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This Must Be the Place
An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and...
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Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Created: 07/20/16

Replies: 26

Posted Jul. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Several chapters are told from the perspective of minor characters, such as Lenny and Maeve. Do you think this adds to your understanding of the characters, and if so, how?


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 36

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I did think that these chapters were helpful. They helped me have a better understanding of Daniel. I thought that Daniel had a disconnect regarding knowing himself. When the book started off in his voice I had a picture of him that was constantly changed as others talked about him.


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sarap

Join Date: 03/16/15

Posts: 8

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I really think so because a person has a personal perspective and only has hints about how others see you. The minor characters give the reader a more complete picture of the main character by sharing their perspective which is often different from what the main character thinks he is doing or saying. I thought the children's perspective was enlightening, because they don't have a bias beyond that of love of the parent, and they see actions in a truer way.


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 229

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I did like the method of using minor characters to reveal personalities of the main characters. It took me a couple of times to realize what they were disclosing and then I looked forward to them. I especially enjoyed the cleverness of the Auction Catalogue and Niall's footnotes. I don't recall another book written this way.


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 71

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I loved the Auction Catalogue & Naill's footnotes! Those were my favorite sections of the book. Both greatly assisted me in obtaining a greater understanding of the characters. I don't think the book would've been as good if it lacked the point of view of the minor characters.


Posted Aug. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 83

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

No person lives on the earth alone. Some so-called minor characters can have life-changing effects on lives. There were no "minor" characters as the story required those bits of information.


Posted Aug. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marymargaretf

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 36

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Certainly. Multiple narrators provide different points of view and understandings; these distant voices strengthen our knowledge of the main characters.


Posted Aug. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bobbie7

Join Date: 09/19/13

Posts: 49

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

There is some value to using chapters to express the voices of various characters, but this device is used so much now in so many books it gets old and tiresome. Sometimes I like to read a book with a linear plot instead of trying to sort out who is who.


Posted Aug. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 83

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I liked the use of the minor characters. I thought Todd's was particularly useful as it told of the depths of his darker side with the extent of his drug and alcohol use and casual affairs; but also introduced us to the charismatic side of Daniel that hadn't come across quite so clearly before.
Naill's first chapter was very charming as well, especially with the footnotes... and it also further hinted at Daniel's suffering, as you'd rather face difficult things than have your children go through them. Daniel makes some terrible choices, but he's dealt a lot of blows as well.


Posted Aug. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
leahm

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 9

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I agree with bobbie7 that sometimes this device is overused. As I read each of these chapters I was waiting for the connection. Some were meaningful at seeing different perspective but some were not needed.The chapter called Always to be Losing Things was the furthest stretch with Rosalind.


Posted Aug. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 397

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I too am a little tired of the switching of time periods and voices and locations in every new chapter. I do however understand that it creates a way to see the characters in the eyes of others which is very informative. At least when you start a chapter you get to anticipate that you are going to be somewhere else with someone else so you do not get too bored with the bit of craziness each of the characters displays.


Posted Aug. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 192

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Yes, they were very helpful. In some cases they cleared up information about Daniel for me. The interview with Timou I didn't think added anything. After the interview I kept waiting for Timou to come back into the picture but he didn't. I already knew that Claudette was the secret to his success so the chapter wasn't needed.


Posted Aug. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terrio

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 60

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I agree that the device of switching narrators can be overused and confusing, but I thought it worked well in this book. Not only did it provide different perspectives on Daniel, but it also allowed O'Farrell to introduce other fascinating characters. Each minor character was well-developed and the reader got a glimpse of all these other lives going on in parallel with the main story of Daniel and Claudette. I wanted to know more about many of them, including Maeve and Rosalind. Rather than simply using these characters to impart more information about Daniel, O'Farrell took the time to flesh them out and give us tiny slices of the lives of these other fascinating characters.


Posted Aug. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 53

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Some of the voices were helpful, but others I found distracting. The Auction catalog was very helpful for insight into the worlds view of Claudette, and Niell's footnotes were lovely to add a voice of childish observation - but by the time we got to the diplomat's ex-wife, I saw her as a plot ploy and would have rather been present for the discussion regarding the pills Daniel was taking between him, Niell and Claudette. The jumps between time and character was enjoyable at first and then became tedious and a bit hard to follow - perhaps because I was switching between the written text and audio.


