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The Tie That Binds
by Kent Haruf


Book Description
Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving as the winter prairie itself.
      In his critically acclaimed first novel, Kent Haruf delivers the sweeping tale of a woman of the American High Plains, as told by her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe. As Roscoe shares what he knows, Edith's tragedies unfold: a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged. Here is the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of family--and then, in one gesture, reclaims her freedom. Breathtaking, determinedly truthful, The Tie That Binds is a powerfully eloquent tribute to the arduous demands of rural America, and of the tenacity of the human spirit.

From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Saturday, November 15, 2003 09:13 AM In The Tie That Binds Roscoe Sanders tells his version of the story of Edith Goodnough, an old woman who has lived through more hardness in her life than most people could endure. Her father homesteaded a sandy unforgiving part of Colorado in the high plains. Her mother died young (but feeling old) dreaming of green green Iowa. Her father treats her and her brother as slave laborers without an ounce of compassion. The iron will of Edith’s father paired with his fury at life form one of the least likeable portraits of anyone I’ve encountered in literature. I would doubt that such people could exist, except that I’ve known some almost as bad. Edith is beautiful and smart, but does not have the ability to be callous, even though that’s the only example she’s ever had. She stays with her father when she could have easily left to marry someone she really loves. He would not survive without her because of a devastating injury to his hands (that his own meanness caused). What do you all think about the kind of selflessness Edith personifies? Was her sacrifice really necessary? I think one of the more interesting parts of the books is trying to figure out what it is that Roscoe feels for Edith. He obviously has a whole mix of feelings for her. Do you think the ending is realistic? Sherry
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, November 15, 2003 12:57 PM Ack, I think I forgot to reread, is what I think. Back later. R
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, November 15, 2003 11:55 PM Okay, I've spent the afternoon on the couch, and I'm halfway thru my reread. I'd forgotten how much I liked this book. Haruf has a beautiful writing style. Sanders Roscoe's voice is just perfect. R
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Sunday, November 16, 2003 08:02 AM I agree about his voice, Ruth. I don't hear the author at all, just this man telling us a story at his own pace. Sherry
From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Sunday, November 16, 2003 09:20 PM THE TIE THAT BINDS took me right in. Now I’ll have to read PLAINSONG. I was amazed by Eastern Colorado when Peter and I first drove across it. Such unexpected flatness and expanse. I can see how Ada Goodnough would long for Iowa. And yet I can see how Sanders Roscoe would love it, too. An extreme landscape could certainly yield extreme characters, and the Goodnoughs were plenty extreme. SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT Do you think Edith Goodnough would be found not guilty if she went to trial? I hope so. The title suggests to me the relationships in the Goodnough family. Binding ties could apply to all the characters in Holt, but especially to Edith, Roy and Lyman. The novel could also be called Of Human Bondage. As outrageous as they were, I found the Goodnough relationships to be believable. I suppose the central tragic choice was Edith’s refusal to marry John Roscoe. It was a noble, disastrous choice. It would have been a blow for Roy to lose his daughter, but had she married she would be nearby and surely John and Edith would have seen to it that Roy was okay. Roy was indulged far too long but, then again, it was understandable to me. The Goodnough’s isolation made Roy an overwhelming force. How could Edith and Lyman ascertain the point at which his authority should be challenged? They had so few external points of reference. Roy was all they had known. Obligation, loyalty and survival were stacked against resisting the abuse. I knew someone like Roy, but not as extreme. He was just so filled with frustration that he didn’t realize the terror he caused. Enough rambling. Another really good CR reading list selection. Robt
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, November 16, 2003 11:30 PM Great rambling, Robt. This was a great read. These people were such real individuals, with all their quirks and foibles. Does anybody think, tho, that Ray was just a little too much of a Johnny-One-Note? R
