The Brothers Karamazov Summary

The Brothers Karamаzov SummaryThere aren’t many novelists more famous or discussed than Fyodor M. Dostoevsky.

And there is one novel in his oeuvre – completed just four months before his death – that stands out:

The Brothers Karamazov.

Who Should Read “The Brothers Karamazov”? And Why?

Let us put it this way: if you had to read only ten novels in your life, The Brothers Karamazov should undoubtedly be among them.

See “Our Critical Review” section for more.

Or trust our word and read this book as soon as you find the time.

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky Biography

Fyodor M. DostoevskyFyodor M. Dostoevsky was a Russian writer, one of the masters of the psychological novel and, according to many, one of the very greatest novelists in the history of literature.

Dostoevsky lived somewhat chaotic life, which, at one point, resulted in a death sentence, commuted at the very last second. The experience scarred Dostoevsky for life, and even though at times he had to beg for money – most of which he had the habit of squandering on gambling – he never lost his Orthodox Christian faith.

He wrote 17 short stories, 3 novellas, and 11 novels; each of them has been analyzed in detail by literary critics and theorists from all over the world.

However, three of his novels are widely considered to be not only part of the European Literary Canon, but also its very center: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov.

Dostoevsky influenced so many prominent writers and thinkers that even a long list of them would be unfair to some of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

Plot

Set in 19th-century Russia, The Brothers Karamazov is a philosophical novel which explores the interrelation between God, free will, and ethics through the lives of four half-brothers, each one more memorable than the next.

It is, indeed, one of those “once-in-a-century” masterworks which are bound to touch the hearts of many readers and even change the minds of many others.

At about 1,000 pages, The Brothers Karamazov is a rather long work, and there are quite a few characters in it; since, at times, our summary may seem a bit difficult for you to follow, we prepared for you a simplified genealogical table of the main characters in the novel.

Return to it every time you have troubles navigating yourself in the story.

The Brothers Karamаzov PDF

Book One: A Nice Little Family

The first book of The Brothers Karamazov introduces the Karamazov family.

Here we learn many things about Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, the 55-year-old head of the family. He is a parasite, utterly uninterested about the fate of his sons, and he has at least three of them.

Dmitri Karamazov, aka Mitya, is his eldest son, the only child of his marriage with Adelaida Ivanovna Miusov. He is engaged to be married to Katerina Ivanovna Verkhovtseva, aka Katya, but openly expresses his admiration for Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlova, aka Grushenka. Strangely enough, Fyodor too has some lustful feelings for Grushenka.

Ivan Karamazov, at 24, is Fyodor’s middle son, the first from his marriage with Sofia Ivanovna. He has some feelings for Katya, his half-brother’s fiancée, and is an atheist.

Alexei Karamazov, aka Alyosha, is the youngest of the three brothers (20 years old), and the second child of Fyodor’s second marriage. Contrary to Ivan, Alexei is a novice in a local Russian Orthodox monastery, a member of a somewhat mysterious religious order of Elders.

Book Two: An Inappropriate Gathering

Dmitri is similar to his father: both spend large amounts of money on earthly pleasures; and, at the beginning of the novel, Dmitri comes back to his birth house in search of some inheritance he believes his father is withholding from him.

So as to solve the dispute, in the second book, the Karamazovs visit a local monastery where Father Zosima, the Elder, Alyosha’s teacher, can act as a sort of a spiritual mediator.

Let’s just say, for all his effort, he doesn’t do a good job; at the end, the conflict between Dmitri and Fyodor is only made worse.

Book Three: Sensualists

Here we learn that the conflict over the inheritance isn’t the only one Dmitri and Fyodor have between them.

As we noted above, they are both passionately in love with the same person, the 22-year-old Grushenka.

So it comes as no wonder that in Book Three, Dmitri bursts into the house of his father, assaults Fyodor, and threatens to come back and kill him at some point in the future.

The third book also introduces Pavel Smerdyakov, a servant at Fyodor’s house but also someone everybody believes to be Fyodor’s illegitimate child by a mute woman of the street who died in childbirth.

Everybody knew her as “Reeking Lizaveta” which is why Pavel’s surname is Smerdyakov: that is Russian for Reeking.

Pavel was raised by Fyodor’s servant Grigory Vasilievich Kutuzov and his wife Marfa and has spent all of his life working as Fyodor’s cook and lackey.

He is also an epileptic whose pretty worrisome childhood habits include one of collecting stray cats and hanging them.

Book Four: Lacerations/Strains

Book four introduces the side story of the Snegiryov family.

It begins with Alyosha noticing a group of schoolboys throwing rocks at a boy whose name, we learn, is Ilyusha. Alyosha helps him, but Ilyusha bites his finger.

The reason?

He is the son of a former staff-captain who was once humiliated by Dmitri in a bar fight.

Learning of the many problems the Snegiryov family is in, Alyosha tries to give some money to Ilyusha’s father, both to help his ailing wife and as an apology for the behavior of his brother.

Out of pride, Snegiryov eventually refuses the money.

Book Five: Pro and Contra

Ivan meets Alyosha at a restaurant and Dostoevsky uses this meeting to pit one against other their profoundly incompatible and conflicting philosophies.

Ivan explains his nihilistic atheism to his brother, and, in one of the most famous chapters ever written, “The Grand Inquisitor,” recounts a supposed poem of his (though there are almost no verses) which describes the meeting of Jesus and a leader of the Spanish Inquisition in 15th-century Seville.

As expected – even though nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition – the Grand Inquisitor puts Jesus in jail, and asks him:

Why shouldst Thou now return, to impede us in our work? For Thou hast come but for that only, and Thou knowest it well. But art Thou as well aware of what awaits Thee in the morning? I do not know, nor do I care to know who thou mayest be: be it Thou or only thine image, to-morrow I will condemn and burn Thee on the stake, as the most wicked of all the heretics; and that same people, who to-day were kissing Thy feet, to-morrow at one bend of my finger, will rush to add fuel to Thy funeral pile… Wert Thou aware of this?

However, after the Grand Inquisitor makes his argument that it’s all Jesus’ fault for he should not have given men free will, Jesus “bends towards him and softly kisses the bloodless, four-score and-ten-year-old lips.”

The Grand Inquisitor shudders, and then “goes to the door, opens it, and addressing Jesus, ‘Go,’ he says, ‘go, and return no more.”

Even though the kiss burns inside the Inquisitor’s heart, “the old man remains firm in his own ideas and unbelief.”

After hearing the story, suddenly, Alyosha goes to Ivan kisses his brother on the lips.

Ivan is stunned and shouts with delight.

Book Six: The Russian Monk

This book deals almost exclusively with Father Zosima, relating his life from his rebellious youth to his death, as he lies on the brink of it in his cell.

We learn that he found God in the middle of a duel, and that, ever since he has served Him and humanity.

His religious philosophy is much akin to Donne’s “no man is an island” or Martin Luther King’s “inescapable network of mutuality.”

Namely, we all sin, but all of our sins are interrelated; so, redemption starts at the moment one finds the courage to forgive other people’s sins, for which he is almost as responsible as for his own.

Book Seven: Alyosha

After the death of Zosima, his body starts decomposing.

A fact of life, you’d think, but, to Alyosha and almost everybody who had ever known or respected Zosima, nothing short of the Apocalypse.

You see, it is a commonly held belief that the bodies of saints are incorrupt and, thus, after death, they do not decompose.

However, Zosima’s starts the process almost immediately, and after a single day, the smell it exudes is unbearable.

This visibly and genuinely shakes Alyosha’s beliefs.

A companion of his named Rakitin uses Alyosha’s vulnerability to set up a meeting between him and Grushenka.

However, the joke’s on him, because it is through this meeting that Alyosha finds the thing he had temporarily lost: profound faith.

Moreover, upon her discussion with him, Grushenka also starts thinking of spiritual redemption and sees in Alyosha someone who may help her find this path; because, for once, he doesn’t care about her body, but about her soul.

The two become close friends.

The book ends with Alyosha kissing the earth and convulsively crying, probably mirroring the last thing Father Zosima did before leaving his earthly body.

Book Eight: Mitya

In Book Eight, we find out that Dmitri owes money to his fiancée Katerina, and that he fears that Grushenka will choose his father over him because of his lack of money.

This is the reason why he was so interested in his father’s inheritance in the first place, and why, in this book, he goes to a neighboring town.

However, the promise of a business deal there fails, and when he returns back, he discovers that Grushenka is not where she is supposed to be.

He immediately goes to his father’s house, with a brass pestle in his hand.

The next thing we know, he’s hitting the servant Gregory in his head with the pestle, and running away from Fyodor’s house in mad haste.

He’s all covered in blood, and there’s a pile of money in his hand.

To make matters worse, next he finds out that Grushenka is, in fact, with an ex-lover of her. Dmitri heads to where they are supposed to be, planning to humiliate Grushenka and kill himself the next morning.

However, there he learns that Grushenka is in love with him.

As soon as they start making plans to marry, the policemen arrive and arrest Dmitri on suspicion that he has murdered Fyodor.

Book Nine: The Preliminary Investigation

Even though Dmitri maintains that he has nothing to do with his father’s death, all of the evidence points to him.

First of all, everybody knows of the conflict between the two.

Secondly, the money Fyodor had set aside for Grushenka is missing, and Dmitri was seen running bloodstained with thousands of rubles in his hand soon after Fyodor’s murder.

Thirdly, Dmitri needed money – both because of his debt to Katerina and because of his planned marriage with Grushenka.

And finally, there was no one else in the house except for Dmitri and Pavel, and the latter had an epileptic seizure which should have rendered him incapable to even attack, let alone kill Fyodor.

You can’t blame the police for formally charging Dmitri with patricide and locking him up in prison while awaiting trial.

Book Ten: Boys

Now, we’re back to the side story.

In addition to being informed that Ilyusha’s sickness has worsened and that he will probably not recover, we are also introduced to one of the boys who, back in Book Four, threw stones at Ilyusha: Kolya Krasotkin.

It seems that the reason for the scuffle between the two was Ilyusha’s decision to accept a suggestion by Smerdyakov and feed a dog with a loaf of bread in which he had stuck a sharp pin.

Through Alyosha’s intervention, Kolya and the other schoolboys gradually reconcile with Ilyusha and join him at his bedside.

Here, Kolya shares his socialistic, nihilistic, atheist theories with Alyosha, whose words strike a chord with him; by the end of this book, Kolya starts reassessing his beliefs.

Book Eleven: Brother Ivan Fyodorovich

Brother Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov, one of the most memorable characters in the history of world literature, slowly descends into madness.

During the course of Book Eleven, he has three meetings with Smerdyakov, the last one of which is the most striking one.

Namely, Smerdyakov confesses to Ivan that he was the one who had murdered Fyodor and stolen his money, after faking an epileptic seizure; he even presents the stolen money as evidence.

Ivan is stunned to hear this, but Smerdyakov is even more surprised at Ivan’s disbelief.

As far as Smerdyakov is concerned, Ivan is at least as responsible for the murder as himself, because he had told him when he would be leaving the house and because he made him believe that in a world without God everything is permitted.

Book Eleven ends with Ivan hallucinating a visitation from the devil, who torments and taunts him by mocking his beliefs.

It is in this condition that Alyosha finds him and informs him that Smerdyakov has committed suicide.

Book Twelve: A Judicial Error

Book Twelve is practically a courtroom drama, detailing the trial of Dmitri Karamazov.

As one would expect, the part which attracts the most attention at the trial is the love triangle between Dmitri, Grushenka, and Fyodor.

Another thing which attracts attention is Ivan, who recounts his final meeting with Smerdyakov and tells of his confession.

Nobody believes him: he is dragged away from the courtroom after his madness takes hold of him.

Katerina – who, by this time, has developed feelings for Ivan – links Ivan’s madness with her supposed love for Dmitri.

So, she presents to the court a letter in which Dmitri says that he would kill Fyodor.

You know the verdict:

Guilty.

The Brothers Karamazov Epilogue

In the “Epilogue” to The Brothers Karamazov, we learn that the brothers are planning to help Dmitri – who they know is not guilty – escape from his sentence of 20 years of labor in Siberia.

We also learn that Dmitri is, in the meantime, in hospital, recovering from an illness and waiting to be taken away.

He begs to be visited by Katerina, who eventually does that.

Dmitri uses the occasion to apologize to her for all the pain he has caused her; Katerina, in turn, apologizes for the letter she had presented during the trial.

They part agreeing to love each other until their deaths – even though they are in love with different people at the moment.

In the meantime, Ilyusha dies, and at this funeral, Alyosha gives a speech to his friends from school. In the speech, he promises to remember each and every one of them and implores them to remember Ilyusha in much the same manner.

Moreover, he requests from them to remember, until it is possible, the beauty of that very moment, at the stone of Ilyusha, when everybody was together and when they all loved each other.

In tears, the children agree to do that and, after joining hands, they all return to the house of Snegiryov.

There, they hold a funeral dinner, during which everybody chants: “Hurrah for Karamazov! Hurrah for Karamazov!”

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“The Brothers Karamazov Summary Quotes”

The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man. Click To Tweet I can see the sun, but even if I cannot see the sun, I know that it exists. And to know that the sun is there - that is living. Click To Tweet I think the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness. Click To Tweet Besides, nowadays, almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it. Click To Tweet What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Albert Einstein thought that The Brothers Karamazov was “the supreme summit of all literature.” Sigmund Freud believed that it is “the most magnificent novel ever written.” Ludwig Wittgenstein read it “so often he knew whole passages of it by heart.” He even brought it with him to the front.

Believe us – we can go on.

But we don’t think there’s any need to do that.

Simply put, The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest achievements in world literature.

