BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 8月 05, 2018 9:57 pm

Tashi: I think it would be hard for me to cry on the same theme. But it could be a chance to think if the books are better than the actors/actress performed in he drama.

When a thing is popular, does it mean it is good? I guess our answer probably would be NO. I read 瓊瑤 novels when I was in sixth grade, I think. I was a fan because I read almost all of her novels. Is she a good writer? I guess she won't win any serious literature prizes. And those stories hardly left any trace in our minds and the sensational fantasy doesn't help me in my soul searching.

But to be fair, I would give more credit to “The Nightingale”. The historical background, the details of ordinary people involved in some great cause (of saving lives) during the war are still quite thrilling. The context of this story is much deeper than pure fantasy.

That's exactly what I want to talk about. If 瓊瑤 wrote a romantic novel with a historical background, what would it be? Would it be a prized work or a failure?
To me, the Nightingale seems less a historical but more a romantic novel, though the "sensational" parts are not many.

Love has many kinds or many levels, parent to children, people to country, husband to wife, romantic and patriotic love, etc. I guess it's not necessary to be in historical context, but what level of love the author conveys and how he/she conveys matter.

I don't like 瓊瑤's artifacts neither novels nor dramas cause boring
On the other hand, I like 金庸's very much, I have most of his books

The causes of sacrifice, the calling of devotion, the pain of suffering especially mental side are challenges for most of writers. Those qualities set good novels apart from mediocre ones. In the similar historical background, I prefer "The Book Thief" over "The Nightingale".
@Stray Sabrina I guess the characters in 金庸's stories are quite vivid and compelling.
If it is done right, I am thinking the movie of "The Nightingale" will be popular. What do you think?

Sabrina: Yes,in my opinion, love for books is similar as salt for food, to add a little makes dishes more delicious, but if salt is hero , disgusting

They are making a movie from the Nightingale story? Good. I think it will be a great movie.
One thing that the novel does not impress me is that I could predict almost 90% of the plots when I was reading it. The writer is either lacking of imagination or targeting at certain readers.

Iris: "certain readers" means our "female readers"? Hmmm... a bit insult to our intelligence! :)
I don't dispute the arguments about the predictable plots. I did not have the urge to find out what would happen next while reading the novel.
I know there was a talk to make a movie, but I don't know the progress. Moviegoers are different from book readers; sometimes I feel moviegoers tend to like something more predictable and have less tolerance level about the ending. So this one may be appealing.
Iris Wu
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註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 8月 05, 2018 9:59 pm

For this question, I need to thank Stephen for bringing up a quote to my attention the other day. It was not for “The Nightingale”, but a quote in the previous book, Sapiens.

Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
The youth of Isabelle was reckless in a harmful way, but after she met Gaëtan and was involved in “The Nightingale” secret mission, can we use Nietzsche’s quote to describe her? How do we explain this quote using Isabelle as an example?
(First, the plain meaning of the quote?
And then, applying it to Isabelle?)

Yvonne: This is deep, Iris. Not easy to answer your questions but you are so great to connect the two books to let us think.

Iris: Thank you so much, Yvonne!
I know you feel for Isabelle and one reason may be because she found a why to live for? I think you admire that and maybe most of us do as well.

Hopefully after some study, you’ve found Nietzsche’s quotes are not all hard to comprehend. Some of them may still be within our grasp, such as this one: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Whoever has a why to live for can overcome any hardship, difficulties or challenges and find solutions to fight for his/her great cause. I thought the quote was beautifully written.

I am just wondering if the reverse is true: “People who cannot bear any hardship or challenges do not have a why to live for.”
That sounds terrible, doesn’t that? We complain everything about our lives, and it means we haven’t found a why to live for?

Rock: Exactly….

Kat: I love the point you've made, Iris! Another angle I can see the quote from: The hardship can sometimes be unjustly imposed, then it's time to question the whys.