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 07:21 AM You mean Roy, Ruth? I know what you mean, but there are people who are johnny-one-notes. It would have been a little more understandable why Edith stayed if we had seen any good side to him at all. I doubt there was a whole good side, maybe a good flicker now and then, but Haruf sure didn't show any to the reader. I'd like to think that any judge would have thrown out the case against Edith. There could be any number of reasons to tie up a dog and to put out a lot of chicken feed for the chickens. My question was why Edith would do away with herself (and in such a gruesome way, too---there have to be easier suicide methods). But then I answered my own question. Her whole life was taking care of those two men in her life, and she just couldn't imagine murdering one outright. But she could arrange an "accident" that would take away all her troubles. What do you all think Roscoe felt for her? Sherry
From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 09:43 AM This was my nomination and I've been really looking forward to this discussion. I'm finally done with 'Our Mutual Friend,' and though I've read TTTB twice before, I want to read it again before I join the discussion. I loved Plainsong, but this is the Haruf book that grabbed me the most. What most intrigues me, and continuously brings me back to this book, is the telling of how ingrained certain family ties are in all of us, to where we will sacrifice what is good and right for us, rather than violate those ties. Beej
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 01:43 PM I just finished the book, and am afraid I'm going to add a discordant note to this discussion. I didn't like it. Spending time with Roy was nearly more than I could endure -- such pure meanness, for no apparent reason. But reading about Edith was worse, in a way. I found her too much of a one-note, too. Some sick ideal of feminine selflessness, a self-made martyr who made at least one other person's life miserable as a consequence. It made me very uncomfortable with the author, or at least with his narrator, who seemed to think of Edith as the perfect woman. Yuck. SPOILERS!! Sandy Roscoe reminded me very much of the narrator of Stegners' "All the Little Live Things." The matter-of-fact voice, the sureness that his way of seeing things is the only possible way. (His attacking the fire department guys--I could see the ALLT narrator joining right in.) When I reached the section in which Sandy is helping Edith set up beds downstairs, revealing their sleeping arrangements, I thought, if this had been part of a Southern novel, we'd take it as yet another Goodnough dysfunction. But in this context, Sandy clearly wants us to think that whatever Edith does is just fine. Does geography make for righteousness? I am still puzzling over a lot in this book. Mary Ellen
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 02:57 PM Yes, in some ways Edith was as sick and determined as Roy, but I still couldn't help finding her a great deal more likeable. And I see how you connected Sanders to Joe Alston (?). They did have something in common, I think. Nobody's answered Sherry's question about Sander's feelings for Edith. It was a strange relationship, wasn't it? I'm guessing that because evidently his relationship with his mother was sour (for what reason?), he needed a mother substitute and she was what was available. Plus he must have picked up on his father's attitude toward Edith long before being told. But then what to make of that scene on the couch? Was he trying to be his father? To one-up his father? R
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 05:52 PM Ruth, I agree that Edith was much more likeable than Roy! But I found her character rather thinly drawn, as I did Roy's. Maybe that is part of her tragedy: no one really knew her; she gave up her chance to be with the one person with whom she might have had a full, adult relationship. I agree that the relationship between Sandy and Edith (from Sandy's side, anyway) was very complicated. And like you, Ruth, I was stumped by his uncomplicated disdain for his mother. I always wonder whether the narrator is speaking for the author, how much the author wants us to agree with the narrator. In this book I wonder whether the author intends us to accept Sandy's assessments of folks. Mary Ellen
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Monday, November 17, 2003 11:51 PM Ok, I'm going to weigh in here, just as soon as I finish what I thought was going to be a reread, but now I can't remember reading this. Perhaps I just started it--I did read Plainsong and loved it. At any rate, I'm almost done (will probably finish tonight) & want to wait to read all your notes until I've finished. I'll be back! Sarah, this nomination being short enough that she can actually finish it AND write about it
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 07:42 AM I sensed that Sandy knew his mother was a poor fit for his father. She was so churchy and worried about clothes and what people thought. Sandy knew the story of Edith and his father and thought she should have been his real mother. He also identified with his father's love of Edith, and so he loved her a little bit too. I think he was standing in for his father on that couch, not competing. He loved the idea of Edith as well as the real Edith. There was a lot of longing for what should have been. What did you all think of Lyman's journeys? Were you surprised when he came back? Sherry
