At last, it is time to begin discussing Tigana! Part One Discussion

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At last, it is time to begin discussing Tigana! Part One Discussion

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Modifié : Sep 29, 2006, 5:54pm

Let me just start us off by saying that my favorite passage in the whole book happens to be in part one. Tomasso is in chains, after being tortured, and he sees an apparition that he believes to be the ghost of his father, Duke Sandre. This is one of the most touching and wonderfully worded parts of Tigana, in my humble opinion.

The Duke says:


"Will you let me tell you how sorry I am for the folly that has condemned you to this? Will you hear me if I tell you I have been proud of you, in my fashion?"

Tomasso let himself weep. The words were balm for the deepest ache he knew. Crying made the light blur and swim though, and so he raised his shaking hands and kept trying to wipe the tears away. He wanted to speak but his shattered mouth could not form the words. He nodded his head though, over and over. Then he had a thought and he raised his left hand--the heart hand, of oaths and fidelity--towards this dream of his dead father's ghost.

And slowly Sandre's hand came down, as if from a long, long way off, from years and years away, seasons lost and forgotten in the turning of time and pride, and father and son touched fingertips together.


Every time I read that last sentence I just cry. :õ(

Sep 30, 2006, 5:14am

A Blade In The Soul

Alright, I'm not going to start with "I like...", but I will start with... I love Guy Gavriel Kay's work. A Song For Arbonne got me into him, Tigana most definitely kept me coming back for more.

Part One of Tigana is a strong opener to this large, heart-wrenching story. GGK certainly knows how to craft an absorbing story without having to resort to the a-typical, Pigboy Saves World cliche. This part starts with the supposed death of Sandre, Duke of Astibar - and ends with the very real death of his son, Tomasso (as quoted above, by Clam).

Already, you can see, we're dealing with a story of death and sadness... saddest of all perhaps is the death of an entire country - stripped away by a vengeful sorcerer. Vengeful, that is, not evil. But we'll get onto Brandin and all that he's done to the Palm in the later parts of this story.

So, what exactly is it about Part One of Tigana that I enjoyed so much? Aside from the excellently crafted characters, the beautifully portrayed world of wine and music, the underlying sense of need within it all??

There's a ring of truth to the whole thing.

Yup, that's it right there for me, each character speaks, moves, and acts in a fully believable way. The plot doesn't happen because the author wants it to happen, it happens because these characters make it happen. Perhaps that doesn't sound like a big thing, but for me it is. There are many fantasy stories where the characters are dragged from Place A to Place B because the author has thought of a great setting, and needs to show it off somehow... Tigana is definitely not one of them. These people are struggling, each and everyone one of them in their own way, to free their country of not one, but two tyrannical sorcerers, and reading it you start to feel as if your following the plight of real people. This is where Kay succeeds most for me. These people are doing the only thing they possibly can do, because it is right, it is true... not because the Author wanted it to go that way.

Then, just when you think you've got a handle on what this story is about, where it's heading, and how it's going to play out... He delivers us Part Two, Dianora and the goal posts suddenly shift.

Sep 30, 2006, 5:59pm

... And I thought you people were all champing at the bit to start this discussion! Maybe I should have waited until Monday.

Yes, Tane, I agree about the ring of truth thing. The setting seemed familiar, while the story itself was wholly original. And what a lyrical way with words he has. :o)

Sep 30, 2006, 10:37pm

Lyrical way with words, absolutely.

On the other hand, there were too-frequent instances where I felt like there should have been a comma to set off a clause (or something), and there wasn't. I'm no English major, but if it's bad enough that it breaks the flow of my reading enough to jolt me out of the story, then it's a problem.

Minor quibble, though. I loved the book. More intelligent/intelligible posting about it tomorrow; not a lot of sleep been happening recently on this end.

Oct 1, 2006, 5:58pm

part one: Only when we got to the theatre troop did I really get into it. The prelude almost made me give up. I loved that passage too, Clam, but my favorite part of the book is near the end. I'll share that when we get to it.

I loved the book - but Part 1 was my least favorite - at least the first 25 pages or so. The book really got going after that.

Sorry for the superficial reply- I am fighting a tough headache but I wanted to say something. :)

Oct 2, 2006, 7:54am

If you post it, they will come... eventually... one would hope...

Oct 2, 2006, 9:22am

Do you mind if I join in on the discussion? I started late with the book, I couldn't find it anywhere! Ok, I admit I live in the middle of nowhere but still...

Part one was a little slow at the beginning, I also had trouble understanding the italian medieval speak, although I quickly got used to that. I thought the characters were well drawn, except for the prince, or that could be his princely arrogance that I had a negative reaction to. Tomasso's death vision was moving, and I especially liked that at the end, Tomasso was back in the role of a son and Sandre in the role of father.

