The Transit of Venus

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by dsimpson on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:02 am

The strangely reminds me of M Night Shyamalan's Sixth Sense, where you don't realize what you're really seeing until you know the trick at the end and then it all makes perfect sense. But knowing it now wouldn't ruin it for me to read again. I almost feel now at a place where I could actually understand what was happening and get more out of the story. It sort of feels like a trick, but I sort of really like it.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by dsimpson on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:05 am

I was also caught up in just trying to understand the story and would forget who was who and then when Paul was talking about Ted's 'secret' I thought I would have to go back and try and remember what that secret was. Luckily he referred to it finally. The was just So Much to grasp in this book I can see I got even less than I thought.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:06 am

I just did a little of what I should have done when I first felt adrift, which is to review the first chapter...It seemed very abstract to me when I first read it (about 3 weeks ago, which wd be my excuse for not having recalled it clearly!).

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Susan P on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:07 am

It reminds me of Rosalind Belben's Our Horses in Egypt. That one's also terribly elliptical, but when I finished and started reading parts over again, things that had confused me before seemed obvious.

It's a trick I like, too.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rebecca H. on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:08 am

Thanks for pointing that out, Susan.

I had trouble remembering some of the characters as well, but I like the complexity of the various relationships she described -- that seemed to be the point of it all for me -- to explore the various ways relationships develop, in most cases going bad. The only positive relationships seemed to be Caro and her husband and the potential of Caro and Ted.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Susan P on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:09 am

When Caro betrayed Ted and told his secret to Paul I fully expected the secret to be used in his next play. I thought that was going to be the cause of Ted's sucide.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:13 am

Looking at the key 'flash forward' moment about Ted, I suppose technically it doesn't preclude his having gone safely to Rome except for the comment about the timing, the peak of his career: that provides the crucial clue for him. Then the clues re Caro and the plane are kind of a separate thread. Complicated!

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by dsimpson on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:13 am

I have a feeling that rereading that first chapter would be a great epiphany--so many things will come together. I understand from reading an essay about it that they also talk of discovering a body in those first pages--which I totally missed, but must have been the man Paul was having a fling with.

And I also think this is very much a way of exploring relationships--particularly romantic ones. And each couple and situation was a different side to it all. I felt very bad for Grace that she never got to have anything more with Angus Dance that a hand hold--not that I think she should have had an affair, but.... Her husband was such a fuddy duddy and a cheapskate.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by dsimpson on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:15 am

Paul would have been nasty enough to do just that--am surprised he didn't. I wonder why he told Caro. I think he wanted her to suffer. He was such a callow character.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:16 am

It's funny, actually, because as I was reading this I was thinking how unlike detective fiction it is--and yet again, as I look back and see the planted hints / clues (like the opthamologist pieces) they were giving me information I should have been hanging on to, as I would have with detective fiction, but during my reading they did not stand out in that way.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:17 am

And yes, the body swept away is in the second paragraph, one of a few items of news reported--seems just like scene setting for a period piece, which of course it also is. Sly, is the word that now comes to mind.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:18 am

I never entirely believed in either Caro's love for Paul (I agree, callow is a great word for him) or in Ted's for Caro, which seemed too much 'love at first sight.'

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rebecca H. on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:18 am

I need to go back and reread the first chapter, but it sounds like so much of the book was there already; we just didn't have the context with which to understand it. The rest of the book was simply filling in the details and making the first chapter comprehensible.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rohan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:23 am

The more I browse around again (and I thought I'd done some of that already, in preparation for posting, the more I think this is the kind of book that really does get better the harder you work at it. A bit like Atonement, maybe. If you knew what she was doing, what you were looking at (or for), a lot of other details might also prove resonant.

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Re: The Transit of Venus

Post by Rebecca H. on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:26 am

I'm guessing the structure would become more apparent and appear to be more intricate on a reread -- it seems there are a lot of parallels, contrasts, recurring events and themes, repetitions, echoes, etc. that would be great to explore.

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