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 04:02 PM I finished this last night. To Mary Ann's comment about Edith's character being thinly drawn--I agree, and was wondering about it before I read the post. I think it comes out of two things: 1st, Haruf doesn't seem to offer much in terms of understanding where people are coming from for any of his characters. I admit this is coming from who I am as a professional, but I usually feel that who we are is an amalgam of our experiences, relationships, and inborn temperament, as well as the cultural milieu we live in...Haruf only offers us the bare minimum, and we are left to speculate. Not that I mind--it makes for interesting thoughts--but he definitely doesn't lay it out for you. Second, Edith made her life out of working for and through others, so it stands to reason that we should see little of her "self." She made very few (if any) attempts to nurture or create that self, and her voice is heard seldom in these pages. If I go along those lines, though, something doesn't ring true to me. In my experience, people who do this (bury themselves in others) almost always have plenty of feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, etc at the life they have given up. Even if these feelings are buried, they come out in some manner. Edith was written from such a positive light that I didn't see any of that, unless you want to call the fire-setting at the end the culmination of those feelings. But that felt mainly bone-tired, to me. I liked this book, as I like Haruf's voice, but the characters were not as well-rounded as I remember those in Plainsong being. Sarah
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 04:03 PM Sorry, going too fast and not checking...Mary ELLEN, not Mary Ann. Sorry! I haven't "met" you yet, so I apologize for getting your name wrong. Sarah
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 02:16 PM Sarah-- Not a problem! Hard to keep all the names straight. Beej -- I felt it hard to be surprised that Lyman came back, because Haruf kept telling you that he would, because Edith knew he would. Given how he spent his time away, I felt that he was biding his time until he was SURE his father would be dead! I got the impression all along that he did not have it in him to make much of his life, and so he'd need someone (poor Edith!) to be his mainstay eventually. Several people have mentioned Plainsong, which I had in mind to read until I read this book! Do others agree that the characters are more fully drawn in Plainsong? I found these characters a bit flat, and the plot not compelling enough to compensate for that. Mary Ellen
From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 02:29 PM Mary Ellen: I found nothing flat about the characters in PLAINSONG, which is one of the most satisfying novels I've read in recent years. The two bachelor farmers who take in the young unwed mother were an absolute hoot, about as real as fictional characters come. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 03:30 PM I've been mulling on the comments on Edith's personality, or lack thereof. I hadn't noticed it at first, but now that it's been pointed out, I do, and I'm wondering if she had not much depth because her own personality was so subsumed by first Ray (Roy?) and then Lyman. Another thing that could "flatten" her would be that we saw her thru Sanders eyes, and he certainly idealized her. R
From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Thursday, November 20, 2003 02:21 PM Wow. This one's not exactly a recruitment tool for the small-family-farm lifestyle, is it? I'm only partway through, but Roy has the fewest redeeming qualities of any bad guy I've seen in a while. Something tells me there'll be a comeuppance in the end. The farm equipment accident, I thought, was some very potent writing, grim and vivid without being melodramatic. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Friday, November 21, 2003 05:53 PM I am a big Haruf fan and read this a few years ago so a re-read is in order as I have forgotten many details. But I wanted to weigh in on Plainsong. One of my favorite books--the characters seemed quite real to me despite Haruf's minimalist style. I think that speaks for his talent. Nancy
From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, November 21, 2003 11:08 PM I'm not done yet, either, but since it's a re-read for me, it's all coming back. I think I'm reading a different book than some of you! The characters are as well rounded as they can be coming from a third person narrator. Edith was a farm girl in the 1920's. As Haruf tells us..or rather, Sanders.. she was stuck..not like an old shoe in deep mud that can be eventually pulled out. She's neck deep in the mire. It's not easy to have a well rounded personality when you spend twice a day taking the chance of being slapped in the face by a milk cow's afterbirth..(Man alive, that was about as descriptive as it gets, wasn't it?) Maybe Haruf would have done better had he not opted for the third party narrative, but allowed us to hear all the Goodnoughs' thoughts as they went thru their lives on that farm. But that might have given a dimension to the characters that would have defeated the idea of their learned helplessness. I think too, it would have been a terribly hard book to take, if we knew their thoughts and felt their emotions. As it was written, all we could do is feel incredibly sorry for them. Beej