Iris: That’s true, Kat! It’s a good angle to exam our lives. When people suffer unjustly, they can exam the whys they fight for, right?
Do you mind giving us some examples? I am sure you have seen all sorts of people and life styles, your observations would be a great reminder for our self-reflection. (I mean we all have our blind spots in life.)
Iris Wu
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文章: 631
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 8月 05, 2018 10:00 pm

The Nightingale Notes (Kat)
I haven’t finished the book, but love the writing and the premise: the life choices confronting us
more often than not demonstrate the humanity that we all possess. And that war renders all involved as
The quote is pretty straightforward: If you have a reason or cause to strive for, an imperative that
overrides all other concerns, that gives your very existence true meaning, then you will find a way – or
any means necessary – to bear it all and see to your goal.

We can derive all sorts of implications from this basic assertion, of course. Is perseverance the
ultimate testament to one’s steadfastness in their convictions? Or all’s fair in love and war, so anything
is justified, not just aggression and ruthlessness on one side, but also the inaction, acquiescence, or
even the aiding and abetting on the other?

The book is brilliant in giving us two sharply contrasting characters (and many other minor ones)
in their own survival of war. For my money, the harder it is for the readers to favor or judge a particular
character, the more successful the author is in portraying the reality of war. There are clearly evil deeds,
but their circumstances and the driving forces behind them challenge those who are not there – in the
middle of the war and facing the same impossible choices – to outright condemn them.
For those of us who are enjoying life in relative peace and prosperity, it’s increasingly urgent to
pay attention to the mass injustice faced by too many around the world – from actual war zones and
police states to the most affluent societies – of oppressive inequality, invisible segregation, bigotry
against the minority. People at the bottom are ignored and ridiculed, even blamed, for the plight they’re
in: They must not have done enough, we decide. They could fight if they really wanted to. They
deserve the state they’re in. We all have to try hard, don’t we? I have, so why haven’t they?
The most dangerous crisis we’re facing is perhaps not any singular injustice but a diminishing
sense of unity and connection with our fellow human beings. I use the word “urgent” because we are
indeed riding on the same Titanic. It may be true poetic justice that the whole world is tied together by
a shared fate. No one is safe from a dictatorship, a refugee status, a disaster manmade or natural. Many
have found their lives turned upside-down in just days or months, or by one single political event.
Sooner or later we’d all be there, facing life’s final question: should we fight to our death, or live
no better than a dead?
There. :) It’s a book about war so I simply went with the toughest questions. I was just in Berlin
talking to friends about their refugee integration, with all the challenges entailed. And to my Israeli
friends, about the Palestinian struggle. This book, I guess, in such a setting becomes more interesting to
me than just a good read. More sobering, and in a good way.
Iris Wu
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文章: 631
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 8月 05, 2018 10:03 pm

Iris: Thank you for the write-up, Kat!
To get through the comments and think all the questions you raised is a hard nut to crack! :)

First, I like the way you summarize the premise of the story. Staying put without awakening our basic humanity sometimes is even harder, especially in the war zone or wherever we simply cannot turn our eyes away from human sufferings.

Nietzsche’s quote is crystal clear, but, as you said, we can derive all sorts of implications from it. My previous question, “People who cannot bear any hardship or challenges do not have a why to live for.” was a logically contrapositive statement (if A then B  If Not B then Not A). No wonder Rock seems to agree with it.
It is easier to think perseverance is a virtue, a success factor in pursuing a goal, but in terms of philosophy of life, I am not sure if perseverance is the ultimate testament or everything is justified. Sometimes we believe in Buddhism’s teachings: not to be too perseverant (執著), realizing when we should let go or even surrender.

The comments about the book can be subjective. We can analyze and interpret certain messages that the author implies in the stories, but how good the author conveys these messages and how well he/she depicts the plots and characters can be received very differently. We respect all the comments and critics during the book reading process.

Finally, there is no doubt that the background of the novel and Kat’s personal experience with the current world events broaden and deepen our narrow and shallow view about the book and the story. Now we are entangled with the idea of being an ethical global citizen.

