to go live with Walter. I mean I read this whole thread and discovered very little that I didn't already know, which I think is kind of unusual for a book discussion around here! Karen
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (62 of 72), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 12:00 AM Karen, >>I mean I read this whole thread and discovered very little that I didn't already know, which I think is kind of unusual for a book discussion around here! LOL! That's true. I think it says a heck of a lot more about the book than us, though. ;) I think I was like many others that upon first glance thought this was going to be much better than it is. The repetitiveness and other style issues got in the way for me. Sometimes I can get past them if I think there's a reward. There didn't seem to be. Bo
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (63 of 72), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 06:21 AM I guess I didn't word that very well -- I did mean that comment as a reflection on the book, not on us! Okay, that's it for me. I'm tossing this one aside. I've read 125 pages, hoping there would be a reason for all this (plus I really want to improve my participation in the Reading List and CC discussions). It doesn't sound like it gets any better from here. I'm on to Dune Karen
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (64 of 72), Read 29 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 06:29 AM I just finished White Oleander and someone earlier in the thread mentioned the two books were similar. I agree, but I thought WO did a better job of showing change and growth in personality. Even though some of the situations seemed kind of outlandish, I liked the girl in WO and understood her much more than I did KV. Sherry
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (65 of 72), Read 31 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 07:20 AM I've been following your discussion. I read this book a number of years ago, but it didn't make much of an impression. I do recall that I never liked Kate and that her story never grabbed me. I felt I should like it better, if you know what I mean, since Reynolds Price wrote it, but that didn't happen. Ann
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (66 of 72), Read 31 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 10:42 AM Funny. I couldn't put this book down at first. I was immediately hooked. Hooked that is, until about 3/4 of the way through, when I realized I was getting a rerun after rerun. Then I finished it just to see how he was going to wind this all up. He didn't. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (67 of 72), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 08:18 PM Sherry, I am the person who mentioned WHITE OLEANDER. I like W.O. better, but I did like KATE VAIDEN as well. I must be the only one who had some sympathy for her. How does a person get over the murder-suicide of one's parents? Also, Caroline was a saint to take Kate in, but she was a bit cold to her. She needed a person to take a more active role in her life. Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (68 of 72), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 08:59 PM I had some sympathy for her, Jane. But she just puzzled me. I think Price may have been trying too hard to fit the character into what he wanted her to do, instead of have her do what would have been in character for a real woman of the times. But then, that book wasn't the book he wanted to write. Like Ruth, I thought she just kept repeating her experiences, and didn't grow or change. The point of books, to me, is see how a character grows. Otherwise, it's just too sad and hopeless. Sherry
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (69 of 72), Read 29 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, April 26, 2001 10:15 PM Kate seems a very fragile person. Even if Lee accepts her, do you think she would stick with him? It's possible he's her last and only chance for a real connection in life. Perhaps this is an example of a book where the author wrote the voice consciously, rather than let his character dictate the plot. Gurganus mentioned that books written with a particular plot in mind usually don't have soul touching characters. Perhaps Kate never met a man that was willing to fight her fear of commitment. She never met someone that took the time to convince her he would always be there for her. She demanded freedom and choice, and no one was there to offer another option. It would take a special man to do that, though. I wonder why this won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (70 of 72), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Friday, April 27, 2001 05:29 PM I agree with Sherry that I had a lot of sympathy for Kate. I couldn't really condemn her for any of it. And, I thought that Price had the results of early loss theme of the story pretty well nailed. I just didn't think that the character of Kate was believable in other ways. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (71 of 72), Read 19 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, April 27, 2001 06:01 PM Barb- Can you be more specific about the ways you didn't find Kate believable? I had empathy for her. My frustration came from the fact that she didn't seem to try take advantage of the love so many did feel for her. I know she was afraid to love in return. It's just that I think it's human nature to want to, and I didn't get that sense from Kate. Was I totally misreading her? She couldn't seem to put anyone ahead of her own needs - Lee in particular. I think maybe that's where Price's attempt to see what would have happened if his own mother had left went astray. Otherwise, I think he nailed the resulting lifelong trauma of losing her parents in such a violent way.