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Saturday, November 22, 2003 08:34 AM I agree with you, Beej. I had no trouble at all with their "roundedness" or lack of. I loved hearing the story from Sandy. Sherry
From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Saturday, November 22, 2003 10:50 AM Sanders Roscoe was the flawed but essentially decent fruit of this hard ass Eastern Colorado landscape. I wouldn’t expect him to have the psychological language to explain Edith Goodnough beyond his observations and love. He could never give a capsule explanation for Edith’s desperate act to the sound byte mentality of a novice reporter and his reading public. However, he could make Edith’s inexplicable act understandable to me through his story, and that took another kind of wisdom. The tall order of the novel was to make an accused murderer—caught red handed—sympathetic, which Haruf did for me. It makes sense that Edith beamed her love on Sanders throughout his life, because she loved his father. Sanders would then naturally experience Edith’s best qualities. It is plausible to me that her resentments would be sequestered from him; most of her feelings and life were, after all, sequestered from anyone beyond her family. Her family was her life. Edith’s identity was inseparable from her father and brother. That is why for her brother to die, then she and the whole house had to go with him. Their bond was total. I found the characters fully alive and memorable. Robt
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, November 22, 2003 09:10 PM Upon more thought, I think Beej is onto something. This was told in the third person, by someone outside the main story. And this person (Sanders) did not have the insight or the vocabulary to make Edith's motives any clearer than he did. If we were to see all the ins and outs of Edith we would need to have read the story from her POV instead of Sanders. I think. R
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Sunday, November 23, 2003 07:19 AM It would be a much different book if told from Edith's POV. And I'm sure Haruf could have done it if he had wanted to. Having Sandy tell it gave us a kind of remove that was necessary, for my enjoyment of the book, anyway. (I think someone already mentioned that point). I think letting Sandy tell the story gave it more layers and more mystery. Sherry
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Sunday, November 23, 2003 10:32 AM I went back and reread my comments about the characters, as it seems to have touched off this debate...my main point was not so much a criticism of the book but more an expression of my own curiousity about Edith's "other side," her own struggles with the oppressive (and that is NOT meant as a gender/political word) nature of her external world. The main portion of my comments touched on my own interest in learning more about her & what drove her to make the decisions she did. I agree that Haruf, writing as Sandy, would not have access to that part of Edith, and given his feelings toward her which are influenced by his relationship with his father, would not have even been able to speculate about them. I also agree that Haruf would definitely be able to draw a more complete (in the obvious way) portrait of Edith had he written the story from her point of view or from a narrator's point of view. He is a stellar writer. I hope that makes MY point of view clearer! Again, I think it's my profession combined with my innate curiousity that doesn't let me leave that stuff alone. In general, my reaction to the book was more like that of those writers who have written novels from another character's point of view--I'm thinking of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde's female assistant/servant (or whatever she was)...there have been some other novel-after-another-novels, but I don't remember them now. I feel like this last paragraph is not very clear but I haven't had all my coffee yet this morning! Let me close by saying that I really liked this book, Haruf's writing, and the characters. I had to clarify my position for posterity. Sarah
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Sunday, November 23, 2003 10:33 AM And I really do know how to spell "curiosity," regardless of the fact that I typed it incorrectly TWICE in the last post. :) Sarah