Oct 2, 2006, 10:40am

Part one started very slowly for me as well. I was really having problems getting into it during the first chunk. By the time we got to the scene in the hunting lodge, though, I was hooked. That entire part was so vividly drawn, that it was almost like watching a movie - I don't usually picture what I'm reading in much detail in my head (I'm very bad at the "what actor would you cast...?" questions), but for some reason the hunting lodge scene came across so clearly that I could picture the room and the characters and the action, and hell, even the camera angles! I also loved the fact that Sandre wasn't dead, even though I didn't start liking him as a character until much later. It wasn't the *most* effective and shocking "reveal" I've ever read, and I did know something fishy was going on, but it still surprised me.

A question for y'all about another part of Part 1: what was the significance of Catriana sleeping with Devin to prevent him from learning about the plan? It seemed like a big deal was made of it at the time, and it was going to feature in later as some big plot point or character turning point or something, but then it just sort of got dropped and never brought up again. Did I miss something?

Oct 2, 2006, 1:02pm

THANK YOU fyrefly98 - for saying what I was thinking. It was a desperate move on her part, and we know her motivations later, but still... Odd thing is: I loved the scene when early in the book, as I thought it would go somewhere... but by the end, I just thought it was almost superfluous. I get the feeling that Kay was attempting to show us, early on, that this was adult fantasy, and that's about it.

Oct 2, 2006, 1:14pm

Right, exactly. As I kept reading, and it didn't come up again, it started to feel more and more like a gratuitous sex scene.

...not that that's a bad thing (heh), and obviously in real life two people can have sex without it having Consequences down the road, but it seems like that's one of those rules of reality that doesn't apply to novels.

Oct 2, 2006, 3:46pm

I age about that scene, as well. Although he used to provide a reason for the tension between Catriana and Devin for a while, it's almost as if he forgot about it.

Just for the record, she could have done a few other things to distract him, and save herself for someone else. ;o) Somehow, Gavin managed to hear everything he needed to hear anyway!

Oct 2, 2006, 5:03pm

I'm a guy. At Gavin's age, just making out with me for the ten minutes would have been enough to distract me. Just any touch at all... lololol

Modifié : Oct 2, 2006, 5:10pm

I think this was a way to show Catriana's character. Her virginity is important to her (as we find out later) but she gave it up for something she believed in more. She believes that she personally is not as important as securing their cause against the tyrants.

Oct 2, 2006, 5:22pm

I love GGK's use of juxtaposing opposites.

When he first makes use of Morian's portals as a turning point in Devin's life, his descriptions are so vivid and so surreal at the same time. Like events in my own life. I can always look back and remember such turning points with clarity and know that if I had done things differently, I would be a different person today. But at the time I never thought ahead so clearly.

I also agree with clamairy about the final meeting between Tomasso and Sandre, touching and wonderfully worded. I couldn't help but cry, it was so bittersweet. Another of GGK's juxtapositions.

Oct 2, 2006, 5:46pm

This one phrase...

"seasons lost and forgotten in the turning of time and pride"

...for some reason touched me so deeply. It seemed a bit Tolkien-esque in some ways, and yet so original in others.


To be able to write like that must be wonderful.

Oct 2, 2006, 5:48pm

"I think this was a way to show Catriana's character. Her virginity is important to her (as we find out later) but she gave it up for something she believed in more."

I agree that was his original purpose, sandragon. I guess I was hoping he would have used their relationship a bit more later on, I think.

Modifié : Oct 2, 2006, 7:13pm

I see what you mean. One of the things I'd forgotten on this reread was who Catriana ended up with. So I kept wondering if she and Devin would end up together, this being an indication of their real feelings towards each other. I guess GGK was trying to throw us off the scent.

Oct 3, 2006, 1:20pm

This book sounds very intriguing. I wish I had found you guys earlier so I could have been in on the action. Just from what you all have posted so far, I love GGKs choice of words. They flow so well. If only I had a way with words.....well at all really!

Oct 4, 2006, 6:06am

Well - I am going to be blunt and say that it made me view Catriana as a bit stupid. She could think of no other way to distract the lad than full sexual intercourse? As I said, at that age, just the start of a make out session would have been distracting and wonderful (heck, it still is.)

Now, if we had her really wanting to lose her virginity, and we saw a character that had a lusty underside - who used this as an excuse to explore - then it could have made more sense. As it stands, it doesn't.

But we are picking a rough spot in some amazing writing.

