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Visible Empire


An epic novel—based on true events—of love, grief, race, and wealth.
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Discuss Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard:
What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

Created: 08/07/19

Replies: 20

Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1946

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What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 36

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

Candidly, I did not like those short chapters and found them more intrusive than useful to the narrative. I understand LuLu's desire to pull the covers over her head and ignore al the sorrow, but her husband's position does not allow that, so that puts the two of them at odds. I am still struggling with the reason for those chapters, so I will give it more thought!


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 192

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I also wondered why these chapters were included so will like to hear from others that thought they were important to the book.


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teacher reader

Join Date: 02/14/18

Posts: 29

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I think these short chapters were an interesting way to represent the "official reaction" to the tragedy. I did wonder how accurately they depicted the mayor's wife. I did not find them distracting at all; I thought they were useful to remind the reader of the milieu in which the other fictional events were happening.


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 47

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I did not really understand these chapters. I suppose "teacher reader's" idea that they represented the "official reaction" to the tragedy is a reasonable one, but this did not really occur to me as I was reading the book.


Posted Aug. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LisaBB

Join Date: 05/12/19

Posts: 6

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

Teacher reader brings up an interesting point, because it never occurred to me to wonder if this was an entirely imagined version of the mayor's wife or something based in reality. I thought these chapters served in part as (dark) comic relief, just because Lulu's behavior was so absurd at times. Their dialogue was like an Abbott and Costello routine. Later, though, when Ivan broke down during one of these chapters and finally expressed his real feelings of grief, I was relieved to see a crack in the facade. It was kind of an interesting window into a marriage, seeing how these two characters supported each other.


Posted Aug. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 17

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I agree that teacher reader brought up a good point about the inclusion of these chapters. While I was reading the book I found them to be intrusive. In fact, I was always disappointed to see a chapter with those two and was relieved to know they would only be a couple of pages long!


Posted Aug. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 157

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

My first reaction was to judge Lulu harshly for not grieving the way I THOUGHT she should (or should not) be grieving. I reconsidered my feelings (a little bit) when I reflected on a recent BookBrowse discussion that helped me see the danger in judging others without taking the time to know them or their life experiences. We all grieve in different ways. Lulu was unable to function. Raif could not afford to grieve because he had children to raise alone. Piedmont ran away. Ivan stayed busy. Robert got drunk. Coleman celebrated.

I think Lulu's overreaction (see, I'm still pretty much judging her) to an event that only affected her a little bit (she lost no children, spouse, parents, siblings in the crash) served to COMPARE and CONTRAST white and black Atlanta at this time. Piedmont's roommate, Michael said, "We have losses. Every day. Every single day we suffer losses. But no one talks about those." While Lulu was lying in bed in utter shock and disbelief and neglecting her responsibilities, African Americans were terrified about losing their lives just driving down the road or walking into a hospital. And they didn't have the luxury of lying around wallowing in their grief. They were angry that 120 wealthy people were being grieved while not one black man was. Lulu was completely oblivious to the loss and subsequent grief of large percentage of Atlanta's population.


Posted Aug. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AmberH

Join Date: 05/09/18

Posts: 30

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I felt like Ivan and Lulu's chapters brought me away from the main characters of the book. Ivan and Lulu provide a glimpse of what life was like in Atlanta during the time after the crash, but without the view from the other story of Robert, Lily, Piedmont, Coleman, etc. It felt like a wake up call - "hey, Atlanta is still struggling over the crash without the drama of these others folks too." I like how this flowed with the feeling of the rest of the book.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 61

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

As many others have indicated, I thought these short chapters interrupted the flow of the book and in a way reminded the reader that this was all a made up story around a true tragedy.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rosieglitter

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 40

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I did not like these chapters at all and found them annoying. I don't see that they added any value to the story.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 163

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

My impression is that these two characters represent the stereotypes of the time and place. The strong, emotionless, public servant and the southern belle, helpless, emotional wife. The last chapter broke the mold and showed their truth.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 157

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

The short chapters were annoying and didn’t really provide continuity for the main storyline.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
colleena

Join Date: 07/18/18

Posts: 20

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

The author may have included them as a break from the other characters who're more closely affected by the tragedy, but I found them annoying. Mayor Ivan Allen did have the responsibility to "keep it together" whereas his wife reacted by staying in a state of shock rendering her unable to cope with daily activities.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
xandrabk

Join Date: 04/16/19

Posts: 13

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I did not find the chapters distracting or intrusive. I thought it was symbolism of their relationship - it was as if he was trying not to be emotional or spend much time on emotions but she was emotional and was trying to slip her feelings in.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 235

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RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I did like the chapters about Ivan and Lulu. We didn't get an in-depth character depiction, but I found their relationship interesting. He was forced to put up a front of strength and she could barely function though her grief. I was sometimes annoyed by how he treated her and expected her to behave. In the end, there was relief for his character when he could finally drop the charade of strength and openly grieve.


Posted Aug. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dottys

Join Date: 09/30/17

Posts: 12

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I thought they added to the overall description of their relationship. I wasn’t bothered by them.


Posted Aug. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 17

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I saw them as just another perspective of the event. They seemed out of place among the other chapters somehow; likely because the couple were not fictional but real people.


Posted Aug. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 21

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I kind of thought these characters were ridiculous... I found Lulu to be almost goofy acting... and I thought their reactions were unrealistic. At the very end when the mayor was breaking down, I wasn’t sure if he was having a heart attack or just grieving. I didn’t think these excerpts added anything to the story line.


Posted Aug. 24, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
wendyf

Join Date: 05/11/11

Posts: 27

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I thought these chapters were distracting from the rest of the story.


Posted Sep. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
SKB

Join Date: 10/28/18

Posts: 3

RE: What do you suppose was the author's intention in including the short chapters featuring dialogue between Ivan and Lulu? What did you think of these chapters?

I found the chapters a different take on grieving. You had Lily on one side moving forward with life and facing the new reality and then Lulu who wanted to hide from the new reality.


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