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (72 of 72), Read 19 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Friday, April 27, 2001 09:39 PM It appears that Kate runs away a lot. And some people think that is un-natural; she should have learned something in her fifty or so years. Maybe. But I would (or could) argue that there are people who spend there whole lives running. It is an ingrained(sp?) defense mechanism. Surely, you've met these types? The mousey little girl/woman who ALWAYS seems scared of her own shadow. The guy who runs from conflicts, both physical and verbal; maybe even psychological. I know people who have survived some bad things in life because they knew how to avoid confrontations. Likewise there are people who stand ready to do combat at the slightest provocation. Again, a survival mechanism, if you can pull it off. Running works for some and fighting works for the other. While the rest of us, pick and choose to fit the situation. If the guy is over six feet and 250 pounds, run. Or cry. Or use big words in the hope he can be embarrassed. But I don't think either, explains KATE VAIDEN. EDD
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (73 of 88), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, April 29, 2001 07:42 AM Kay, I wish I had time to look up some of the specific quotes, but I'm knee deep in schoolwork right now (playing hookey from it as I speak). So, I'm limited to generalities at the moment. I didn't believe her as a woman and as a child...covers just about everything, doesn't it? (-: If Price had been painting a picture of an adult southern male who had experienced intense, character-changing loss at an early age, I would have believed it wholeheartedly. However, I kept sensing Price, himself, talking through the voice of a woman and (when she was quoting herself at a young age) a child. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (74 of 88), Read 51 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, April 29, 2001 08:04 AM Barb, I can't help but wonder, if we had no idea that the author was a male, would we simply accept Kate as a bit out of kilter and surmise it was due to her early traumatic experiences, or would we be totally at a loss to see her with any sort of dimension, and confused as to why? Are we reading this gender thing into KV? (I know we have discussed other stories where a male author writes from a female pov and had no problem with it.) Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (75 of 88), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, April 30, 2001 08:59 PM I considered that, Beej, but I rarely think much about whether the author is the same gender or not. This older man just kept leaping into my consciousness while I was trying to listen to a young or aging woman. Barb
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (76 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, April 30, 2001 10:37 PM I haven't read this whole thread yet so forgive me if this has already been mentioned. What really bothered me was the young girl talking about how older women smelled. It didn't seem at ALL authentic to me. Bo
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (77 of 88), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 01:31 AM I think KATE VAIDEN gives solipsism a bad name. This is one self-centered woman. And amazingly, she gets people to go to great inconveniences for her. Here's how she puts it early in the book: "I saw that this awful bad luck had struck me." Wow! This, just after her parents had died. Either murder/suicide or murdered by Swift, a real nothing of a person. Not poor Dan. Not poor Frances; just "poor me." It's amazing how this woman goes through people, that's the part that seems a bit unbelievable, although I've known a person or two that seemed to have that touch. It all starts with Caroline and Holt. They seem to be keeping Kate out of plain old goodness, although there seemed to be other kin folks, who were never even asked. Now comes Fob; evidently the richest guy in town. Why is he interested in this young girl. And nobody comments when he takes her hunting. Why? It's not a girlie sport is it? But nobody comments or questions his motives. Caroline and Holt can't be that naive can they? But Fob gives her a horse. Our of the goodness of his heart? Otherwise he is a shrewd business man. But nobody seems smart when Kate is around. Gaston, I'm not sure of. Maybe he's the one love in her life. Amazingly they keep it a secret. Just as well, since she's so much younger. Although morals don't seem to be such a big deal in this area. A little incest here, a child molestation there, even old Dan using his penis for a banjo in front of his child. This may not be TOBACCO ROAD but it's darn close. On the most unbelievable pretext, Kate runs off to stay with Walter. Granted Walter is homosexual, and Kate should be safe, but still. Walter's room-mate and we assume lover, Lee turns out to be a switch hitter, and it appears that Kate will pay the price so many women have. But not Kate, she dumps the kid on dear "old" Caroline. And Caroline must be in her seventies. How practical. But why worry about the kid, when it's poor Kate that needs to be worried about. So she digs up an old school teacher and gets room, board and a high school diploma out of the deal. Can you imagine finding one of your old teachers, and moving in. Of course teachers have those great salaries. I didn't mention the blind guy and the improbable and illogical death of Lee. Lee didn't seem like a potential suicide to me. I bet the blind guy didn't shoot him. That leaves Kate. Maybe Lee was going to ruin her sweet set-up. And then we get to the point where Kate is going to need some attention. Does she turn to friends? Not on your life. She tries Noony, Caroline's maid. But Noony is the only person in this entire book to see through Kate. Noony refuses to help. But, even without Noony's help, Kate finally tracks down the son she abandoned forty years ago. And he'll probably be dumb enough to take care of her. And thinks it's his duty because KATE VAIDEN has been struck by awful luck. EDD
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (78 of 88), Read 24 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 07:05 AM Thanks for summing it all up, Edd. I tend to agree with you on every point. Gaston had to die, because the story wouldn't have worked for Price otherwise. The school teacher was the really unbelievable one to me. And why did the cab-driver give her undying love on first sight? A lot of people went to extraordinary lengths to help her, while she just kept up her litany of poor me. Sherry
