At last, it is time to begin discussing Tigana! Part One Discussion
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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(
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.
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)
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.
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. :)
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.
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?
...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.
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!
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
So, did anyone else have a craving for Blue Wine while they were reading part one? I sure did. :o)
Er, I mean... for a friend of mine. Yeah.
I just got the book on tuesday and playing catchup.
What is the blue liquid? Really? :)
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.
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)
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.
I'll be reading more of Kay's books, that's for sure.
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.
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.