Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

Force of Nature


As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, ...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Created: 12/24/18

Replies: 16

Posted Dec. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

There are two timelines in the novel: one that begins at the start of the retreat and another that begins five days later, after Alice has gone missing. How do they shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?


Posted Jan. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
inkdrunnergirl

Join Date: 10/11/18

Posts: 14

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Each time we saw a flashback we learned a little more about the women and what was actually going on. It kept some of the surprise although I was pretty sure what had happened to her. The way it was presented gave a little twist because I wasn't sure who had done it.


Posted Jan. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 84

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Having two timelines kept it very suspenseful; we would learn something before Falk did, but only just a little. We could see where he was on track, and where he was going wrong.


Posted Jan. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 187

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

At first, I found the two timelines annoying - mainly because I felt the 'old' timeline was going too slow. But I shortly found this method an impetus to keep reading. What appeared as a warm, happy woman in a picture, was certainly not the character we discovered. I'm not sure we would have understood the complexities of the relationships she had with each character without the dual timeline.


Posted Jan. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 146

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Having the two timelines allowed the reader to experience both as they were occurring. I think Harper did a fantastic job of deciding how & when to end chapter in each timeline. There were quite a few cliff hangers that left me eager to get back to both timelines.


Posted Jan. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosannes's Gravatar
rosannes

Join Date: 01/29/13

Posts: 44

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

I was thinking about this after reading the threads. I forgot how confused I was at first with some of the women characters. At first, I couldn't keep the twins straight. Maybe I was reading while a bit distracted with Christmas prep but I know I was definitely struggling.


Posted Jan. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Shifting time frames with each alternating chapter seems to be a bit of a trend in novel writing currently. Here Harper moves from the women in the field and the developing mystery in one chapter to the searchers and Falk and Carmen in each following chapter. Her timelines are somewhat current - both dealing with a present situation. Often novelists shift historical periods such as Barbara Kingsolver did in her recent novel, Unsheltered. I think it keeps concurring events ordered more for the reader, but I don't want to find it in obvious use in lots of novels I read or will read. As I read, I came to expect this back and forth shift, and I found myself looking for it. I would rather that not happen. It detracts from the plot itself. I wonder if it is a help for writers to keep plot lines straight - if this is an obvious aid for them. I hope it does not become a heavily used trend.


Posted Jan. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 91

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

The switching timelines technique bothered me a little at first so I wrote down the names of the characters to keep them straight. I liked the information was presented in small bits. It kept me interested to learn who did murder her, who I assumed it would be one of the 4 coworkers.


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 337

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

I agree with susiej that this dual thread in books is becoming more prevalent. Sometimes it doesn't work and it confuses me and ruins the flow of my reading--it has even once or twice made me give up on the book. Harper, however, handles it beautifully--I thought she made the shifts quite well and I looked forward to getting back with the women to see what was happening when there was a bit of a break or hang up in Falk's investigation.

At first when I realized she was going to do this back and forth I was a bit worried I'd hate the book, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 292

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

Like rosannes, I also read the book in bits and pieces during the holidays and while taking care of my mother. I did like the dual timelines and how it slowly revealed what was really going on with each characters. I also found myself wanting to get to the next chapter to find out what was going on between the women.

(Sorry Falk, but I think this book wasn't as much about you as the first one, which I kind of missed that.)


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janicea

Join Date: 04/20/17

Posts: 32

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

The timelines were well integrated and, as previously stated, revealed each storyline bit by bit. The two timelines continued to intrigue me throughout the story and I continued reading into the late night to connect more information.


Posted Jan. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 327

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

I usually do not like the changing time lines, which happen to be the trend today. I did, however, like it in this book. The author did an excellent job of doing it. I like that we found out so much more about the characters during this time.


Posted Jan. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
robertaw

Join Date: 04/20/16

Posts: 67

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

So many authors use the two timelines narrative these days that I occasionally find it annoying, but I think it worked well in this book. It adds to the tension.


Posted Jan. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
colleena

Join Date: 07/18/18

Posts: 34

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

I thought the two timelines worked well in this book. It did give more information to the characters each time. I also agree that this is a prevailing trend in novels today.


Posted Jan. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alwaysdaddygirl's Gravatar
alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

It bothered me. However, I learned to adapt to it. I do understand the reasoning of why the author did this.


Posted Jan. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 182

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

A lot to agree with above. I also have observed that the shifting timeline structure is quite a trend. Sometimes it becomes difficult to follow but this was not. I felt as if Harper was peeling an onion - telling the story layer by layer and the style really worked for me.


Posted Jan. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 137

RE: How do the two timelines shape the reader's understanding of events, as well as of the characters?

I agree with others about the shifting timeline trend. I haven't liked it in other novels but felt it worked well in this story and wasn't a distraction. The 2 timelines helped me understand the whole story better. It made the story more suspenseful for me and helped me understand the whole timeline better. I liked that the true nature of each character was not revealed all at once.


Reply

Please login to post a response.