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (79 of 88), Read 25 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 08:05 AM Edd, What a great post. You really summed it up quite well. I wondered about Fob too, but I really never considered the possibility that Kate murdered Lee. I thought he committed suicide. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (80 of 88), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 10:36 AM You nailed it, Eddster. Ruth “If you stare into the abyss, it will stare back at you." Nietzsche
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (81 of 88), Read 21 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 08:47 PM Edd, That was a very interesting post. I seem to be the only one who has some sympathy for Kate. Some of the scenes that you mentioned didn't seem so unbelievable to me, but I have already said all of that. I did enjoy seeing the book from your point of view. Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (82 of 88), Read 20 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 09:02 PM Jane, I have sympathy for Kate, too. I think she was a such a pathetic lost soul. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (83 of 88), Read 20 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 09:30 PM I had great sympathy for Kate at first. But she did nothing to help herself. She took and took and took. Some people make a career out of being victims. Ruth “If you stare into the abyss, it will stare back at you." Nietzsche
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (84 of 88), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 09:32 PM I just realized I tend to think of Kate as a 12 year old, but she's in her mid 50s as the book ends, isn't she? Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (85 of 88), Read 23 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 09:37 PM And still behaving like a 12 year old. Ruth “If you stare into the abyss, it will stare back at you." Nietzsche
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (86 of 88), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 09:46 PM You know, I don't think she ever really dealt with the trauma of her parents' death. Ever. I returned the book to the library, so I can't re-read about it, but it seems she really didn't have the reaction when it happened,that you would think she would. Something like this would have been incredibly traumatic. And damaging. Beej
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (87 of 88), Read 25 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 10:34 PM Absolutely damaging. But some people grow up and deal with their damaged pasts in an adult manner. Price didn't allow Kate to do this, I wonder why. Ruth “If you stare into the abyss, it will stare back at you." Nietzsche
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (88 of 88), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 04, 2001 05:35 AM Kate seemed distanced from others, even as a child. She even felt she was an outsider when her parents were alive. It's as if a critical element of her personality was missing from the start. K Reading: Bay of Angels - Anita Brookner Harm's Way - Stephen White Listening to: Lord Hornblower - C. S. Forester
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (89 of 89), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001 08:39 PM One reason that I like Kate is that she doesn't behave the way that we think that she should. There are people who never change or grow up, or if they do change it isn't always for the good. The murder suicide of one's parents when one is very young would have a stunting effect. I have a member of my family who never grew up, never progressed. It does happen in real life. Jane
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (90 of 92), Read 51 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Sunday, May 13, 2001 08:14 PM One of the things that struck me, was somewhere in the book, Kate talked about listening to the weather reports before traveling to Norfolk (or some place like that). Well, this just wasn't the case during WWII. The weather was treated as SECRET knowledge. The idea being that if the enemy knew the weather, then they would know when to bomb. One of the funnier, reported, incidents regarding the weather occurred during a baseball game in St Louis. The St Louis Browns' announcer was Dizzy Dean. After spending an hour or so, making up stories about the goings on down on the field, he finally told his listeners to, "stick their heads out the window if they wanted to know why the game was delayed. On another subject: some of the comments seem to imply that it is impossible for a mother to abandon her child. Or that it is totally un-natural. Isn't it possible that some people just don't have that imperative in their make-up? From Kate's actions, there is no indication of her being homosexual either. My guess is that homosexuals like children too. Except for the school teacher get-together, Kate seems straight. I have known several women who walked out on their family. It probably isn't fifty-fifty with men walking out though. But is that more economics than predilection? Granted, it does seem like a male thing; but with the new equality dogma, can't both sexes be walkers? EDD
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (91 of 92), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, May 13, 2001 10:12 PM What I find abnormal about Kate isn't that she walks out on her family and child,though I find that kind of behavior very hard to understand, whether the walker is male or female. I think she's missing a critical ability to make and maintain a caring relationship with others. She can't seem to connect to her aunt or uncles, nor can she stay close to female friends, or her lovers. For whatever reason this occurs, it's what makes Kate a cold person. She has normal sexual drives, but totally misses out on connecting to anyone emotionally - including herself. Even her recitation of her life is matter of fact and distanced, I think. She's lead a dead, though eventful, life. How very sad. K
Topic: Kate Vaiden - Reynolds Price (92 of 92), Read 50 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, May 14, 2001 12:30 AM Possibly the best thing that has happened to Kate, is that somewhere along the line, she learned about contraception. EDD

 
Reynolds Price


 

 
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