Iris, it's thanks to you that I picked up this book again (and got further into it this time!) :)
You asked the best questions. Good books lead to open-ended debates and even more questions with each reading. An awesome pick!

This book is good. The story is simple, but simplicity is a good thing. Sometimes people don't want things to be complicated.
Have you ladies seen an old movie 梅花? I like the character by 甄珍. The Chinese lady and Japanese officer's story in WWII is another version of love. The movie is for patriotic purpose, not good in today's standard, too.
Another movie "Malena" starred by Monica Bellucci is another version of women's struggle in war.

Yeah, sometimes it's hard to understand why some simple stories made into popular films, such as Malena. Tthe director and screen writers must have done a great job.
Most people do not want to face or be reminded directly about the ugly reality of war, but it is fertile soil to nurture many love stories.

Joseph: Usher checked my ID 20 years ago when I watched Malena.
Rock: He should. You were only 8 at that time, remember?
Joseph: 17
Michael: it is really funny and silly I came up with such a 無厘頭 question. So, Joseph, were you allowed to get in? The movie was R-rated or PG-13?
Joseph: R rated. Yes I was able to get in.

Rock: @Iris Wu, yes, the plots of Malena is simple, but I like its originality and thought provoking story.
I also wonder if Vianne and Beck had a different story, would things be more interesting?

Iris: @Rock Chang I forgot if I’ve seen Malena. I probably should watch it (again) before I question it, but the story was just... so plain! I wonder what thoughts were provoked by the movie?
Some novels/movies were intended to move readers/audiences more deeply than it actually could.
Captain Beck, more or less we were troubled by this character, another kind of tragedy in the war. I bet most readers don’t dislike him or even think he is a pretty decent Nazi soldier.
I thought it would be nicer if Julien were Beck’s son, but then we would probably lose respect for Beck and Vianne... so I don’t know how the story should have developed to be more interesting? :)

I also need to watch Malena again to talk about it more. Just like Joseph said, it's been 20 years. Wow! Time flies.
Having an illegitimate son is unacceptable and condamnable. That's easy. But, how about, if Beck was single, sincerely helpful, happened to be really vulnerably lonely, and Vianne happened to fall for him?
And they only had a one night…
Would you condamn Vianne for being disloyal and not patriotic, or even a traitor?
Bonus plot, and the news said that her husband was already died in the frontline…
Iris Wu
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文章: 631
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 8月 05, 2018 10:04 pm

@Rock Chang You are very romantic, probably even more so than 瓊瑤! (hahaha)
I am not always logical or my ethical rules are not always so black and white. Your version of Vianne and Beck sounds like The Bridges of Madison County?
Sometimes a good secret, a romantic one could be well kept. Above all, we are just human!

Rock: How about if the secret were leaked, would they be treated like Malena? Would her husband understand it like the story in the Nightingale?

I am thinking even Beck and Vianne did not really have an affair, gossip was still floating around. People tend to be judgmental and harsh, especially towards those who seem to live a perfect life.

I am not sure your last question is about Vianne or Malena, but judging from both stories, the two husbands were, or act like real men. They trusted the heart and the love of their wives. What was actually in their minds? I guess that’s guy’s thing. I don’t pretend I understand that and maybe the author of The Nightingale doesn’t seem to understand it either, because the whole book did not express much from Antoine’s (Vianne’s husband) point of views, right?

At the end, I would like to quote a few sentences about love from “The Road Less Traveled”:
    “Love Is Not a Feeling.”
    “The feeling of love is the emotion that accompanies the experience of cathecting.”
    “Once cathected, the object, commonly referred to as a ‘love object,’ is invested with our energy as if it were a part of ourselves, and this relationship between us and the invested object s called a cathexis.”
    “Our cathexes may be fleeting and momentary. We may decathect something almost as soon as we have cathected it. Genuine love, on the other hand, implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom.”
Iris Wu
YOYO member
文章: 631
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm


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