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East of Eden PDF Summary

East of Eden PDF Summary“I think everything else I have written,” noted once John Steinbeck, “has been, in a sense, practice for this… It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years.”

Considering the fact that these are the words of a Nobel Prize-winning author—a man justly called a giant of American literature—it is only redundant to say that we’re about to recount for you one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century.

East of Eden.

Who Should Read “East of Eden”? And Why?

East of Eden is perhaps the best book in the oeuvre of a writer who is considered one of the best ever.

So, if you’re into literature, East of Eden is undoubtedly one of the books you must read before you die.

But the same is true for the ones who are not into literature.

Because you should be—and this is a book which might make you like it.

John Steinbeck Biography

John SteinbeckJohn Steinbeck was an American writer, one of the greatest of the 20th century.

During the 66 years of his life, he authored 27 books, 16 of them novels or novellas. Many of them have been praised for their style and humanity, and at least four of them are considered modern classics in many countries of the world: the novellas The Red Pony and Of Mice and Men, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, and the family epic East of Eden.

All of them—and many others—have been adapted for the screen quite a few times.

In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception.”

Plot

According to critics, East of Eden is not merely “the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors,” but also “a masterpiece of biblical scope.”

And when they say “biblical,” they do mean “biblical”!

In at least two senses.

First of all, East of Eden, at about 700 pages, is a rather lengthy work chronicling the rises and falls of two prominent Californian families; it is, in fact, one of the most memorable family epics ever written.

But, also, secondly, as realistic as it is, it strives to be some sort of a modern parable; or, better yet, an allegory. Meaning: the lifelike characters who inhabit the pages of Steinbeck’s classic, in essence, are much more symbolic than real; they are meant to represent someone else.

Think of them as reincarnations of biblical characters. And for some reason, most of them are reincarnations of Adam and Eve, and, especially their children Cain and Abel.

Which is why many of the characters in this book bear names which start with an A or a C.

Now, that we covered that, time to move on to the summary.

Let’s go!

The Hamiltons

It is the late nineteenth century, and we’re in California—or Salinas Valley to be more precise. And we’re there with Samuel Hamilton, an Irish immigrant, and owner of probably the worst piece of land in the Valley.

However, this doesn’t stop him from being an awfully nice person with a heart the size of a continent.

Really, we’re not kidding!

He’s an exceptionally smart inventor and a farmer but, also, an exceptionally bad businessman; because of the latter, his life is not all milk and honey; but that hasn’t averted him from, apparently, the sole ambition he has set before himself: to be nice to practically everybody around him.

Now, Samuel is married to Liza Hamilton who, though having “good manners and iron wills” is not exactly as nice as him; in some ways, in fact, she’s almost the opposite: too rigid, Bible-loving, and strict.

However, just like Don Quixote needs Sancho Panza so that his head doesn’t pierce the clouds, Samuel needs Liza for a periodical, but much-necessary reality slap.

And it’s not like these two don’t love each other very much!

That explains the nine children.  As unimportant as most of them are, we kind of feel that they deserve at least a bullet list here:

• George Hamilton, the eldest one; bland and anemic;
Will Hamilton, diligent and hardworking (and, eventually, wealthy);
• Tom Hamilton, a guilt-ridden dreamer (eventually, he commits suicide: see Dessie);
Joe Hamilton, a bit lazy, but bright and “poetic” (eventually, a successful advertiser);
• Lizzie Hamilton, the bitterest of the bunch;
• Una Hamilton, the darkest of the lot;
Dessie Hamilton, the most fun (eventually dies through Tom’s fault);
• Olive Hamilton, teacher, the mother of the narrator of East of Eden (really: that’s Steinbeck’s mum!)
• Mollie Hamilton, the family’s sweetheart.

The Trasks

The first Trask we meet is Adam Trask, just as he arrives in Salinas to buy the best ranch in the Valley. So, one thing’s apparent from the start: he is a wealthy individual.

How did he become one?

Time for a pretty extended flashback!

Adam is the son of Cyrus Trask, a one-legged Union Civil War veteran, and the half-brother of Charles Trask, the offspring of Cyrus’ second marriage with the dreadfully quiet Alice.

Now, when we said veteran above, we really meant that Cyrus spent about an hour on the battlefield before losing his leg to amputation. However, he has twisted that story so much in the meantime that he has managed to fool the Government.

Which is why he is in the Army administration—and at not so trivial position.

However, he’s a dreadful father who explicitly states that he loves Adam much more than he loves Charles.

Wondering why?

Apparently, because he’s “not clever,” doesn’t “know what [he wants]” has “no proper fierceness,” and lets “other people walk over him.”

Now, these are, you’ll agree, strange reasons to love someone!

You know what’s even stranger?

That Cyrus has decided to send Adam to the army!

And this regardless of the fact that Adam’s brother Charles is much stronger and fiercer than him, being “a natural athlete, with instinctive timing and coordination and the competitor’s will to win over others, which makes for success in the world.”

It doesn’t matter that Charles tries a lot to get the approval of his father, working tirelessly on the farm and often even abusing his brother.

Cyrus’ mind is made up.

In short: even though he is basically God/Adam, he’s a lousy father and a bad man.

Yup: that means that Charles is Cain and Adam is Abel.

Confusing, right?

Cathy Ames

Wait a second – it gets even more confusing!

Because we’re about to see the transformation of Adam Trask from the Abel of a Connecticut family to an Adam of a Californian household!

OK, at least in this case, his name makes a lot more sense.

Another thing that makes sense: when you have an Adam settling in the Garden of Eden, you need an Eve and a Satan as well.

Steinbeck decided that one character should do for both: Cathy Ames.

It’s not even a spoiler to say that she’s evil: Steinbeck implies that well before we get to know her.

“I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents,” he writes. “Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies.”

OK, that’s not a nice thing to say; but it sets the tone for this:

And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

And Cathy’s face and body are indeed perfect: she’s, of course, blonde and has “oil-soaked” skin which gives her a “pearly light.”

Which is why Adam falls for her head over heels; and eventually marries her.

How could he not?

“Burned in his mind was an image of beauty and tenderness,” Steinbeck informs us, “a sweet and holy girl, precious beyond thinking, clean and loving, and that image was Cathy to her husband, and nothing Cathy did or said could warp Adam’s Cathy.”

It doesn’t even matter that, the first time he sees her, she’s a beaten-up prostitute left to die on the Trasks’ doorstep.

Adam and Cathy

After Cyrus dies, he leaves Charles and Adam a suspiciously large amount of cash: $50,000 each! (Of course, it is not honest money.) And after Adam marries Cathy, he uses the money to buy a ranch in Salinas Valley.

So, we’re back at the beginning of our story.

When the newly-rich newlyweds Adam and Cathy arrive in California, Cathy is already pregnant with twins. There’s a slight chance that these are Charles’, but let’s just skip that part—it’s the mother here who is more important.

Samuel quickly senses that something’s wrong with her:

Cathy was chewing a piece of meat, chewing with her front teeth. Samuel had never seen anyone chew that way before. And when she had swallowed, her little tongue flicked around her lips. Samuel’s mind repeated, ‘Something—something—can’t find what it is. Something wrong,’ and the silence hung on the table.

Wondering what’s wrong with someone chewing strangely and flicking her tongue around the lips?

Well, translate that into terms of symbols (but, please, for the love of Cyrus, don’t go this far!)

Yup, Cathy’s a snake.

Or, to use Steinbeck’s description from a personal letter of his: “a total representative of Satan.”

Unfortunately, Adam is not that into symbols and is still unaware what has hit him when, soon after giving birth to Aron and Caleb (yes, another Abel/Cain pair), Cathy shoots him in the shoulder and flees.

Fortunately, he has Lee.

Lee and Timshel

No, Lee is not Adam’s second wife.

Lee’s not even a woman.

He’s Adam’s Chinese-American servant, but also a sort of an Alfred Pennyworth with a dash of Confucius or another ancient sage.

Though born in the United States and pretty smart, he’s living a life on the margins—because, you know, he’s Chinese at the time when America was meant for the whites only.

How smart, you ask?

Well, in addition to knowing how to take care of Caleb (Cal) and Aron, he seems to also have exceptional knowledge of the Bible.

Especially of the Cain and Abel story.

He knows so much about it that he even knows that it is incorrectly translated in all of the English-language Bibles.

At least according to his Hebrew-knowing relatives from San Francisco who took a special interest in one word mentioned in the story: timshel.

Apparently, it doesn’t mean “Thou must,” but “Thou mayest.”

And that changes everything:

But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’

In other words, you’re not fated to be an Abel or a Cain; you choose your own path—to sainthood or doom.

Kate Albey

No, Kate Albey is not a new character—that’s Cathy Ames/Cathy Trask’s third and final name. Let’s call it her stage name.

That is if by stage you mean brothel.

Because that’s where you can find Kate in case if you’re looking for her.

And it’s not just any brothel: we’re talking about the most respectable brothel in Salinas!

Of course, since it’s dear old Cathy we’re talking about here, and since it’s her job to tarnish all things she touches, that brothel is about to lose all respect and become a den of sadism.

How, you wonder?

Well, Cathy first wins the trust of the brothel’s Madam (Faye) and then poisons her and makes it look like an accident. After she inherits the business, she starts blackmailing the powerful men of the city with photographs which show them in, ahem, not-so-decent poses.

In the meantime, both Samuel and Charles die. The former (remember him?) informs Adam of the truth about Cathy; in a rather improbable outcome, the latter leaves Cathy some money.

So, Adam (who, by the way, has lied to the police that his gun wound had been caused by accident) visits Cathy to give the money to her.

There, Adam finally sees her for what she truly is: a monster.

Cal and Aron

Adam’s sons, however, grow up not knowing anything about their mother.

And even less about the fact that they are Cain and Abel all over again: Cal is wild and manipulative, and Aron is goodhearted and dutiful.

These traits become even more apparent when Adam invests all of his money in a business venture—and, eventually, loses it.

However, make no mistake: things aren’t that black and white.

In the seventh grade, Aron falls in love with a virtuous girl named Abra Bacon; in the meantime, just like his uncle Charles before him, Cal does everything he can to win the love of Adam, even praying to be more like Aron.

Eventually, Aron decides to become an Episcopal priest and Cal a farmer.

One day, Cal accidentally discovers not only that his mother is alive, but also that she is the Madam of, by this time, the very disreputable brothel of Salinas.

He goes to her, and, during the discussion, Cathy casually tells him that he has inherited her dark genes. Not a good thing to say to someone who is already afraid that he embodies evil. Especially if you’re his mother.

Now, Cal tries to overcompensate.

He teams up with Will Hamilton (if you don’t remember, that’s the only rich Hamilton) in order to earn some of his father’s money back.

And he does exceptionally well!

However, when he gives the money to Adam at Thanksgiving, Adam refuses them, believing that they are earned in a dishonest manner.

“I would have been so happy if you could have given me,” he says to Cal, “well, what your brother has – pride in the thing he’s doing, gladness in his progress. Money, even clean money, doesn’t stack up with that.”

Ironically, just as Aron plans to drop out of school.

East of Eden Epilogue

Disappointed and jealous, Cal takes his brother to the brothel, knowing full well that Aron is about to see something which will deeply hurt him.

Since Aron is a goody two shoes, it does something more than that: he practically breaks down.

Soon after, he joins in the Army to fight in the Frist World War.

After finding of the news, both Adam and Cal are in a state of shock. Lee comforts the guilt-ridden Cal by telling him about the meaning of timshel.

In other words, he is not an embodiment of evil; he has the freedom of choice to be something more than the biological himself.

This makes Cal feel better, and soon he starts a relationship with Abra.

A telegram arrives and informs the Trasks that Aron has been killed in a battle; Adam suffers a stroke upon hearing the news.

Lee calls Cal and Abra to see him at his deathbed. Then, this mysterious Chinese Alfred pleads Adam to forgive his only surviving son and bless him before passing away.

Adam says:

“Timshel.”

The end.

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“East of Eden PDF Summary Quotes”

I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible. Click To Tweet And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good. Click To Tweet All great and precious things are lonely. Click To Tweet There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty. Click To Tweet My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“A novel planned on the grandest possible scale,” says a review. “One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable.”

Truly impressive.

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The Forever War PDF Summary

The Forever War PDF SummaryWe all have that anger and impatience engrained within us. Sometimes we feel engrossed by the political reality that is more often than not manipulative.

It’s unnecessary to embellish this global stalemate but instead, offer a viable solution.

The fictional premise in this classic should not be construed as an effort for veering off course but as an attempt to uphold essential principles.

Who Should Read “The Forever War”? And Why?

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was originally published in 1977, and since then has raised many eyebrows across the world due to its questionable narrative.

With regards to the modern political system, this novel is like a wake-up call for the upcoming generations.

With that being said, we firmly acknowledge the possibility of a political standoff – which makes this book suitable for everyone eager to expand.

Joe HaldemanJoe Haldeman Biography

Joe William Haldeman is a renowned American science fiction author born on June 9th, 1943. He has been garnering accolades for his incredible achievements in the science-fiction realm.

As the recipient of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, he continues to mesmerize its readers with astonishing wording.

Plot

William Mandella is the central character and the very instigator of the science-fiction narrative. A man who is lauded as one of the top thinkers, military personnel, and fitness instructors. Due to his unvarnished stature, he became a notable figure in the upper circles.

The present predicament impels him to enlist in the army or the United Armed Services and join the elite group. For all we know, the battle that precedes should put an end to the deceitful Tauran aliens.

The scope of this war or military stalemate stretches beyond an average lifespan and practically spans over a millennium. Mandella participates in all areas of battle from the outset to the very end thanks to travel wormholes, which act as time-machines.

His seemingly exposed disgust for the war but that leaves little room for alternative action.

