Friday, April 27, 2012
Fire and Hemlock Read-Along Discussion
I'm so excited to have a chance to trade ideas about Fire and Hemlock with some other readers! It's a complex and somewhat confusingly-ended book that is completely awesome. For those of you who haven't read the book and intend to, this post isn't for you. Spoilers will be plentiful. Instead, go get a copy of the book, devour it quickly and then come back and discuss it with us! If you haven't decided if you want to read the book yet (you do) or if you haven't heard of it (really?), here's a brief synopsis --
Nineteen year old Polly is cleaning out her room, about to head back to Oxford, and is reading an old book of hers when she starts thinking that years ago, when she first read the same collection, it possibly had a different title, different authors and even different stories in it. Slowly, that feeling spreads as she notices more things in her room that seem out of place in her current memories until she starts recovering an entirely different set of memories from when she was ten years old. How could she have forgotten Thomas Lynn, the cellist that she met when she gate-crashed a funeral on Halloween? How did the eerie photograph titled Fire and Hemlock that is hanging over her bed get there? And more importantly, what happened four years ago that made her forget all of it?
Doesn't that sound awesome? Well, it is. So, get out, buy the newly re-released book and get to reading. For those who have read it, let's discuss!
Here are some recent(ish) posts from Iris, Teresa, Jenny, Kerry, Amanda, Jean ... (more will be added)
* * * * *
I know we will all have different things that stood out or that didn't make sense for us so here are a few of mine. Feel free to answer all or none of my questions and add more of your own below.
First, I read many versions of both Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer in preparation for this reread. It definitely enhanced the experience of reading this time through when I could actually catch a tidbit and know why it was there. Have you read either ballad or a related story? Is F&H a retelling of Tam Lin or is it far too original to be called that? Side question: Did it bother you that the quotes at the beginnings of each chapter from the ballads didn't really match up with what is happening in the story at the time? I kind of feel now like those could have been left out.
Second, what was the deal with the necklace? It was protection (how?) and then it wasn't. How do they start using it against her? Is it a tracking device?
Third, was Thomas musically gifted before Laurel or did she give him that talent? I know that the horse couldn't help him at the end because it wasn't "truly his" -- it came from the gift of having things come true. But why didn't the cello work? Did he become a world class player because he believed he would?
I think that's a good start. Those are the things that I thought about for more than a few minutes anyway -- well, besides the confusing anywhere/nowhere/somewhere word play at the end -- but I don't even know how to put together a coherent question about that!
And we're off,