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Sunday, November 23, 2003 09:49 PM I think I am the "odd person out" here, in my view of the characters. My problem is not that Edith does not have a "well-rounded personality," but that I didn't get much sense of her personality at all. That the narrator would not have had access to the depths of her personality is an explanation, but not an excuse. After all, the author chose the type of narration. So I guess I'll agree to disagree on this! Did anyone have any thoughts on the narrative section about Sandy's years of dissolute living as a threesome? I was a bit puzzled as to why this was in the book, since it was supposed to be the story of how Edith got where she got (in the hospital, about to be arrested). In such a short novel, I'm sure this section had a purpose. Mary Ellen
From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Monday, November 24, 2003 03:30 PM Mary Ellen: I wondered, too, about the Twyla threesome...a compelling sub-plot, but how did it fit into the whole? Maybe it was a counter-weight to the choking sort of family ties we see elsewhere in the book...i.e., there's a 50/50 chance that Sandy has a child somewhere whom he'll never see or know. No ties, no bind. Just a thought. I need to mull on this some more. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, November 24, 2003 07:11 PM I thought it might have been an effort to give Sanders some flaws. R
From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 11:44 AM I also thought it was a way show Sanders' flaws. Robt
From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 11:37 PM I just finished TIES last night, and am still letting it sink in. One of my main impressions is that, like Sarah, I wanted to know a lot more about Edith. Something about the narrative faintly reminds me of "A Rose for Miss Emily," and it strikes me that while Faulkner chose an anonymous bystander of a narrator to tell a story of disappointment and isolation, Haruf uses a character that's at the center of it all. In fact, though Edith's tragedy is what frames the story, for me it's Sandy, not Edith, who's the central character. That fire scene and his reaction to it was very real for me, and under the circumstances a part of me would be inclined to handle it like he did. He both idealizes Edith and loves her realistically, and that's a potent combination. SPOILER I can't picture a rational jury convicting Edith of murder. It was an attempted mercy killing and suicide that didn't work out, and it's a frequent desperate choice for married couples when one partner is in decline and the other is unable to do the caregiving that's needed. I suspect that Edith was clinically depressed, and in her state of mind the drastic solution of wiping the whole place and its horrific memories off the face of the earth made a lot of sense. PLAINSONG is still my favorite Haruf, but TIES is shot through with images that are like grabbing a naked electrical wire, and that's quite an achievement. The book also stirred some deep dysfunctional-family memories in me. My late dad wasn't quite in Roy's league when it came to cruelty, but he was a Jekyll-Hyde...a tyrant with his family, and a charming teddy bear in public. To this day, many of his friends believe that we mistreated him, and that's a hard pill to swallow and move on. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Thursday, November 27, 2003 09:01 AM I have the same feeling about my grand-father, Dale. He was charming as hell to outsiders, and while he was bed-ridden with arthritis, he held court in the den where his bed was set up. But with his family he was brusque and cruel a lot of the time. His cruelty wore off as he got old, because there wasn't too much he could do to you from bed, but he would have been jailed in today's world for the way he treated his children. Sherry
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Thursday, November 27, 2003 11:35 PM Dale, I'm with you, seeing Sanders as the main character. He really doesn't make too many guesses about Edith, and I'm thinking that is probably dead on based on who he is. Think about his parents--his mother focuses on the superficial about people, burying herself in her church teas and clothes. His father is reserved (at the least) and not very forthcoming about Edith. Certainly the time and place Sanders occupies wouldn't tend to create a man who spent much time and energy analyzing anyone else's character, so Edith would necessarily be more two-dimensional, as Sandy sees her. It didn't make me dislike the book, but I sure was curious. Sarah
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Monday, December 01, 2003 01:18 PM Dale, I agree that Edith would likely be acquitted. The suicide aspect (and as someone said, a pretty horrid suicide method) would make her pretty sympathetic. I had to keep reminding myself as I read that Sandy is probably a middle-aged man. His voice sounded older to me, although I don't know why (and returned the book to the library, so I can't go back to figure it out!) The point that this is Sandy's story, not Edith's, is interesting. So much of the book narrates events that happened long before Sandy was born. But do we need all that to know why he acted as he did when he came upon the fire? As I read, I figured it was all going to answer the question, Why did Edith kill her brother? But that is a pretty easy one, and as Dale notes, we have lots of examples of such actions. Maybe the real question is, Why did Sandy try to keep the firemen from rescuing Edith? (My question: why the eager-beaver sheriff isn't trying to come up with charges against Sandy?) Mary Ellen