The name “The Forever War” is taken within the context of brutal and eccentric encounters that shape and try to subvert a political system.

The likes of Mandella are aware that the stretch of war will leave a mark on the society as a whole and affect the civilians.

Among other things, Mandella receives a notification that he’ll be the first line of defense against the invaders.

The military informs him of their arch enemy and why the elite group will be the first to face this deadly threat. The training he receives prior to the battle is in the realm of strategic and physical preparation, because no one is absolutely sure of the storm that could decimate the entire population.

The training unfolds in sub-zero temperatures in order to imitate the conditions that may befall the warriors.

The Army discovers that the collapsars-stars provide little to no heat, therefore, the group must be ready for battle in the most hospitable of environments.

Mandella and his compatriots feel that some parts of the training are ridiculous but are in no position to disobey their commanders. Such audacity could result in immediate execution.

The whole process is underway, and the military officials begin to plan the mission.

It takes them a couple of months to put the finishing touches to the assignment and launch a counter attack.

When the elites set their foot on Earth, they detect egregious behavior inflamed by aggressive society. Their homeplace is brewing, and they don’t know whether the people are justifiably outraged.

Mandella is heartbroken when he sees his mother, who has grown older.

He also can’t believe his eyes when he discovers that his mom is engaged in a relationship with another woman. Also, a global twist emerges as a result of overpopulation and acceptance of alternative sexual genders.

Marygay Potter, Mandella’s sweetheart, feel like they don’t belong in this new world order.

This form of isolation brings about changes in their behavior. Meanwhile, Mandella’s mother passes away on her seventieth birthday after being labeled as unworthy of receiving medical care.

Mandella decides to pay a visit to Marygay’s family residing in South Dakota.

Upon arrival, they lay eyes upon their dead parents, apparently killed by raiders. With little options in mind, they hit the road while harboring doubts regarding the prospect of ending their military involvement.

They eventually come to the conclusion that is better to have one enemy, than be surrounded by thousands. They need to keep plugging away and refrain from making stupid moves which could mean death.

They receive a task, which doesn’t fall under the category of “easy” as they hoped. Keenly aware that refusal is not an option, they are designated to lead combat platoons. In the line of duty, both of them end up severely injured.

They are taken to “Heaven” – a military hospital and resort center to recover from their injuries. Mandella loses a leg, while Marygay has only one arm left. In the meantime, they ponder about their lives after the surgery and how that will affect them.

They are shocked once they discover that due to time-dilation, medicine has advanced in helping people grow new limbs. It doesn’t take them long, and both Mandella and Marygay are back on their feet with a new assignment on their hands.

Now, however, they have different tasks. It’s been more than 200 years since the war began, but this is the first time they’ll be facing separation. They fear the possibility of never seeing one another and try to challenge this decision.

In order to root out evil, they are forced to say goodbye and run into the hellfire of battle.

War rages, but the colossal battle is yet to commence.

Mandella heads over to the launch-sight, where the mission should take a full swing. He is apprised of a crash-course labeled as the “can” which was created a few weeks before his arrival.

The “can” is primarily designed to instill information into a user’s brain to give them the upper hand in the Major of Strike in 2458.

It comes to pass that Mandella’s training takes place in a gas tank that contains a lot of insights regarding the battles he fought, challenges he surmounted, etc. It also encompasses the newly-developed weaponry that ought to be the main incentive for achieving victory.

When Mandella is reinstated into the military, he realizes that he is the only heterosexual among other things. He feels alienated from society and unfitting.

In addition, Mandella is at least a couple of hundred years older than his military colleagues, which comes as a cultural shock to him. Even the language he speaks is not accommodated to this new era, and everyone strains to understand his points.

Cultural barriers aside, Mandella is appointed as the new leading commander that should take control over a freezing planet.

On that spot, they should lay the groundworks for a base that should be able to withstand potential Tauran attack and ward off the enemy.

The Taurans arrive at the planet and manage to take away a huge victory mostly due to the inability of Mandella to instill his authority. With the chain of command in chaos, Mandella’s company is annihilated.

The surviving few take a long 10-month trip to Stargate only to bear witness to total reorganization. Earth also suffered a complete overhaul in terms of cloning and the development of single consciousness.

Upon arriving home, they are greeted with an explanation that the 1143 year-long war was merely fueled by ill-defined concepts and wrong ideas.

It all boils down to the possibility of coming to peaceful terms with the Taurans.

The Forever War Epilogue

Once all cards are placed on the table, Mandella takes in the information and gets to reminiscing. He immediately realizes that the leaders’ rhetoric of war as the single tool for unification was the main trigger to this agony.

The survivors are given the freedom to choose what to do, where to live, and how to adjust their lives. They are no longer duty-bound to follow order and military protocol.

Mandella runs through his personnel file and finds a note from Marygay that she is waiting for him. During this time, she has been utilizing the space-cruiser as a time machine.

Upon arrival and first after-war encounter with Mandella, five years have passed. They too end up having children roughly 1500 years after Mandella first bump into Marygay.

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“The Forever War PDF Quotes”

Science fiction as a genre has the benefit of being able to act as parable, to set up a story at a remove so you can make a real-world point without people throwing up a wall in front of it. Click To Tweet Heaven was a lovely, unspoiled Earth-like world; what Earth might have been like if men had treated her with compassion instead of lust. Click To Tweet Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man. Click To Tweet I called to the waiter, ‘bring me one of those Antares things.’ Sitting here in a bar with an asexual cyborg who is probably the only other normal person on the whole goddamned planet. Click To Tweet Relativity propped it up, at least gave it the illusion of being there…the way all reality becomes illusory and observer-oriented when you study general relativity. Or Buddhism. Or get drafted. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We really were on the fence while reading this novel. You never know what’s coming next and you should allow the storyline to sink in.

Having said that, we find it highly enjoyable and even insightful with regards to our constant need for guidance.

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Life Is What You Make It PDF Summary

Life Is What You Make It PDF SummaryA Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny

By now, Preeti Shenoy is a literary superstar of the highest order.

But just seven years ago, she was merely a bestselling author of a single collection of thirty-five real-life incidents, titled 34 Bubblegums and Candies.

And then, in 2011, she published her debut novel:

Life Is What You Make It.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Who Should Read “Life Is What You Make It”? And Why?

If you are a fan of Chetan Bhagat – and especially his novel told from the perspective of a female protagonist, One Indian Girlthen you’ll find plenty of things to like in this book.

However, we feel that we need to warn you that this is not a light read. Despite its ending, Life Is What You Make It is far from a filmy Hollywood romance in which the flight of the butterflies is interrupted merely for a few seconds because of a slight quarrel.

Oh, no!

The main protagonist here is not exactly appealing, and the reason for this is a severe ailment: bipolar disorder. The book captures well both the highs of euphoria and the depths of despair that come with this mental malady, as well as the serious difficulties someone suffering from bipolar disorder may face in life.

But also, Shenoy’s novel doesn’t fail to portray the other side of the coin and also reveal the struggles faced by people whose friends and loved ones suffer from this debilitating disease.

So, if you are one of them or know someone who has these kinds of problems, then Life Is What You Make It should be one of the first books on your next month’s reading list.

Preeti Shenoy Biography

Preeti ShenoyPreeti Shenoy is an Indian blogger and bestselling author.

Described as “one of India’s most popular authors,” and “the only woman in the highest-selling league,” Preeti Shenoy debuted in 2008 with 34 Bubblegums and Candies, a humorous collection of short real-life incidents.

Life Is What You Make It came out three years later and received wide critical and popular acclaim in India. Ever since then, Shenoy has managed to write and publish at least one book every year.

In 2012 she published two novels: Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake and The Secret Wish List. The One You Cannot Have was released in 2013, followed by It Happens for a Reason in the last month of 2014.

Love, Kisses and All Things Warm and Why We Love the Way We Do both came out in 2015, and another bestseller, It’s All in the Planet’s, the following year. A Hundred Little Flames was the only book published by Shenoy in 2017.

In April 2018, Shenoy published Love a Little Stronger, in which she revisited her first book, 34 Bubblegums and Candies.

Merely two months ago, in September 2018, Shenoy published her last book so far, titled Rule Breaker.

She has been consistently ranked among the 100 most influential Indian celebrities for the past half a decade.

Plot

Life Is What You Make It is mostly set in Kerala in the 1990s.

The story opens in a mental institution where the protagonist of the novel, Ankita Sharma, is apparently brought to unwillingly by her parents.

She is 21, good-looking and smart, and yet she is there among many people with listless looks and lethargic bodies.

“I am not like you,” she wants to scream. “I won elections in my college. I used to be the Secretary of the Arts Association. I was doing my management from a fine business school. I am not like you all.”

But, unfortunately, she is – just a first-time patient at the National Mental Health Institute.

So, how did she get there?

When her number finally comes up, and the doctor starts asking her question, we, the readers, slowly but surely start uncovering the answer to this question.

The flashback starts with two letters exchanged between the protagonist and Vaibhav, a childhood friend of hers.

We learn that Vaibhav has managed to get into the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi, and that Ankita is not allowed to do the same by her conservative parents, despite her excellent grades.

The reason for it is, of course, the gender of Ankita – and nothing more. So, expectedly for a girl living in Kerala in 1989, she enters St. Agnes College for Girls.

However, she misses Vaibhav who, as we learn from the letters exchanged between the two, was a little more than a friend to her.

They say that distance is sometimes capable of sharpening love, but they also say that it is a make-or-break test for it.

In the case of Ankita, it seems to be both.

At first, it works in favor of Vaibhav whose letters Ankita eagerly awaits – they are not just the highlight of her college life, but basically the only thing she looks forward to.

However, as the days pass, Ankita starts fitting in at St. Agnes.

Not only she is a great student, acing her tests and excelling in her extracurricular activities, she is also an all-rounder adored by absolutely everybody. In fact, she is soon elected to be the Arts Club Secretary, and, even sooner, makes a lot of friends.

One of them, Sanjana, introduces her to Abhishek, a stout boy good at playing guitar and great at public speaking. We also learn that he has “a roundish face that sported slight stubble,” that he wears glasses and that he is “friendly and jovial.”

And he’s also quite smooth – if not a little corny – with the icebreakers, since the second thing he says to Ankita as he is shaking her hand is: “So what do you do, apart from being so pretty?”

And that’s code for “Vaibhav, who?”

But that’s also something a student at St. Agnes would expect from someone coming from Mahaveer College, for the simple reason that “even the best-looking girl at Mahaveer, could not match up to an average looking girl at Agnes.”

After being left alone with Abhi by her classmates following a cultural event, Ankita is surprised to find out that she has enjoyed every second of her time with her new acquaintance.

She is even more surprised when Abhi drops the “I love you” bombshell: “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you,” he says. “I have never felt like this about anyone before, trust me. I am crazy about you. Honestly. And I have never done anything like this before in my life. This confessing feelings and all, is just not me, but with you I really cannot hold back anymore.”

As if he held back at all!

Ankita rejects his advances by telling him that she has a boyfriend, but Abhi is persistent. He sends her a letter and, before too long, Ankita visits him at his place.

Finally, “during the mother of all cultural festivals, the Mahatma Gandhi University Youth Festival,” Abhi and Ankita kiss.

They start going out, and everything in Ankita’s life is looking picture book perfect. Except, you know: as her feelings for Abhi start growing, her love for Vaibhab slowly stars fading away:

Vaibhav and I were still in touch but not with the intensity as earlier. I think it was more out of a sense of duty that he called rather than anything else. I had not even noticed that his calls had trickled as I was so absorbed in Abhi and the other things that were going on in my life. I think the love I had for him was replaced by a kind of fond affection. Honestly, it did not matter to me anymore whether he called or not. It seemed as though Abhi and I had been through so much together and somewhere along the way, Vaibhav had been left far behind.

Years pass and Ankita is obsessed with a new agenda: getting into one of the top institutes in the country offering an MBA program. She gets an interview call from four of them, one of which is the most well-known one located in Bombay!

Coincidentally, Ankita’s father is promoted in his company at about this time, and this promotion means that all of Ankita’s family will be moving to Bombay.

It also means that her relationship with Abhishek is nearing its end.

“Even if my folks were not moving to Bombay,” Ankita says to Abhi, “we would still have parted as I would have chosen to do it in Bombay.”

“Pride has gone to your head,” replies Abhi, whom Ankita describes ominously as “an emotional fool.”

They break up acrimoniously, and the very next day Abhi’s body is found; it is discovered that he drowned due to an excessive amount of alcohol in his body. And that it may have been a suicide. Only Ankita knows that this is undoubtedly related to her.

She tells her best friend Suvi, and with her help, she calls Abhi’s grandfather.

“I know he loved you,” he tells her, even though he hides this information from the police. “I don’t know what happened between you two, but I have only one thing to say. You are young, you are pretty. Please remember molle, sneham mathram puchikaruthu. No matter from where it comes.”

The closest translation that Ankita is able to come up with of these beautiful words in Malayam is “never belittle love.”

These wise words open a piercing hole inside Ankita’s body.

And even though in Bombay she is doing what she does best – winning the hearts of many and acing all of her exams (whilst writing poems and making notes for everybody until late  in the evening) – she is also, slowly but surely (and also, unwittingly) falling down this hole.

To make matters worse, her parents discover the love letters she had been exchanging with Vaibhav and Abhi. They burn them and scold her severely for them. Unsurprisingly, very soon, the darkness gets the better of Ankita: depressed and miserable, she tries to slit her wrists.

And she doesn’t stop at her first suicide attempt: the second time it is her father who saves her.

And that’s the reason why Ankita is admitted to a mental hospital at the beginning of the novel.