Oct 4, 2006, 10:16am

I had a hard time with this part as well. If she had been successful in distracting him and then cool to him afterwards so that he deduced that he had been used, then had to follow them to the meeting, that might have been more palatable. The only use I see for it was to create tension between the two of them, which was already there due to her aloofness.

It was kind of like a gun in act 1 of a play, you have to shoot it in act 3, but GGK never did.

Oct 4, 2006, 2:43pm

Exactly, limerts.

So, did anyone else have a craving for Blue Wine while they were reading part one? I sure did. :o)

Oct 4, 2006, 2:52pm

Heh, not really, every time blue wine came up all I could think of was a bottle of Boone's Farm that tasted like suntan lotion and was the cause of a nasty post-birthday hangover.

Er, I mean... for a friend of mine. Yeah.

Oct 4, 2006, 3:02pm

yeah, the wine always seemed very appealing... red, green, and especially blue. When I think of the wine I imagine it in really vibrant colours, so the red wine is not like "our" red wine... instead its bright, bright red... and the blue, well you get the picture.

Oct 4, 2006, 4:39pm

I have an image of crystal clear soft blue wine, chilled and crisp. I'd try a glass if I could.

Oct 4, 2006, 7:13pm

Oh yeah. That is exactly what I see. In a lovely glass, too.

Oct 19, 2006, 4:07pm

Clamairy, I had a craving for Blue Wine too!

I just got the book on tuesday and playing catchup.

Oct 19, 2006, 8:57pm

Oh, be sure to post as you read each section, and let us know how you are liking it, wyvernfriend. :o) I'm thinking of dropping some food coloring into my next glass of pinot grigio... just to see how it looks. ;o)

Modifié : Oct 21, 2006, 5:45pm


Oct 21, 2006, 6:17pm

* asks *

What is the blue liquid? Really? :)

Nice photo!

I see you have a house wine bottle that one of my flat mates drinks from.

You know my flat mates? Skinny two-dimensional people - I lay them down as sheets in drawers to go to sleep... where they spoon at night.

Oct 21, 2006, 7:05pm

That's a trivit! It was gift.

And it is blue wine, JPB. If you read the post above the post with the picture in it you'll see that I was planning to turn a glass of Pinot Grigio blue. And I did. :o)

Modifié : Oct 22, 2006, 6:21pm

How was it Clamairy? Did it catch the mood? Would Alessan approve? :o)

Modifié : Oct 23, 2006, 7:45am

If I could have held it up to the sunlight, it might have been more effective. It just didn't give me the feeling I wanted using the kitchen ceiling lights. LOL

Oh well...

Déc 24, 2006, 3:58pm

OK, I'm really not here but my husband chats on the phone with his cousin, and our son is sleeping (it's not that far from midnight here), so I sneak by again ;-)

I've never read anything by Kay before, and you people made me want to and so I'm now beginning on part two of Tigana.
I really like it, and I've had some past midnight reading sessions these last days! The people and the setting is believable, and Kay is very good with words.
As for the incident with Catriana/Devin that some of you mention above I saw it as a way to show how precise Devins' memory is - like, even after having sex in this way with someone he has had an desire for he is able to reconstruct a picture from something he actually did not hear the first time; he is like a tape recorder.

Déc 25, 2006, 10:52pm

I'm so happy that you are enjoying it, Busifer. I spent a few late nights with that book, too! :o)

I'll be reading more of Kay's books, that's for sure.

Avr 6, 2008, 1:18pm

O, so here I am, a year & a half later reading this book for the first time.

Style: I'm not as enamoured of his writing style as clam and some of the others are. He does some really distracting things, for instance, using periods where commas are called for, creating sentences with no verb. And he will begin an exposition, just get you interested in it, then interject some two paragragh description of some bird, or remind you of the seating arrangement of people in the scene who aren't saying anything, for no reason at all except to dick the reader around. For me, it doesn't build tension, I just find it annoying. Describe birds singing or the night wind or Catriana's outfit all you want, I enjoy lyricism as much as the next person, but do it beforehand to set the scene, not smack in the middle of it.

The story is engaging to me, tho, so far. I can't wait for the big shifts that are promised to come in part 2.

Juin 30, 2008, 4:27pm

Actually, on a reread that ended yesterday I got seriously irked by the prose in part one. I forgot about it further on - I don't know if it was because I acclimatized or if part one is extremely contrived, language wise, but still I can see the point Littlegeek is making.
Maybe he wanted to make it feel Florentine, but seriously?!

I still like the book and it's grand themes but compared to the rest of his works, even Last light of the sun, which I don't particularly like, Tigana feels like a first or early work. Which it is, of course. But IMHO A song for Arbonne, Lions of Al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic is better, both for prose, pacing, and characterization.