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, December 01, 2003 01:33 PM I, too, wondered why Sandy wasn't immediately arrested for interfering with the fireman. As to why he did it, perhaps because Edith was so important to him, he was selfish enough not to want to let her go. R
From: Mary Anne Papale papcons@earthlink.net Date: Monday, December 01, 2003 09:48 PM I have loved reading all of these posts. I keep coming back in my mind to the point that Sanders tells the story as a way of setting the record straight. Edith is recovering, and things might have worked themselves out quietly. But the Denver news hounds were snooping around and stirring things up, so the sherrif isn't about to show Edith any mercy. As you have noted, Haruf is a marvelous writer. Dale mentioned the farm accident, Beej pointed to the graphic afterbirth section. I keep thinking of Edith receiving those lousy postcards, so few and far between. She treasures them and hangs them around the room to track Lyman's travels over the years. Then there's that great travel game played years later by Lyman and Sanders' daughter. The very concept of Edith and Lyman being "stuck" on the farm was drawn so perfectly. These images, along with many others, are seared into my memory. Also, I've known many women who choose to live their life through others. This can manifest itself in many ways, but I had no trouble believing that someone like Edith would make the choices that she made. That is the mode she was stuck in. What wonderful writing. MAP
From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 07:36 PM I just finished reading this one in 24 hours, home with my sick son. When I put it down, I thought of gail singer gross's old phrase, this one is a life interrupter. I liked it even more than Plainsong. My father was an old-fashioned large animal veterinarian in Indiana and both my parents grew up in farm families in Nebraska. These farm scenes are so accurate that I can almost smell the smells. I grew up helping my friends on farms milk their cows in the morning before school when I did overnights and that cow milking description was perfect, no romance there. Haruf/Sanders spends a lot of time making it clear how isolated these people were. There was absolutely nothing, beyond a few years in school, that got Lyman and Edith away from their father. There is nothing in our current daily experience that would help us understand it. The one situation that I could relate it to was what is popularly called "brainwashing", when one individual is cut off from anyone who could provide a consistent opposing viewpoint. The situation in the Patty Hearst kidnapping comes to mind. I felt like Lyman came back because he had been so damaged emotionally that, once he realized that he was really and truly safe from his father, he couldn't manage by himself. There was a hint early in the book that Lyman and Edith had some sexual encounters as kids. There was a description of them sleeping under the same cover, winding around each other to keep warm and playing the games that kids play or something like that. I don't think Sanders judged them at all when he considered the deprivation that they both suffered. I don't either. That also provides another explanation of why Lyman returned possibly. I also believed Roy and I am usually critical of what I take to be two-dimensional villains. The kind of poverty that he grew up in and experienced as an adult does that to some people. My dad came from that kind of poor as dirt family and I could see it in them. However, for those of you who didn't see this book as positively as me, please don't apologize! One of the best things about this board is the range of opinions and tastes. Barb
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 10:12 PM Thanks for that insightful note, Barb. This is a world that is so far away from any of my or my family's experience, that it can hardly be imagined. It's good to have your corroboration. Ruth
From: Sarah Hart norp-hart@msn.com Date: Sunday, December 07, 2003 09:55 PM Barb, Your comment about Lyman being unable to manage without his father made me think--it reminded me of people who are damaged in childhood, go out to become great, independent, healthy people, and then come home & fall apart. There's something about returning home that brings out old patterns, no matter how hard we try, or how well we have succeeded in interrupting them away from home. That insight made me understand Lyman a little more. Thanks! sarah
From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, December 08, 2003 07:20 AM That's interesting, Sarah. I actually hadn't thought of it in that way. I saw him on this odyssey of escape from his father. But, then when he was sure that his father was dead, he realized that he actually had nothing. Barb

 
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