Life Is What You Make It Epilogue

So, back in the present, Ankita is talking to Dr. Madhusudan who diagnoses her with bipolar disorder. He explains to her that what she went through is common and that there are two sides to it: a euphoric one and a despairing one.

The ray of hope?

Well, as Dr. Madhusudan explains to Ankita, it is a disorder closely associated with creativity – something Ankita does excel at.

“This condition is unique,” he goes on:

Many famous historical figures and artists have had this. Yet they have led a full life and contributed so much to the society and world at large. See, you have a gift. People with bipolar disorder are very, very sensitive. Much more than ordinary people. They are able to experience emotions in a very deep and intense way. It gives them a very different perspective of the world. It is not that they lose touch with reality. But the feelings of extreme intensity are manifested in creating things. They pour their emotions into either writing or art or whatever field they have chosen.

After several months, Ankita is able to recover from her depression. And even though bipolar disorder is not an ailment that can be effectively cured, she is certainly capable of managing it.

Or, in other words, to become the “Master of her Fate” as both the last chapter of the book and the poem quoted in the dedication claim.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, that poem is none other than “Invictus.”

Also, if you want to know what happened to Ankita in the long run – well, let’s just say that she was just fine. The epilogue states that she went on to gain six more academic degrees and that, along the way, she met and married a kind, sensitive man.

The end.

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“Life Is What You Make It PDF Summary Quotes”

Never to belittle love, no matter where it came from and to be a little humbler, nicer and kinder with my words and actions. Click To Tweet Some say that you gravitate instinctively towards people you can relate to and then gradually over the months a bond develops. Click To Tweet There are no buts and no ifs in life. Life is what you make it. Click To Tweet Spending time in a mental health Institution makes you a hundredfold more sensitive towards others than you were earlier. You learn to value emotions. You learn to look out for others. Click To Tweet The book is not just about bipolar disorder. It is a story of courage, determination and growing up. It is also about how life can take a totally different path from what is planned, and yet how one can make a success out of it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Ten books later, Life Is What You Make It is still Preeti Shenoy’s best book.

Powerful and poignant, the novel was the bestseller of 2011 in India, and its fame and status have merely increased since then.

You don’t have to do a lot to realize what all the fuss was about.

You just need to read it.

 

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All the Light We Cannot See Summary

All the Light We Cannot See SummaryReady for a tearjerker you can read while riding the subway?

How about a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?

Believe it or not, we’re talking about one book:

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.

Who Should Read “All the Light We Cannot See”? And Why?

If you are interested in the Second World War, here’s one book which covers the more personal aspects of it, both from the perspective of a French girl and a German boy.

Also, if you want a profoundly tender story which talks about the things which connect us even in the time of war in beautiful, symbolic language – then look no further.

Anthony Doerr Biography

Anthony DoerrAnthony Doerr is an American author, writer of two novels, two short story collections and a memoir.

He debuted with The Shell Collector, a collection of short stories set mostly in Africa and New Zealand. Both his first novel, About Grace, and his memoir, Four Seasons in Rome, were well received, but neither brought him nationwide acclaim.

Doerr’s second short story collection, Memory Wall, won him a few prizes, but it was his second novel, All the Light We Cannot See, which brought him to the fore as a major writer, receiving both critical and popular acclaim.

Plot

When Anthony Doerr was writing All the Light We Cannot See, he was consciously writing a book for the 21st century!

Knowing full well that, in this day and age, nobody has the time and energy to read long fiction works such as War and Peace or Anna Karenina – or even half-fiction such as The Gulag Archipelagohe opted to write All the Light We Cannot See in hundreds and hundreds of concise chapters.

You know, the ones you can read on your break or while riding the subway; we guarantee you that that’s where you’ll read most of All the Light We Cannot See if you decide to.

However, the fact that you’ll always yearn for at least one more chapter doesn’t mean that this is a straightforward story.

For one, it’s not told in a chronological manner, with the chapters continually jumping back and forth across time. It’s also told through two different perspectives which makes the reading even more complicated. But, also – even more entertaining as well. In fact, it’s fascinating to think that Doerr managed to write such a readable and unputdownable book when you take into account its narrative intricacies and experimental subtleties!

So, bravo, Doerr!

And we apologize sincerely for simplifying your great novel for the purpose of this summary.; but, unfortunately, that’s the only way one can write a 2000-word summary of a book such as this; and we do it out of respect and admiration.

So, let’s go!

1934–1940: Marie-Laure’s Childhood Before the War

In 1934, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, one of the two main characters of this novel, is the 6-year-old daughter of Daniel LeBlanc, a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.

She has a great childhood and an even better relationship with her father. However, she starts losing her eyesight and goes blind before her seventh birthday.

Daniel adapts to this and starts teaching Marie-Laure Braille and buying her beautiful books such as Jules Verne’s adventure novels Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He also makes her – for each of her subsequent birthdays – small wooden puzzle-boxes which require a sequence of actions to be opened and which hide a small gift inside.

Marie-Laure likes them very much and becomes especially adept at solving them. She also becomes adept at finding her way around Paris without even leaving her room. And that’s because Daniel makes for her detailed wooden models of the city so that she can memorize Paris by touch. Of course, when he is not working, he also spends hours teaching her to navigate herself around the actual city.

And when he is working at the Museum, Daniel is the guardian of a mystical blue diamond with red flames at its center. As Marie-Laure learns during one visit of her father at the Museum, this diamond – called the “Sea of Flames” – is rumored to be cursed:

The curse was this: the keeper of the stone would live forever, but so long as he kept it, misfortunes would fall on all those he loved one after another in unending rain[…] But if the keeper threw the diamond into the sea, thereby delivering it to its rightful recipient, the goddess would lift the curse.

1934–1940: Werner’s Childhood Before the War

Meanwhile, in Germany, Werner Pfennig is an 8-year-old boy (two years older than Marie-Laure) who lives at an orphanage with his sister Jutta in the coal-mining town of Zollverein.

Most of the grown-ups here work in the mines, so you can’t blame Werner for fearing that he will end up there too as soon as he turns fifteen.

Even though he obviously deserves much more: not only he knows how to speak French (taught by the head of the orphanage, Frau Elena), but he is also particularly interested in the sciences.

One day, he and his sister Jutta find a broken short-wave radio behind the orphanage. Somehow, Werner manages to repair it and tune in to a nearby broadcast. These are the first words – symbolically powerful – he hears:

Open your eyes, concludes the man, and see what you can with them before they close forever, and then a piano comes on, playing a lonely song that sounds to Werner like a golden boat traveling a dark river, a progression of harmonies that transfigures Zollverein: the houses turned to mist, the mines filled in, the smokestacks fallen, an ancient sea spilling through the streets, and the air streaming with possibility.

It’s a regular broadcast from France on science and all related matters, aimed at younger listeners. So, it’s like Werner stumbled upon a hidden treasure!

He uses his knowledge to repair the radio of a certain Herr Siedler, a powerful Party official, who expresses his gratitude by recommending Werner to the National Institute, a prestigious Nazi school. Needless to say, Werner passes his exams.

Finally, he can let off some steam: he can now be sure that he will not work in the mines.

1940: The Invasion of France: Marie-Laure in Saint-Malo

But then, at the end of 1939, the war erupts.

Just a year later, the Germans invade Paris, and Daniel and Marie-Laure have no option but to flee from Paris. They go to Saint-Malo where Marie-Laure’s great-uncle Etienne LeBlanc lives.

Daniel has another reason to flee.

Unbeknownst to Marie-Laure, he is tasked with guarding the Sea of Flames diamond. Or, at least one of the three exact copies of it, made as a diversion.

All of them have been handed to four different guardians, none of which knows whether he as the original in his possession. So, even though three of the gems are worthless fakes, all four protectors are sent to different parts of France and advised to keep them with their lives.

Daniel hides his Sea of Flames in a small wooden “puzzle-box” replica of the house they’re living in which fits perfectly in the model of Saint-Malo placed at the foot of Marie-Laure’s bed so that she can learn this town by touch as well.

In time she does. But by that time, she spends all of her time at home. The good part: this means that Marie-Laure gets to know her great-uncle better, for he doesn’t leave the house as well.

And she learns that even though a reclusive and an eccentric (probably because of a PTSD from World War I), Etienne is also a very likable man who knows a lot about science.

And get this!

His deceased brother Henri – i.e., Marie-Laure’s grandfather – knew just as much. And the two used to broadcast science shows from a secret radio room in the attic of the house.

Yup: that’s who Werner learned his science stuff from!

1940–1944: Werner at the National Institute

Speak of the devil.

Werner is acing his classes at the National Institute, which, of course, means that he’s slowly but surely turning into a Nazi. However, there’s always something more in him, something which resists a total transformation:

Werner is succeeding. He is being loyal. He is being what everybody agrees is good. And yet every time he wakes and buttons his tunic, he feels he is betraying something.

In fact, it is this feeling of “betraying something” which will get Werner expelled from the National Institute.

At first, his capabilities win him the favor of his physics professor Dr. Hauptmann with whom he spends a lot of time designing a radar system. However, when his friend Frederick refuses to torture a prisoner and is savagely beaten for this, Werner (who, by the way, agrees) asks Dr. Hauptmann to leave the school to deal with the trauma.

OK, says Hauptmann, you can leave it.

By going to the army, that is.

1940–1944:The French Resistance

One day, Daniel LeBlanc informs Marie-Laure that he needs to leave immediately but will be back soon. Months pass, and this doesn’t happen; it’s become evident that Daniel has been arrested by the Germans who had noticed him measuring distances and drawing buildings in Saint-Malo.

You’ve read our summary pretty carefully, and you know the reason why he would do such a thing; but the Nazis haven’t, and they suppose that he’s a spy.

In Daniel’s absence, Marie-Laure grows even closer with Etienne and longtime housekeeper Madame Manec.

And Madame Manec is not an ordinary maid: she, along with other local elderly women, does whatever she can to undermine the Nazis in a myriad of small ways. Unfortunately, after some time, she grows ill and dies.

It’s time for Etienne and Marie-Laure to do something in her honor.

And they do!

Marie-Laure goes to the bakery store every day and collects notes from the Underground hidden in the loaves of bread, which afterward Etienne broadcasts from the restarted radio.

In the meantime, Marie-Laure receives a key to a secret hiding place (a grotto in the city wall, at the skirts of the sea) from an old man named Harold Bazin.

1944: Everybody’s in Saint-Malo

In the army, Werner continues doing what he does best: using his radio skills to track down enemy broadcasters (mostly in Russia). However, since his discoveries lead directly to the murders of the secret broadcasters – and, in one case, an innocent little girl – he’s starting to feel less and less at ease with his job.

At the same time, he’s haunted by memories of his childhood, when radio broadcasting seemed to him a way of bridging the gap between people (he was learning about the world in French) and when science was all about the wonder and the beauty of this world; and not about its ugliness and death.

By chance, at around this time Werner – together with a large soldier named Frank Volkheimer – is ordered to find and destroy a secret radio station broadcasting Resistance messages from Saint-Malo.

He traces the network to Etienne’s house; and then he realizes that it’s the same radio station from where the beloved broadcasts of his childhood had been emitted.

After a second of hesitation, he decides to leave the broadcast to continue.

Meanwhile, Saint-Malo is visited by another colorful figure: a Nazi gemologist and official by the name of Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel.

His job?

To track down the Sea of Flames diamond.

He has already found the other three gems and realized that they were fakes; now, he’s in Saint-Malo to acquire the last one, the actual jewel.

And he has an even stronger reason to do it, in addition to this being his official task.

Namely, though he doesn’t fully believe the story behind the diamond, he is struggling with a malignant tumor; so, at least he wishes to be true: he’s secretly hoping that the Sea of Flames may save his life.

August 7, 1944: The Allied Bombing of Saint-Malo

Few days before August 7, 1944, American airplanes drop pamphlets informing the French citizens of Saint-Malo to leave the town.

Since, by this time, Etienne has been sent to jail for being a resistance fighter, Marie-Laure is alone in the house, and the message doesn’t reach her.

She is in the house when the Allied forces begin the bombing of Saint-Malo.

Werner is also there, hiding with Frank Volkheimer in a cellar beneath a hotel. From there, he is able to listen to the radio program from Marie-Laure’s house.

And there’s still such a thing, since Marie-Laure makes her own broadcasts, reading pages from her favorite book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

However, von Rumpel has discovered Marie-Laure’s hiding-place in the meantime and believes that she must know where the diamond could be. In fact, it is his suspicion that leads Marie-Laure to a revelation: she discovers the diamond in the puzzle-box replica of Etienne’s house in the model-city of Saint-Malo!

Von Rumpel searches through the house in vain – he finds neither the diamond nor Marie-Laure. Afraid that he’s after her, Marie-Laure says during the radio broadcast that a man in her house is trying to kill her.

This animates Werner who uses a bomb to find a way out of the cellar. He rushes to the house of Marie-Laure where he arrives at the very last moment. He manages to kill von Rumpel and introduces himself to Marie-Laure, only to realize that she is blind.

Werner leads Marie-Laure to safety and, even though he spends just a brief time with her, he feels a strong and profound connection with her.

Marie-Laure feels the same, so she decides to tell Werner everything about the Sea of Flames, giving him the key to Harold Bazin’s grotto, where she eventually hides the diamond.

All the Light We Cannot See Epilogue

Marie-Laure and Werner spend some time together, and Werner manages to send Marie-Laure away into safety. However, very soon, he is arrested by American soldiers and sent to a disarmament center where he becomes ill. In a feverish delirium, he Inadvertently steps on a landmine and is instantly killed.

Marie-Laure, meanwhile, is reunited with the freed Etienne, with whom she moves back to Paris; they remain very close for the next decade, at the end of which Etienne peacefully dies.

