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Little Nothing


A stunning, provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling...
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Discuss Little Nothing by Marisa Silver:
Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Created: 08/09/17

Replies: 22

Posted Aug. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Though there are clues that place the story in Eastern Europe during the twentieth century, Marisa Silver deliberately withholds the name of the country, or the year. Why do you think she made this choice? Do you have a guess about the time and place?


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I don't think the exact location is relevant although I would think the timeframe was the early 1800's. The author lets you fill in the blanks concerning the location. I would guess somewhere in the Ukraine.


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I confess, I looked up some of the more unusual words - like the name they used for Cinderella - and I'm fairly convinced it was Czechoslovakia. I tend to think the time was a bit later than Marcia S - maybe WWI or WWII. But I agree that it's not really all that important. It has to be early enough, I think, for the fairy-tale aspect to work, but an exact date or location probably isn't all that relevant.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nanl

Join Date: 09/28/15

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Given the reference to vehicles, I would say 20th century, but couldn't get much more specific. Much of surroundings reminded me of Romania, while the castle fit my recollection of Budapest. Seems middle Europe. I think author wanted to create the impression of it being a real place "over there" that is full of remote villages and people who are largely ignorant; i.e., not in the reader's space.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

The exact location wasn't necessary for the story line, just that it was in the "Old Country" and took place when superstitions were still believed as truths even though it was the beginning of a more modern era.


Posted Aug. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
skagitgrits

Join Date: 02/24/17

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I agree with renem. The place doesn't matter so much though if I had to guess I would put it in Romania. The time is during a war and all of the upheaval that creates so I thought of it as during WWI. Country villages were still pretty much intact at that point in time.


Posted Aug. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bobbie7

Join Date: 09/19/13

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I would put the time frame around WWI based on the war references. My first thought of place was Hungary or Romania, Transylvania. These places abound with stories of werewolves, vampires no other otherworldly creatures who transform themselves.


Posted Aug. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bobbie7

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I think she withholds the name of the place because she wants the readers to feel themselves in their own imaginative time time and place. She wants to create a mood, atmosphere and ambience of darkness, old world superstition, unreality, and bleakness - painting an impressionist picture rather than representational


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Well said Bobbie7. At several points I was speculating on where but like others felt it was Middle European and probably early 20th century. Not knowing was not important though so I didn't thing about it much.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

The author withholds the name of the country because the setting is all the circumstances, experiences, times and places common to us all. However, in my mind, I saw a Russian setting in the 20th century, 1910-1930 time period.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

If I had to guess I would say the Ukraine, Hungary, Russia. I also agree that it really wasn't pertinent to the story to name the exact place. I would think the time frame was 1880 to 1910.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Exactly where or when didn't matter to me...the story had the form of a fairy tale or story, so it was effective just to know that it was not of my time or place...it makes some of the more surreal events more believable.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I think Silver withholds the time and location to whet the imagination of the reader. We are blasted with sound bite real time realism so much that I think Silver knew she had to put the reader in a totally different frame of mind if she wanted the book read.


Posted Aug. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I agree with melanieb. Like a fairy tale, and this is really a contemporary fairy tale, she doesn't "nail down" the setting because she is addressing something inherent in human nature, above and beyond any specific era or culture. She gave us a vague suggestion of time and place (to me, it seemed like Russia or Eastern Europe in the early age of the automobile) only because we expect that in a novel. But she gave us rich details of the traditional fairy tale settings: the woods, a little cottage or inn, a castle (the prison). She did an amazing job of blending the fairy tale feeling of timelessness with enough on-the-ground reality of our own time that readers won't dismiss it as child's play (which fairy tales certainly were not, in oral tradition).


Posted Aug. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I pictured it occurring in Eastern Europe based on the names of the characters & around the time of WWI since they were still traveling in caravans & trains.
I agree with JLPen77 that the author did a fantastic job of blending fairy tale feeling of timelessness with enough on the ground reality. It really did work for me...until the end...when Pavla just disappeared into thin air.


Posted Aug. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sherria

Join Date: 04/16/13

Posts: 16

RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

To be honest, this bugged me more than it should. I suppose with all the changing forms and disappearing/reappearing characters did, that I was searching for a constant. Knowing the country, not so much-what I needed was an approximate era, something timewise that I could grasp as not-changing.


Posted Aug. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Dax

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 7

RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Until I saw this discussion question, I have to confess that I didn't notice that the timeframe and location weren't explicitly stated. And now that I reflect on it, I'm even more in awe of the author's talent for painting a picture with words. I agree with Bobbie7 that location definitely feels like a very very old country like Transylvania or Romania due to the remote and almost cloistered feel of village life along with their superstitions and simple way of life. I also agree with the idea that by deliberately leaving out specifics like the years in which the story takes place, the author has successfully created a timeless story akin to Grimm's fairytales, where the atmosphere is more important than time and/or place.


Posted Aug. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beac

Join Date: 08/23/11

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I think she withholds a name because it is all just fantasy anyway. Why have a real place when the rest of it is unreal?


Posted Aug. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Like many fairytales and fables, I just pictured a place far, far away a long, long, time ago.


Posted Sep. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherineh

Join Date: 02/08/12

Posts: 7

RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

My best guess would be Eastern Europe beginning of the 20th century. However, I was born and raised in Europe and spent the first 32 years of my life there, and I can tell you that my childhood was filled with old stories and legends but Ms. Silver has a very twisted mind coming with a story like Little Nothing.


Posted Sep. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

Twisted how?
What is twisted to me is the way people saw Pavla as hardly human, until they got to know her, and even then, fearing for her future, the people she loved most tried to change her into something she was not, ultimately transforming her into a "wolf," that is, something less than human -- which is one way that people have always treated those who are "different." The novel uses the timeless and universal world of fairy tales and folk tales to show us a major problem in our human nature that is behind so much of our modern conflict. Human nature is twisted, you might say. We might seem to have risen above it, but in reality, we have not.


Posted Sep. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Silly Lotus

Join Date: 10/07/15

Posts: 15

RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

I was wondering if Silver had derived the story from an old fable, although catherineh suggests not. It seemed to me to be somewhere around Hungary, Checkoslovakia. the names, the references to the Archduke and the war lead me to think it was placed around WWI. Plumbing was new, but had come to an area that was fairly rural, right? So I'm not sure, but that is where my mind placed it. Anyone else know of a Hungarian fable that might deal with transformations?


Posted Sep. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bill and jackie

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 2

RE: Why do you think the author Silver withholds the name of the country, or the year. Do you have a guess about the time and place?

The country itself and date are basically irrelevant for the fable/fairy tale genre. Also, the setting and time are actually described well through Silver's descriptions of places and the activities of the characters.


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