Posted Aug. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 278

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I was trying to read this while on a vacation minding two eleven year olds. I do think the so called minor characters were helpful we were traveling with a group of other tweens and grandparents and I was constantly amazed at what these two observers about others. A new perspective is always good.


Posted Aug. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
CheriFaith

Join Date: 10/06/14

Posts: 37

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

While the current trend many authors have employed as of late - that being the constant switching of point of view/voice/character - is really getting old to me, I know that without minor characters there is not real story - not in life and not in literature. I wasn't thrilled with the amount of back and forth that took place but did feel that some characters/shifts were more valuable than others - especially the Auction catalog. I just wish so many authors didn't feel as if they have to try every trendy technique. I am really over it!


Posted Aug. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Definitely! Not only do they give a much richer portrait of Daniel, but they advance the action (for example the auction catalog, which was a much more interesting way to cover that part of Claudette's life than a flashback or a linear narrative). A strength of the writer is her ability to keep the narrative moving forward, even when shifting back in time, by using different perspectives. It also lets us "fill in the blanks" and piece together Daniel's personality and character in the same way that he is struggling to do, so the structure of this book is itself a way of addressing the theme.

I don't see this as a trendy technique; some of the first novels written in English were epistolary (written as an exchange of letters), and great writers ever since have used multiple viewpoints.


Posted Aug. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marymargaretf

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 36

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Great observations, JL! The minor characters are engaging and vital to our understanding of Daniel.

I would like to follow them (especially Rosalind). More novels?


Posted Aug. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judithdieker

Join Date: 08/06/16

Posts: 2

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I enjoyed this book although I found it frustrating every time a new chapter introduced a new character...I prefer a linear story... Was trying to think how this would have been possible in this instance and decided it would have created a much longer story


Posted Aug. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

At first I found the technique a little confusing ("Who is this now? What year is it?") but once I started paying attention I discovered that I was really enjoying the various perspectives. I thought the change of narrative voice added a lot of interest for me. I think that having to make a dozen characters come across as having unique voices and points of view is quite challenging, and that the author really pulls it off.


Posted Aug. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nikkim

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 13

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Yes, they add another dimension to the story. This makes the story have much more depth and nuance.


Posted Aug. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darlene

Join Date: 08/03/16

Posts: 3

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I enjoy books told from different perspectives. I believe it makes the book richer and gives the reader a better sense of the character as a whole - especially when the story told from main characters view. However, I have to be very careful as I am a fast reader and sometimes get confused because I mistake who is speaking. In this book, I think it was an important literary device that worked well.


Posted Aug. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 188

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I thought the use of minor characters was good. They helped to see the main character in a different light rather than the bias of the man characters.


Pegh
Posted Aug. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 75

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I agree with JoyceS about disliking the switching of which character is talking as well as the time frame. I just about gave up on keeping track of everything; the worst was the jumping of years. Why not be linear in time while getting views from each person? I love her writing, the adjectives she uses, but this was so complicated that it distracted from the story. It limits who I will recommend the book to; some will not have the patience to read it.


Posted Aug. 16, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
stabs

Join Date: 07/13/16

Posts: 14

RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I thought some of the chapters with minor characters helped, as they added additional perspective or facts skipped earlier. I also agree with many that I found the incessant shifting between dates and times and narrators more annoying than I would have liked. It interfered with my enjoyment of the story


Posted Aug. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 76

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

Yes - there is obviously a reason the author included their voices and points of view. They may offer an angle that would not have been considered but for that minor character.


Posted Aug. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: Do the chapters told from the perspective of minor characters add to your understanding of the characters? If so, how?

I will add to my previous response, having thought about this book for a while, that I think the different voices were essential to convey a big idea expressed by the story. This is not just a story of one man trying to come to terms with his past failures and losses, and maintain a loving marriage. It is a story about how families are created and nurtured, and how our actions, good or bad, have unseen impacts upon others. "We're all in it together," the author is suggesting, interconnected, never really alone in our search for love, belonging, purpose. So it makes sense to use multiple characters, most of whom we come to care about, and those we don't, we recognize as narcissistic, using and exploiting others, violating the spirit of mutual caring that the other characters demonstrate.


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