Many years later – sometime around 1975 – Werner’s sister Jutta (now married with a boy named Max) receives a model house from Frank Volkheimer, Werner’s war buddy.

Jutta finds in it a key and information which leads her to France and Marie-Laure, now a respected specialist in mollusks and whelks with a daughter.

It seems that the last thing Werner had with him before he died was the gift from Marie-Laure.

The story fasts forward to 2014, and the 86-year-old Marie-Laure. Walking down the streets of Paris with her grandson Michel, she wonders about all the important people in her life who have now become spirits: Manec, Etienne, and, above all, her father.

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“All the Light We Cannot See Summary Quotes”

Don’t you want to be alive before you die? Click To Tweet Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever. Click To Tweet All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready? Click To Tweet We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs. Click To Tweet You know the greatest lesson of history? It's that history is whatever the victors say it is. That's the lesson. Whoever wins, that's who decides the history. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

All the Light We Cannot See won both the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

For a reason: it’s an exquisitely written and captivating novel, an emotionally charged read which is bound to bring tears on your face quite a few times.

And not many novels lauded by modern critics can do that, can’t they?

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One Indian Girl PDF Summary

One Indian Girl PDF SummaryChetan Bhagat is back at it again.

And this time he’s writing from the perspective of a girl.

One Indian Girl.

Who Should Read “One Indian Girl”? And Why?

One Indian Girl is dedicated “to all Indian girls, especially the ones who dare to dream and live life on their own terms.”

And these are the women who should read this enticing Bhagat novel.

Chetan Bhagat Biography

Chetan BhagatChetan Bhagat is an Indian writer, motivational speaker, and screenwriter, “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history.”

One of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” according to Time magazine, Bhagat has so far published ten books, eight of which are bestselling novels, almost each of them adapted for the big screen.

Find out more at http://www.chetanbhagat.com/

Plot

One Indian Girl is the story of Radhika Mehta, a vice president in the Distressed Debt Group at Goldman Sachs in London. She… but then again, let us allow her to introduce herself – as well as the main premise of the book:

Hi, I am Radhika Mehta and I am getting married this week. I am twenty-seven years old. I grew up in Delhi. I now work in London, at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. I am a vice president in the Distressed Debt Group. Thank you for reading my story. However, let me warn you. You may not like me too much. One, I make a lot of money. Two, I have an opinion on everything. Three, I’ve had sex. Now if I was a guy you would be okay with all of this. But since I am a girl these three things don’t really make me too likable, do they?

Well, Radhika, they probably would have made you at least somewhat likable in the US or most of the countries in the Western hemisphere.

In India, however, feminism and premarital sex are frowned upon.

So, to see if you are likable or not, we’ll have to fill out the details.

A good place to note that most of Radhika’s story is told in three extended flashbacks framed between a prologue and a tentative epilogue.

Let’s see what we can make out of them.

Prologue

It’s 3 in the morning, and Radhika Mehta is tossing and turning in her bed for at least the last two hours. She is about to get married in no less than fifteen hours.

“We have over 200 guests in the hotel,” she informs us, “here to attend my grand destination wedding in Goa. I brought them here. Everyone is excited. After all, it is the first destination wedding in the Mehta family.”

However, the only thing on Radhika’s mind is how to get out of some undisclosed mess, because, as she tells us, she is in a situation where she doesn’t have the slightest clue what exactly is going on.

It’s quite simple, though – which doesn’t mean that the solution for the chaos is as straightforward.

Namely, Radhika is about to get married to Brijesh Gulati, an intelligent and caring person who works at Facebook in San Francisco and for whom Radhika has some fond feelings.

Well, what’s the problem, you ask?

To start with, it’s Debashish “Debu” Sen who has just messaged her – after more than three years! – a heartfelt apology ribboned with an expression of love: “For the past few months I have been thinking of you constantly. Only had the courage to text you now. I made the biggest mistake. I didn’t value you. I love you.”

And if that isn’t enough, Debu has landed in Goa and wants to speak with her. Finally, they arrange a meeting.

Radhika is furious and starts insulting him for coming to India and infiltrating the bhajan ceremony at the wedding reception. “Don’t you remember the days in New York?” Debu asks her later. “We had issues, yes, but how can you forget all the happy memories?”

“No, Debu, I have forgotten nothing,” replies Radhika with a soft voice.

New York: Four Years Earlier

And we move across the globe to New York, where the bulk of the book is happening.

Also, we move back in time.

Apparently, Radhika Mehta is “a bit of a nerd.” She and her sister, Aditi – just a year older than her – went to school together in Delhi at Springdales, Pusa Road.

As she later found out, her parents had hoped that she would be a boy. And most probably they tried making Radhika and Aditi a brother on two more occasions – but their mother aborted twice because in both cases they would have gotten a third sister.

Unfortunately, not that of a rare occurrence in Indian families.

Radhika’s intelligence and work discipline eventually got her to Goldman Sachs, New York, where one evening, her batchmate from IIMA, Avinash, introduces her to the Debu, the so-called “dreamer-philosopher” of the group.

However, for a dreamer philosopher – with a beard and an uncombed hair – Debu has a pretty mundane job, working for an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, BBDO.

Apparently, the most creative thing he could find.

Anyway, Radhika learns that he is just one batch senior to her and holds a master’s degree from the very same school.

Also, that he is not only handsome, but also smart and intelligent. And that she really wants him. Like, really, really wants him.

Of course that’s a euphemistic cue for Radhika’s first sexual experience, which leads to a revelatory moment: “Why don’t people do this all the time?” Radhika thinks to herself while Debus is pleasuring her. “Wow, why didn’t anyone tell me sex feels so damn good?”

Radhika and Debu start dating and eventually even living together. Unfortunately, not everything is going smooth and well, mostly because of Radhika’s hectic working schedule.

Things turn from bad to worse when Radhika decides that she wants to plan a future together with Debu and starts implicitly pressuring him into marriage.

And they escalate after Radhika gets a bonus of 150,000 dollars (70-lakh rupees), which, in itself, is twice Debu’s salary. Could she go on living with someone who earns so little? Especially when he is not that happy with Radhika’s achievements, reacting to her bonus with the underwhelming “these banks!”

In fact, Debu seems even less interested in going out with Radhika. He would rather have a simple housewife for a partner, than a strong, independent woman who earns so much than him and is never around.

They separate, and the separation gets Radhika into thinking whether she was right to prioritize her job to Debu.

So, she tries to amends.

A month after the separation, after having a few glasses of wine, she decides to quit her job: “No deal or company or job was worth it. I only enjoyed all this when I had Debu. I needed love.”

She goes instantly to Tiffany and buys a wedding ring worth 2,000 dollars.

Then, she heads off to Brooklyn Heights, where Debu has in the meantime moved back into with his old roommates. She finds the keys of the apartment under the potted plant outside the flat and enters Debu’s room.

She wants to “give him a complete surprise [coming] with news of a resignation, a bouquet of roses and a ring.” Instead, she is the one who ends up surprised:

I gently opened the door. I just wanted to slip into bed with him. A tiny bedside lamp was switched on. It took me a second to process what I saw: Debu and a white girl lay there naked, intertwined with one another. I couldn’t breathe. In hindsight, I realize I should have shut the door and dashed out. Instead, I froze.

Hong Kong: Two Years Earlier

So, it’s time for a transfer to the Goldman Sachs offices in Hong Kong.

“A compact, brightly lit and buzzing” city of seven million inhabitants, Hong Kong overwhelms Radhika upon arrival “with its insomnia and beehive activity.”

However, what really leaves her without words is her boss, Neel Gupta, who, though 20 years older than her, is incredibly smart and charming. In fact, at forty-five, he is already a senior partner at Goldman Sachs!

The thing is Neel Gupta is also pretty smitten with Radhika especially after she manages to land a big deal at the Philippines.

His feelings grow deeper and become pretty apparent when he sends her 26 roses for her 26th birthday. And in the 26th chapter of the book, at the beaches of the Pangulasian Island Resort at the Philippines, just after the deal-closing celebration dinner soaked in quite a few drinks, this happens:

We looked at each other and smiled. I don’t know why, call it girl intuition or whatever, I felt like something was going to happen. I could have moved away. But I didn’t. Maybe because I wanted it to happen. He leaned forward. He placed his lips on mine. They felt as warm and gentle as the water on my ankles. I closed my eyes. My hands moved halfway to stop him but lost the resolve to do so as the kiss felt amazing. He kissed me long and deep as dozens of waves broke and touched the soles of my feet. He lifted his arm to draw me closer. Neel Gupta, partner, two decades older and my boss’s boss, held me tight and kissed me. This was not supposed to feel good. But never had a kiss felt this good. I didn’t protest. Maybe I should have. But when something feels so right it is hard to do so. I placed my palm on his face. The face I had seen every day for so many months, but never touched. I felt connected to him. I felt like the entire island existed only for this one reason, our kiss.

And you know what happens next. If you’re wondering how does this experience compares to Debu, don’t: “this was a completely new level of sensation and pleasure,” informs us Radhika. “If Debu was French fries, this was a gourmet six-course meal. If Debu was beer, this was champagne. If Debu was a boat, this was a luxury cruise.”

Unfortunately, there’s a problem lurking beneath all of this – you know, other than that of having sex with your boss who is twice your age.

You’ve guessed it:

Neel Gupta is married with kids.

But this doesn’t stop Radhika and Neel taking a few more business trips together and using each of them to the max – if you know what we mean.

It would take Radhika a year before realizing that Neel is not the man for her. The sudden revelation occurs to her during a discussion about motherhood.

When she says that she wants to have children and be a good mother, Neel laughs off “this mundane stuff” and tells her that she is getting carried away. “I never thought of you as the maternal type,” he tells her. “I don’t know if you were even meant to be a mother.”

A few days later, a letter of resignation signed by Radhika Mehta reaches Neel.

“Leave me if you have to,” says Neel to her. “Don’t quit the firm… You can take a transfer to another office. New York. London. Wherever.’

Well, “wherever” and “New York” are not going to work for Radhika: she is obviously running out of places due to her “relationship wrecks.”

So, London it is!

London: One Year Earlier

While Radhika is working in London, her mother discovers WhatsApp.

And you know what that means: constant bugging. And if you are an Indian, there’s one more thing coming you’ve probably already guessed: shaadi.com, the most famous matrimonial online service for Indians.

One day, Radhika succumbs to the pressure and decides to look through some profiles on the website – through her own profile set by none other than her mother.

She eventually connects with the Brijesh Gulati from the Prologue. They go out once, Radhika’s family likes him, and, well, you know where this all leads to: Radhika sighs a “yes.” “Maybe not an ‘oh my God wow’ type yes, but at least ‘there’s no reason to say no’ kind of yes.”

And that’s how we get back to the present and the $150,000-wedding at the Marriott Hotel in Goa.

One Indian Girl Epilogue

We left you there with Debu apologizing and begging Radhika to come back to him.

Complicated already, sure, but, wait, it gets even more complicated: Neel also contacts Radhika out of the blue and, out of the bluer (is that even an expression?) he too shows up at her wedding in Goa!

Apparently, he regrets leaving Radhika as well and to prove this, he has brought his divorce papers with him.

“My beautiful Indian princess,” he says to her after a brief explanation, “rather I should say smart, analytically sound and extremely beautiful Indian princess, will you marry me?”

Still wondering what kind of mess Radhika was talking about in the Prologue?

Her decision?

To quote a film we really like – this one – “in chess, it’s called Zugzwang. When the only viable move – is not to move.”

And Radhika decides not to.

She calls both Debu and Neel the morning before the wedding and at 5:28 AM, at a coffee shop, she relates to them her feelings:

I am not coming with you, or with you. There are fundamental things about both of you that won’t change. Debu, you say you will be supportive, but the fact that you couldn’t handle even a bit of my success means it’s an intrinsic part of you. You can’t change that. And I plan to be a lot more successful than what you saw. So, sorry, no […] And Neel, you are amazing, no doubt. The chartered plane, tempting, of course. Now with the divorce and everything I know you love me too. But you know what, you love only half of me. My other half is Kusum, the woman you left. You want a party girl. Someone young, who allows you to cling on to your youth. The same youth you work so hard in the gym for. Well, I won’t be this young girl forever. I don’t know what Neel Gupta will do with me then. He likes Radhika, his young vice president, but will he like Radhika, the diaper-changing wife and mom?

Just two minutes after this, as Neel and Debu leave, Brijesh enters the coffee shop. And Radhika – boy, she’s on a roll! – tells him that she wants to cancel the wedding as well.

For the next few months, Radhika travels around the world to find out what she really likes. Eventually, she contacts Brijesh while on a route to San Francisco.

The two meet for a coffee and reconnect.

“Brijesh, would you like to come to the Arijit Singh concert with me?” Radhika asks.

He says yes.

And then they start laughing.

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“One Indian Girl PDF Summary Quotes”

Women lie about their feelings all the time. It’s amazing how easily it comes to us. Click To Tweet If it is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Click To Tweet Some people are good at making decisions. I am not one of them. Click To Tweet This is how we girls are. At times we want to be wanted, even when we deny it. Click To Tweet If God hired an architect to design heaven, this was how it would be done. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

One Indian Girl is a romantic comedy with both chick-lit and feminist undertones, which reads as if originally written to be instantly adapted for the big screen. In fact, we predict that very soon it will be (as all of Bhagat books have been).

We mean, four cities, three men, one independent woman, first sexual experience, a passionate love affair with an older man, an arranged marriage gone haywire, lots and lots of humor – this is obviously a book which checks all the boxes!

The best part: it’s not dull for a second!

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What Alice Forgot PDF Summary

What Alice Forgot PDF SummaryWhat if you suddenly forget everything about the last ten years of your life?

Would you be able to understand how you got to where you are?

And would you be happy with your life?

Liane Moriarty tries to answer these questions in

What Alice Forgot.

Who Should Read “What Alice Forgot”? And Why?

If you’ve read and enjoyed The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot may disappoint you a bit. But still, you’ll find many Moriarty-worthy things to enjoy here.

However, if instead of gripping thrillers, you enjoy memory-related romantic comedies such as While You Were Sleeping and The Vow, or 13 Going on 30 and 50 First Dates, you’ll enjoy What Alice Forgot even more!

Liane Moriarty Biography

Liane MoriartyLiane Moriarty is an Australian author.

After a decade-long career in advertising, she published her first novel, Three Wishes, in 2004, and her second, The Last Anniversary, two years later.

What Alice Forgot was published in 2010 and was a relative success at the time, just like The Hypnotist’s Love Story which came out one year later.

However, it was Moriarty’s fifth novel, The Husband’s Secret, which brought her international acclaim, making to the top of both The USA Today and The New York Times bestseller lists; soon, CBS Films acquired the rights for the book: the movie (starring Blake Lively) should come out during the next year.

Moriarty’s sixth novel, Big Little Lies, debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller and remained there for quite some time; in 2017, it was adapted into an award-winning HBO series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.

Kidman and Witherspoon have already bought the rights for Moriarty’s 2016 novel, Truly Madly Guilty; her last novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, was published in September 2018.

Find out more at http://lianemoriarty.com.au/

Plot

The Hit

What Alice Forgot begins with the protagonist of the novel – who but Alice? – obsessing in bed over how much of her life should change now that she is pregnant.

A burst of memories follows, and suddenly she is in the gym, having no idea how she got there. Alice is all but sure that this has to be some kind of a mistake because she is not exactly someone who regularly visits the gym.

However, no matter how much she tries to get some information from the other people there, she is merely growing more and more confused.

Eventually, we realize that she has hit her head while peddling on an exercise bike. Which is why soon paramedics arrive. They ask Alice some basic questions so as to see if she has suffered a concussion. One of them refers to her age.

Alice says she is 29.

Probably while the paramedics are wondering to what extent is Alice delusional, a friend of hers joins in the discussion and says that Alice is, in fact, a decade older: she should turn 40 later during the year.

However, as far as Alice is concerned, that cannot be, since it is not 2008; but 1998! In other words, the hit cost Alice all of her memories from the past ten years!

Which is why she doesn’t understand what she is doing at the gym, in the first place; namely, as opposed to the 40-year-old Alice, her 29-year-old version wasn’t much of a gym person.

The Confusion

But, of course, the visit to the gym is the slightest of Alice’s problems now.

Since she can’t remember anything from the past ten years, she has problems understanding who is she – and how did she become the person she is!

That introductory image of her lying pregnant in bed?

Well, that’s her at 29, married to the love of her life, Nick, and waiting for a baby.

And her life now at 40?

Definitely not pregnant anymore – one of the first things she checks – and in the process of divorcing Nick.

But why?

She has only fond memories of him. And whatever happened to her baby?

Alice checks her body more thoroughly and notices a scar on her stomach. The doctors – she is now in the hospital – inform her that it is from when they had to cut her baby out of her because she wasn’t open enough to be able to squeeze it.

And that’s only one of her three pregnancies!

Apparently, Alice is now a mother of one boy, Tom, and two girls, Olivia and Madison.

Elizabeth

Alice manages to get in touch with Elizabeth, her older sister. She is, we learn, incredibly close to her.

Elizabeth appears at the hospital but doesn’t seem too happy about doing that; if anything, she seems as if a distant acquaintance. Clearly, something has happened between the two sisters in the decade which Alice has forgotten.

And we’re about to find out: Elizabeth takes Alice home and brings her up to date.

The Lost Decade

So, here are some of the things which happened in the meantime; and some which are happening at the time.

Interestingly enough, one of the first things we learn from Elizabeth is that Nick’s father, Roger, has married Alice’s mother.

That surprised us. You can only imagine what it does to Alice.

But it’s merely the beginning.

As expected, at first, all things were more than great between Nick and Alice; and then Alice became a mother.

Unable to juggle between her career and her children, Alice started feeling cornered (not to mention overwhelmed) by the expectations hovering over her new job as a mother.

Nick tries to offer some support – but it’s far from enough.

The lovers grow distant over the next few years; and then, they start hating each other. In fact, they are not only in the middle of a divorce but also at the heart of a spiteful and savage custody battle.

Meanwhile, Alice is so consumed with her own problems, that she completely disregards Elizabeth’s.

And Elizabeth does have some serious problems of her own.

Namely, she is trying to have a child with her husband, Ben, for more than seven years. However, she suffers quite a few miscarriages, and each of them leads to an episode of severe depression.

We find out more about them from Elizabeth’s long letters to her psychiatrist.

Elizabeth’s Letters to Her Psychiatrist

Most of these talk about Elizabeth’s unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant.

At first, it’s because of Ben. We don’t know why, but he cannot get her pregnant. Naturally, Elizabeth and Ben try to get all the help they can and they go to a lab. Since artificial insemination wouldn’t work, they opt for in vitro fertilization.

Elizabeth does get pregnant now, but for some reason, her body keeps rejecting the babies and starts killing them one after another.

This is what causes her recurring bouts with depression. And, of course, they lead to a host of marriage problems with Ben. And, of course, the problems worsen her depression.

It’s a vicious circle Elizabeth is unable to get out of. Unfortunately, Alice is never around for her. True, she has a family of her own and some severe problems herself, but, unlike her, Elizabeth tries to help her from time to time.

Alice can’t believe what she’s hearing.

She has obviously become someone she didn’t want to.

And she wants to make amends big time.

Questions Abound: Gina, Nick and Dominick

In the meantime, Alice gets some of her memories back, and she remembers a mysterious woman named Gina.

It is obvious to her that she was a big part of her life, but it is not exactly obvious how.

So, she starts asking around – family members and friends – about the identity of Gina. Interestingly enough, nobody will tell her anything significant about her; better live it that way, they say – it’s less hurtful.

And it seems that nobody wants to tell her anything significant about her marriage problems as well.

Even though all she finds out about Nick is that he wasn’t around her as much as necessary, people tell her that once she gets her memory back, she will not be able to stay with Nick – or even forgive him.

Apparently, all of their marriage problems owed their origins to one thing, though we are not informed what that one thing is.

You can’t blame Alice for thinking that this mysterious one thing must have something to do with the other mysterious thing on her mind: Gina.

She puts 2 and 2 together and comes to the conclusion that Nick must have cheated on her with Gina.

However, a message she gets on her phone reveals that she may be the one cheating on him.

It’s from Madison’s principal, Dominick, saying that they should “do it again” soon.

There’s no mystery here whatsoever: the message means exactly what you think it means. Apparently, Alice has already started seeing other people, even though her divorce is not finalized yet.

Elizabeth’s Pregnancy

Meanwhile, Elizabeth gets pregnant again.

She is, understandably, both happy and anxious about it.

Her worst fears seem to realize when she starts bleeding one day between her legs. But this time Alice is around for her to alleviate the pain.

Fortunately, it turns out to be nothing serious, and, even more fortunately, Elizabeth eventually gives birth to a healthy girl.

Francesca.

Finally, her life seems fulfilled.

And her marriage is back on its track.

So much so that she and Ben decide to stay away from the risk of further pregnancies (they want a big family) and adopt three Vietnamese kids.

And then, while caring for her adopted children, Elizabeth comes to a simple, but valuable and life-affirming realization:

We should have given up years ago. It’s so clear now. We should have ‘explored other options.’ We should have adopted. We gave up years of our lives and we very nearly destroyed our marriage. Our happy ending could have and should have arrived so much sooner. And even though I adore the fact that Francesca has Ben’s eyes, I also see now that her biological connection to us is irrelevant.

Alice’s Memory Returns

Suddenly, Alice gets her memory back.

And she also realizes something simple and valuable.

Interestingly enough, this realization doesn’t come out of a resolution of the mysteries we left you with above; on the contrary, it comes from the lack of such a thing.

Namely, Nick wasn’t having an affair with Gina.

Gina was actually Alice’s best friend who, unfortunately, passed away after a tree fell on her. She and Alice were close; however, this closeness was the reason why Alice and Elizabeth drifted apart.

It was also one of the reasons why she and Nick started arguing.

You see, Gina’s marriage fell apart at the time Alice’s went into parenthood mode. Almost naturally, Alice started feeling envious of her friend’s freedom and lifestyle. Also, she started getting insecure about her own future.

But nothing more than that ever happened.

Indeed, the only other reason (the main one, in fact) why Alice and Nick’s marriage is in shambles is the one everybody was telling her all the time.

Simply put, Nick wasn’t around her enough of the time.

But, really, is that enough of a reason to separate from someone you loved so much just a few years ago?

What Alice Forgot Epilogue

No, it’s not.

So, Alice breaks things off with Dominick and gives her marriage one more chance.

Years later, she and Nick reconcile their differences.

And she is once again as happy and as in love as when she was 29 years old.

Even better, in fact!

She’s happier:

She had always thought that exquisitely happy time at the beginning of her relationship with Nick was the ultimate, the feeling they’d always be trying to replicate, to get back, but now she realized that was wrong. That was like comparing sparkling mineral water to French champagne. Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near – divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best – well, that sort of a love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.

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“What Alice Forgot PDF Summary Quotes”

But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums. Click To Tweet The medication, the hormones and the relentless frustrations of our lives make us bitchy and you're not allowed to be bitchy in public or people won't like you. Click To Tweet She was busy thinking about the concept of forgiveness. It was such a lovely, generous idea when it wasn't linked to something awful that needed forgiving. Click To Tweet Just because a marriage ended didn't mean that it hadn't been happy at times. Click To Tweet How strange it all was. Wouldn't it be a lot less messy if everyone just stayed with the people they married in the first place? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

What Alice Forgot is engaging and entertaining romantic comedy, both funny and thought-provoking.

However, we feel that it lacks some of the drama and all of the dark elements which made The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies such unputdownable hits all but ready for the big screen.

And also: at 500 pages, it may be a bit long for its own sake.

Not that you won’t be able to finish it or anything; it’s just that you might enjoy some parts much more than other.

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Everyone Has A Story PDF Summary

Everyone Has A Story PDF SummaryWell, not everyone is willing to share it, but every person has a story to tell.

Savi Sharma moves away from the pretentious lifestyle and brings everyday anecdotes to light.

Let’s find out how three different stories are entwined together.

Who Should Read “Everyone Has A Story”? And Why?

The first thing a reader will lay eyes upon is the target audience to whom this novel is addressed. Anyway, you should be honored for having something devoted exclusively to you.

In our opinion “Everyone has a Story” is not only amusing but also practical, due to its casual style that covers the daily lives of the vast majority of people.

We urge you to take a quick glance and unearth the takeaways.

Savi SharmaSavi Sharma Biography

Savi Sharma is an Indian novelist and a celebrated author. She has risen to fame not just in India, but throughout the world as India’s best selling female author.

One thing is for sure, a lot of good things are coming up from Savi.

Plot

First and foremost, you should know that the author puts three characters in the spotlight:

  • Meera – A passionate writer who is on the lookout for life-altering stories.
  • Vivaan – An employee at Citibank and a person who wishes to explore the world.
  • Kabir – A café manager who seeks a higher meaning to his life; and Nisha who happens to be there.

Meera starts the journey by sharing her desire to interact with other people, listen to their stories and expand her horizons. She recalls her life struggles and how every interviewed individual had something of value to share with the world.

Perhaps this revelation utterly destroys the concept of mediocrity or the idea of being labeled as a drop in the vast ocean. The narrative is in the first person as Meera tries to share her encounters at the café “Coffee & US.”

She says: So there I was at Coffee & Us, my hands wrapped around a warm, soothing cup of coffee. I could listen to the world around me, hear the songs of life, or I could put my earplugs in and mute out the world.

Kabir jumps out of nowhere and responds – When are you going to stop dreaming about being an author, Meera, and finally write a book?

We can only imagine the power from this wake-up call. Kabir became her trusted friend, and yet another storyteller on her list. Nonetheless, she wasn’t prepared to write that fantastic story just yet, and the search continued.

In a short conversation with Kabir, her eyes opened to the possibility of living the life in moments. Although she felt like something was holding her back, the truth that resides in our hearts is worth exploring.

Arjun Mehra (the Author)  joins the scene and casts doubt on everyone’s life ideology. His hands, eyes, and heart pointed at Meera, and her voice started to tremble.

He asked: What’s your story girl?

She was mesmerized by his openness, smile, and intelligence. She replied: To write like you. Meera was impressed by the people, their everyday struggle, their exit points from this endless circle, but still, the life-changing story hasn’t emerged.

We all live in a bunch of lies, and a good storytelling can surely bring balance to this delusional outcome. People require stories, motivation and something to keep them going. Every piece of information, fable, anecdote which can bestow blessings upon them will be considered a noble lie.

Well, let’s call it a day, okay? Not quite, as the author turned over to the person sitting behind Meera.

What’s your story – he asked? The air filled with confidence, money, and influence as the person replied – I am an assistant branch manager at Citibank.

The room waited for the next query because it seemed like the person became a victim to scrutinization with regards to his willingness to share as much as he deemed appropriate. Mehra became curious about the person’s incentives and what propels him to push in life?

Was it the money, or the status generated from it?

Vivaan uncovered the pain that follows his every move, because the money came at a certain price, often at the cost of freedom and real-life pleasures. He also said that traveling is his passion; the very embodiment of freedom.

The big question struck him like a lightning bolt when he was asked to amplify his answer. How will this journey change his life, and why does he put a lot of belief in it? Vivaan expressed his worry due to the daily problems which place a stranglehold on his happiness.

He knew that hinging on material things to fill that void is absurd, but on the other hand, he stormed out of the café, with a lot on his mind. A strained silence is what followed, an unusual moment of deep contemplation!

At that moment, Meera taught that she finally got a story that will lit a fire in the heart of those who read it. It was indeed a breathtaking moment, which filled the air with hope, regardless of all the other predicaments.

It seems like every cloud has a silver lining.

The story about the traveler rose from the ashes, as Meera set her heart on exploring the journey of a traveler. Kabir approached her and asked to share more details regarding the story and perhaps read a few paragraphs.  

Upon hearing the central premise of it, he was amazed and urged her never to stop writing. He also said that the rest of it would be even better!

Later on, a young girl approached Meera and gave her a napkin. She was surprised at first, but she was instructed to open the napkin. The unfolded napkin had one word written in it – Beautiful! Surprised, and flattered Meera asked – Who wrote his?

It was the traveler!

She lost him, again, but that gave her a new impetus to persist in the same fashion. Indeed, there’s no point in wallowing around in pity but take a firm, decisive step.

It’s never easy to conceive a plan, dispel the doubts and follow your heart. That’s the lesson Vivaan had to learn, the hard way. He despised the very idea of going to work. Every bone in his body was filling with anxiety upon hearing the word – must.

He was obsessed with the woman who he met during the Arjun’s speech at the café. His mind wanted to go there, but his legs played a different tune. The meaning of the note (Beautiful) was twofold. Vivaan couldn’t get the brown skin and the twin dimples out of his head, and it became a real struggle to choose a path.

I wouldn’t hurry away a third time” – he said. Vivaan had to summon every ounce of strength to handle the storyteller (Meera) who wholeheartedly wanted to go in-depth regarding the story.

Thinking about Vivaan became somewhat an everyday matter. Reluctant to visit the café once more, Meera pondered about a lot of things. Nonetheless, she got up and hit the road. Upon arriving, she saw Vivaan sitting in the corner, as far away from the crowd as possible.

The conversation began.

She was acutely aware of his body language and embraced a gentle and balanced approach. – “I am eager for you to tell me about yourself “– Meera said.

It wasn’t easy to break the ice, but there was a positive atmosphere as if something was cooking. Meera was brimming with excitement to hear more about his endeavors. Vivaan responded by divulging some information regarding his private life, and how he lost his mother as a young boy.

He also lavished a mountain of praises upon his father, who raised him with love and kindness. Meera’s eyes filled with tears, but it turned out that Vivaan was not too keen to talk about his loss.

She breathlessly waited for some new fresh information that could pump her up.

He continued – I completed my master’s in finance and joined the banking sector. After a few years of hard work and a lot of struggling, I became the youngest assistant branch manager in our company.

The uttered words were filled with pride and satisfaction. The stalemate that occurred shortly afterward took Meera by surprise. That’s all – he said.

She couldn’t be fooled so quickly, as she felt like something was hiding beneath the surface which manifests status, money and worldly achievements. Vivaan expanded on his “misery” by explaining how his life has very little to do with the term “interesting.”

Meera was like a journalist who persists on having the best story at her fingertips. She didn’t fall for it and decided to leave no stone unturned. Do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend? – Meera asked.

Vivaan burst into laughter and said – No, I don’t have any. Isn’t that a shock? How can someone be so neglected, to the point where sharing a single story seems like a big deal.

Kabir brought the second cup of coffee, and Vivaan implied – Don’t you see it, perhaps Kabir has something to share. Meera was not convinced, but she didn’t disregard this opportunity as well. Well yeah, his smile is something special, and every customer gets a piece of that cake.

Surely there must be something that incentivizes him to continue down this path, something worth exploring even though you are not privy to his intimate thoughts.

He was given a seat, as they ruminated on his ability to bring joy without uttering a single word. It was a special gift, and perhaps a hack worth sharing with the world.

We’ll stop here, and urge you to take a glimpse into this amazing novel. The story is now delivered to your doorstep, all you have to do is receive the gift!

Two years have passed from the moment Meera laid eyes upon Vivaan. His story became the epicenter of the storytelling style she intends to convey. Nothing could deflate the morale now since the book is published.

Meera started alone, but they finished it together.

Kabir has the honors of introducing Meera to the public, and he did so with passion. “The fledgling author” now had to withstand the pressure of the crowd, as she addresses them.

Remember, everyone has a story. It might or might not be a love story. It could be a story of dreams, friendship, hope, survival or even death. And every story is worth telling. But more than that, it’s worth living.”

The audience burst into applause, as they realize that the story was actually nothing shorter than a pure masterpiece.  

Nisha takes Kabir’s hand and put it on her belly; that was just icing on the cake. Vivaan gets up from his seat and strolls into the stage, and the crowd realizes who he actually is.

A girl from the audience asks them: Where will you go?

Vivaan replies – “Anywhere and everywhere. But always together”. He kisses her on the forehead and implies that their story is far from over.

Everyone Has A Story 2 – Sequel

Well, Savi decided to give us a sequel to one amazing journey. We’ll refrain from revealing much of it, but one should really plunge into this story.

Life tests you, even when you don’t hear a shuffle of approaching feet and feel stranded on a deserted island.

One way or the other – Meera, Vivaan, Kabir, Nisha, and many others exist in our lives. In other words, this book’s narrative revolves around a central premise – the power of storytelling.

It’s perhaps the best surprise looming out of the darkness! Does this idea fill you with dread or you are ready to extoll the virtues of people whose stories are unheard?

We are here to help you find out!

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“Everyone Has A Story PDF Quotes”

Every single day, another page is added, and as one book finishes, another one starts. Click To Tweet In the end, we always regret the choices we didn't make, the love we didn't accept & the dreams we didn't fight for. Click To Tweet Everyone is a writer, some are written in the books, and some are confined to hearts. Click To Tweet When feelings are pure, and the heart is true, even God is forced to change destiny. Click To Tweet Every day, I woke up; I tried to find reasons to live. Every night, when I slept, I tried to find reasons not to die. Every moment, I tried to find reasons to hope, dream and love. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Truthfully, we only gave you a glimpse into this transformative novel, which will surely arouse a sense of uniqueness from within.

It’s needless to say that this life-altering story chronicles the lives of everyday people, which are often neglected and cast aside.

There are plenty of heroes, and Savi undoubtedly knows how to dig them up!

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The Invention of Wings Summary

The Invention of Wings SummaryA Novel

From the author of The Secret Lives of Bees, here comes a novel chronicling the lives of two exceptional women: Sarah Moore and Angelina Emily Grimké.

You don’t know them?

Then you must – absolutely must – read this book.

The Invention of Wings.

Who Should Read “The Invention of Wings”? And Why?

Featuring a host of real-life characters (Sarah and Angelina Grimké, Denmark Vesey, Theodore Weld…) and two hauntingly original creations (the slaves Handful and Charlotte), The Invention of Wings should interest anyone who wants to learn something more about the abolitionist movement.

Those who don’t want to – really should; and this inspiring novel of hope and daring is an excellent place to start as any.

Sue Monk Kidd Biography

Sue Monk KiddSue Monk Kidd is a bestselling American writer.

Born in Sylvester, she worked as a Registered Nurse at the Medical College of Georgia before Thomas Merton’s works inspired her to write three spiritual memoirs: God’s Joyful Surprise, When the Heart Waits, and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

In 2002, she published her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees. The book – just like the film of the same name it inspired – was a tremendous success.

The Mermaid Chair won her the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction, and The Invention of Wings (Kidd’s last novel so far) was selected for Oprah Book Club 2.0.

Plot

The Invention of Wings is a fictionalized biography of Sarah Moore Grimké, together with her sister Angelina “Nina” Moore Grimké, the only known Southern white woman who took part in the abolition movement.

Naturally, Sarah is one of the two protagonists of the novel; the other is Hetty “Handful” Grimké, a slave of Grimké’s household and a maid of Sarah ever since her early years.

Handful, Sarah’s Maid

The novel opens with Handful recounting an African legend which gives substance to the metaphor in the title. It tells of African people who were able to fly once in the distant past but lost their wings the minute they had been taken to America.

Now, Handful knows the difference between legend and reality and is pretty sure this story is not true; even so, she likes something about that is truthful in a much more profound way.

Handful is so named because of her small size at birth. However, the Grimkés usually call her Hatty. She is a slave of their household and lives with her mother Charlotte at their ranch in Charleston, South Carolina.

The year is 1803.

Handful spends most of her early years helping her mother with the sewing; however, that all changes at Sarah’s eleventh birthday.

You know how you got a doll or an action figure on your 11th birthday?

Now then, Sarah gets Handful: a personal slave!

However, Sarah isn’t like, well, pretty much everybody else in the U.S. South at the beginning of the 19th century. After seeing her maid whipped, Sarah is so profoundly traumatized that she starts stuttering, something she is unable to put an end to for the rest of her life.

After a while, she asks her parents to set Handful free, but her parents refuse to grant her wish.

And the only thing little Sarah can do at this point in time is to promise Charlotte that she will do everything within her power to free her daughter sometime in the future.

Sarah and the Laws

It’s Easter Sunday and the Grimkés head to the Anglican church.

It’s the first time Sarah has an opportunity to see something more of the city. And what strikes her the most is the way the slaves are treated by everybody:

I saw then what I hadn’t seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I’d lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I’d grown comfortable with the particulars of evil. There’s a frightful muteness that dwells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it.

The rebel child that she is, Sarah decides to teach some slave children the alphabet. However, she is reproached for doing this, because there’s a law which bans explicitly teaching slaves to read.

Now, ain’t democracy grand?

Speaking of unjust laws – Sarah is unable to become a lawyer herself, no matter how much she wants it. She tries doing her best to become one – studying from her brother Thomas’ law books – but these books are not fit for a lady, at least not according to her father, John.

Heartbroken, Sarah throws away her silver button, a token she uses to remind herself of her ambition to become a lawyer. Handful, however – whom Sarah is secretly teaching to read and write in the meantime – salvages it.

Using a red thread she once stole from her master, Handful makes herself a “spirit tree” – symbolizing a new start for her.

Burke Williams and Denmark Vesey

As a reward for giving up her law studies, Sarah is granted by her mother the privilege of becoming a godmother of her newest baby sister.

Six years later, Sarah’s sister and godchild – christened Nina – and Handful help Sarah as she is getting ready for a society ball. Even though she usually hates occasions such as this, this time she has a pretty good reason to attend. And its name is Burke Williams, the son of a silver merchant in Charleston and Sarah’s first love interest.

Naturally, Handful feels a bit neglected around Nina and Burke. That’s why she spends less time with Sarah and more with her mother.

However, Charlotte herself is a bit distracted due to a love interest of herself: Denmark Vesey.

Denmark – based on a real historical figure – is a free black man who managed to buy out his freedom at the age of 32 sometime around 1800, soon after winning the lottery.

Now, as a free man, he is on a quest to inspire other slaves to take matters in their own hands do precisely the same.

“The Lord has spoken to me,” Denmark says during one of his rallies, echoing Moses. “He said, set my people free. When your name is written in the Book, you’re one of us and you’re one of God’s, and we’ll take our freedom when God says, Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. You believe in God, believe also in me.”

“My name wasn’t in the book,” adds Hattie, “just the men’s, but I would’ve put it in there if I could. I would’ve written it in blood.”

The Price of Freedom

Sarah’s brother Thomas is getting married, and the Grimkés leave Charleston to attend his wedding.

There’s also another reason why they are going out of town: they don’t want Sarah meddling with a guy like Burke who, being the son of a merchant, is below their class.

While the Grimkés are out, Handful sneaks into their library.

Her goal?

To find out how much money would it take for her to purchase her own freedom.

She reads the prices for both herself and her mother: $1,050.

It’s much more than it sounds: adjusted for inflation, it amounts to about $20,000 today.

And yet, it is gazillion times less than it should: what kind of a world is the one in which money can buy someone else’s freedom?

When mauma saw my raw eyes, she said, “Ain’t nobody can write down in a book what you worth.”

The Courting of Sarah

After the Grimkés return home, Burke Williams starts courting Sarah. Needless to say, Sarah is head over heels in love with him. Naturally, after some time, the inevitable happens: Burke proposes.

Engaged and more than happy, Sarah spends a lot of her time planning her wedding. However, Thomas has some bad news for her: Burke, apparently, is engaged to three other women as well.

And no, he’s no Edward Ferrars, mind you; he’s merely interested in sex and these engagements were his way of getting it before marriage.

Naturally, the engagement is broken off, and Sarah is devastated; Handful thinks that she has a way to cheer her up: she gives her the silver button she has kept for a moment such as this for so many years.

Charlotte’s Escape

In the meantime, Handful learns that her mother is pregnant with Denmark’s child.

After refusing to step into the mud so as to allow for a white woman to walk through it dirt-free, Charlotte is approached by a white guard who has an intention to imprison her.

However, Charlotte runs away and disappears in the distance.

It’s 1812.

Left behind, Handful is unable to get a grip on herself. Her mourning makes Sarah realize that she shouldn’t treat Burke Williams’ behavior as a tragedy, but as merely a footnote.

In fact, make that one better: maybe she shouldn’t treat all men as something more of a footnote in her strive for personal freedom?

Sarah promises to never marry.

The goal of her life should be something much bigger: abolition.

Years of Conversions

Six years have passed since the escape of Charlotte, and Sarah is on a spiritual journey. The Anglican Church doesn’t seem to back her new-found beliefs, so she joins Presbyterian Church hoping that here her views on abolitionism will be better accepted.

Handful (who, in the absence of Charlotte, gets all the sewing responsibilities in the Grimké household) herself becomes a member of a Church herself; in her case, it’s the African Church, which is widely thought to inspire slaves to rebel.

That is why, Handful (along with other slaves) is arrested by some white guards; in the workhouse, she suffers an accident which leaves her with limp.

When Sarah finds out, she immediately scolds her mother Mary for allowing this to happen. However, when she tries to help Handful (together with Nina), Handful refuses. It doesn’t seem to her appropriate anymore to remain friends with white folks, inadvertent slaves themselves:

My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s father changes his beliefs as well.

From a private resort on the shore of New Jersey – where Mary sends him with Sarah so as to help him with his health – he writes back that he doesn’t plan to get better.

Sarah is right, he says: slavery is evil.

He dies soon afterward.

Becoming a Quaker

Sarah decides to leave New Jersey and takes a boat. On it, she meets Israel Morris, an intelligent and compassionate Quaker who introduces her to his faith.

She stays with him and his children, even after the death of Israel’s wife, Rebecca. This is frowned upon by Israel’s sister and the Quaker community. In fact, Lucretia Mott, the only female Quaker minister Sarah meets in Philadelphia, is the only one who defends her.

Attracted by her passion and radical beliefs, and not wanting to cause Israel any more trouble, Sarah leaves his house to live with Lucretia in Philadelphia.

Back in Charleston

Back in Charleston, Handful is a bit worried that she may be sold by Mary to some strangers now that John is dead; however, Sarah’s mother resolves to keep her on account of her sewing abilities.

Handful visits Denmark Vesey and tells him that her mother was pregnant with his child when she disappears; she finds out that it was Denmark who actually helped Charlotte escape; however, he has no idea where she is now.

However, he seems to have his mind set on a much bigger idea, i.e., a slave rebellion. Just like many other slaves, Handful is attracted to this and spends as much of her time as possible at Denmark’s house.

Especially since living in the Grimké household has become all but intolerable for the slaves, now that they are left at the mercy of Mary.

The Return of Charlotte

Unfortunately, Denmark’s plan for rebellion backfires and claims his life in 1822. And the African American slaves are punished even more harshly for any type of resistance in the years which follow.

That is why, in 1826, Charlotte escapes from another plantation and returns to the Grimké household, carrying with her Handful’s then 13-year old sister Sky and $500, hidden in the quilt she had been sewing for years before Handful finished it in her absence.

Handful writes with the news to Sarah and Sarah is inspired to carry on her struggle for equality and inclusion.

Nina’s Letters

Nina also writes to Sarah with information about her and the adverse conditions at Grimké’s household.

Sarah soon learns that Nina plans to marry a Presbyterian minister. She herself gets a marriage offer from Israel; however, she decides to reject it even though she loves Israel dearly. In her eyes, becoming a Quaker minister and fighting for abolitionism and the rights of women is still a much higher and more important goal.

Nina is not that different from Sarah as well. In her letters, she writes of many of her subtle rebellions against the limited worldview of the Presbyterian community which ultimately culminate in her breaking off her engagement.

After doing that, Nina tells Sarah that she has decided to go North to live with her.

1835: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

A decade ahead and things at the Grimké household are worse than ever.

Now, the slaves have another brutal master to think about: Mary’s eldest daughter also called Mary (or Little Missus for the slaves). And Handful and Sky are left all alone: the life-weary Charlotte passes away.

Sarah and Nina are more radical than ever. They cause all kinds of problems in the name of justice and are even expelled from a Philadelphia Quaker meeting on account of their behavior.

However, it is their behavior which catches the eye of abolitionist Elizur Wright – once again, a real person – who invites Nina and Sarah to hold a series of lectures against slavery. Sarah doesn’t want to accept because of her stuttering, but Nina is there to encourage her.

Nina and Sarah’s speeches in New York inspire many, including their organizer Theodore Weld who falls in love with Nina.

However, they also inspire the South to ban the sisters from ever coming back to their homeplace.

The Invention of Wings Epilogue

Back in Charleston, Handful happens upon one of Sarah’s pamphlets and is flabbergasted to find out how ferociously her former master defends her rights.

After Mary, the Little Missus, finds Charlotte’s quilt and deems it ugly, Handful writes to Sarah that she plans to escape with her sister Sky.

Sarah receives the letter at the reception of her sister’s wedding to Theodore. She immediately writes back, imploring Handful to wait a bit for her to come back.

Handful does, and Sarah travels back to Charleston, despite the ban preventing her from doing such a thing.

In Charleston, she asks Mary to grant Handful her freedom; Mary agrees – but on one condition: not before her death.

However, Handful isn’t interested in waiting anymore.

She and Sarah devise a plan and, their powdered faces hidden beneath mourning clothes, they slip past the guards and board a ship traveling to the North.

Sarah’s luggage holds one crucial item, both financially and symbolically:

Handful’s quilt.

You know, for everyday use.

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“The Invention of Wings Summary Quotes”

To remain silent in the face of evil is itself a form of evil. Click To Tweet If you must err, do so on the side of audacity. Click To Tweet There's no pain on earth that doesn't crave a benevolent witness. Click To Tweet I’d chosen the regret I could live with best, that’s all. Click To Tweet If you don't know where you're going, you should know where you came from. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

History remembers all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.

Compared to most of our Presidents and military commanders, most of the people in this book are saints and angels.

So, thank you, Sue Monk Kidd, for writing such a humane and inspiring book about them.

They deserve thousands and thousands more.

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The Husband’s Secret Summary

The Husband's Secret SummaryA Novel

Sometimes secrets have the power to ruin lives.

Regardless of whether someone discloses them or not.

In the case of this novel, the well-being of three women rests on one secret.

The Husband’s Secret.

Who Should Read “The Husband’s Secret”? And Why?

Did you watch the first season of Big Little Lies and – just like about everyone (it holds 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) – liked it so much that you can’t wait for the second season?

Well, Liane Moriarty wrote the novel upon which the TV show was based. (At least so far: we have no idea what will happen in the second season, but it’s definitely going to be something which is not in the book).

One year before authoring Big Little Lies, Moriarty published The Husband’s Secret. Unsurprisingly, the two books share many of the same topics: the interconnected lives of three women, familial problems, interspousal betrayals, murder…

You know all the things you liked about Big Little Lies.

If so, trust us, you’re going to like The Husband’s Secret as well.

And maybe, just maybe, even more.

Liane Moriarty Biography

Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is a bestselling Australian author.

She embarked on a career as a writer, after working for some time as a copywriter at an advertising company.

In 2004, she published her debut novel, Three Wishes, after which The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot and The Hypnotist’s Love Story followed.

It was, however, Moriarty’s fifth novel, The Husband’s Secret – published in 2013 – that brought her international acclaim.

Unsurprisingly, her next novel, Big Little Lies, debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list the next year; HBO adapted it into an award-winning miniseries in 2017 (starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley).

Since 2014, Moriarty has written two more novels: Truly Madly Guilty and Nine Perfect Strangers.

Find out more at http://lianemoriarty.com.au/

Plot

The Husband’s Secret is a story about a prematurely read letter; and the three women whose lives interlink once the secret specified in that letter is suddenly discovered:

None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.

Cecilia Fitzpatrick

Cecilia Fitzpatrick is a happily married mother of three who, by the looks of it, has it all figured out. However, at the beginning of the novel, she is distraught and anxious about something.

Namely, sitting at the kitchen table, Cecilia wonders if she should read the unopened letter in front of her. It’s from her husband John-Paul, and it explicitly states that it mustn’t be opened before his death:

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

So, it’s that serious!

One thing, though, thinks Cecilia: “How exactly was she meant to have found this letter if he had died? She might never have found it!”

In fact, even now she managed to find it merely by accident. It was her daughter Esther’s remark about the Berlin Wall at breakfast that inspired her to rummage through the attic to find the piece of the Wall she had kept there ever since her travels as a young girl.

But, now the Berlin Wall seems like something utterly unimportant.

What is she supposed to do with this letter?

Tess O’Leary

Tess O’Leary has a severe husband-problem of her own.

She has just discovered that her partner, Will, has feelings for her cousin, Felicity. And that the two plan to move in together – into their very home.

Supposedly, this should be good for Tess and Will’s young son, Liam; in fact, Will believes that such a move should help Liam deal with the change in a much more relaxed manner.

Tess, understandably, doesn’t share his feelings. In her mind, she and Liam must get away from the chaos as soon as possible.

And they do: they go to Sydney, to stay with Tess’s mother.

It’s a nice arrangement since Tess’s mother has recently broken her ankle, and she could use the help around.

And Tess – well, she could use the break.

Rachel Crowley

Rachel Crowley is the least happy of the three women: almost all of the people she loved in her life are dead.

That’s not only true for her parents and her husband but, also, unfortunately, for her daughter, Janie as well, murdered brutally back in 1984.

Ever since then, Rachel has been living a half-life, finding some happiness only in caring for her grandson, Jacob.

However, at the beginning of the novel, her son Rob informs her that he and his family are planning to move to New York.

It seems like excellent news at first glance, but it is not for Rachel; she is visibly upset because she feels as if the last piece of cheerfulness is being taken away from her life.

Cecilia and John-Paul

Cecilia decides not to open the letter before calling her husband and telling him about it.

John-Paul asks from her not to read it. Even though he is a bit unclear as to why, Cecilia tells him that he will respect his wishes. They will talk things out when he gets home.

However – being merely a human being – deep down inside her she desperately wants to; because – once again, being a human – she is afraid that the secret the letter is hiding includes another woman.

When you take into consideration the fact that Cecilia and John-Paul haven’t had sex in a while now, her fears seem even more justified.

The Connection

Tess is about to enroll her son Liam into school when she bumps into Cecilia.

We find out that the two women know each other: they are old school acquaintances. And their children will probably be able to say the same in many years’ time, since Tess is enrolling Liam at the very same school where Polly, Cecilia’s daughter, currently goes.

And Rachel is the secretary at the school.

Things are starting to connect.

Connor Whitby

As Rachel is meeting Tess and Liam for the first time, Connor Whitby enters the office.

Connor is the Physical Education teacher at the school and is obviously not Rachel’s favorite person. And their animosity dates back to 1984 when the sergeant working on the case of Rachel’s murdered daughter maintained that Connor was lying about something.

In Rachel’s mind, that can only mean one thing: he has something to do with her daughter’s murder.

Flashback cut:

Rachel was supposed to take her chronically exhausted daughter Janie to a doctor the night she disappeared.

However, she instead went to Connor’s house after which she headed straight to the railway station.

And that’s the last place anyone ever saw her.

Back in the present, Rachel uncovers an old recording. It is of a video discussion between Janie and Connor which ends with a bit of an argument.

Rachel believes that this is not only new but decisive evidence in the case.

The Secret of the Letter

John-Paul returns home, and he and Cecilia passionately make love.

And all’s well until Cecilia wakes up in the middle of the night to hear footsteps in the attic. She realizes that whatever’s in the letter is so incriminating that John-Paul wants to do away with it immediately.

So, she heads to her office where she had put the letter after finding it.

And decides to read it.

It’s a confession: John-Paul admits in it that he was the man who killed Janie Crowley back in 1984.

Cecilia immediately confronts John-Paul; and John-Paul hides nothing.

He was deeply in love with Janie, and when she asked him to meet her the night of the murder, he excepted to be told that she is ready to take their relationship to the next level.

Instead, she told him that she was in love with someone else and that she wants to end it.

John-Paul couldn’t bear the pain and choked Janie to death, placing his mother’s rosary beads in her hands and immediately fleeing the scene.

He wasn’t found, and he wants some help from Cecilia not to be found in the future as well.

“Can you stay with me now, after finding out my darkest secret?” – John-Paul asks Cecilia.

At that moment, Polly comes in and “Yes” is the only thing Cecilia is able to utter.

Cecilia’s Torments

However, all hell is happening inside her head.

And when she happens upon Tess and Rachel at the school, she is so deeply affected that she faints. Tess takes her home, and she returns later to the school to fetch Polly’s shoes as well. There she meets Connor and flirts with him. He invites her on a date. And she agrees.

Meanwhile, John-Paul’s mother arrives for a visit to Cecilia’s house, and Cecilia brings up the topic of Janie’s murder.

To her amazement, John-Paul’s mother already knows her son’s secret. However, she advises Cecilia to act like her and keep it a secret still because its disclosure would help nobody. It won’t bring back Janie, but it will destroy John-Paul’s, hers and their children’s ­lives entirely.

Tess and Connor

Tess and Connor have an exceptional date which ends with an intimate rendezvous: both in physical and in a spiritual sense.

In other words: after they have sex, they tell each other their deepest secrets. Tess that she has marriage problems and that her husband wants to live with her cousin; and Connor that he was a suspect in the case of Janie Crowley’s murder.

Even though Connor fears that this is one secret he could have kept to himself, Tess stands by him, telling him that she believes that he is innocent.

Of course she does: she knows him for exactly one day!

Cecilia and Rachel

Rachel, however, knows Connor for a lot longer and she has a very different idea.

And when Cecilia comes over to her house to deliver her some Tupperware (there’s Tupperware everywhere in the novel!), she tells her that she’s very close to catching Janie’s killer, having uncovered some new evidence.

Cecilia, however, couldn’t possibly know that Rachel is referring to Connor and the videotape, and when she comes home, she tells John-Paul about this.

He convinces her that if such a thing ever happens (i.e., if there’s new evidence that involves him), he would turn himself in immediately.

Tess and Felicity

In the meantime, Tess is doing her best to forget about Will, a. k. a. she spends a lot of her time with Connor. At one point, Connor even invites her and Liam to fly a kite together; and, in spite of the fact that her mother objects, Tess accepts the invitation.

However, just before the kite-flying, the doorbell rings and Tess is shocked to find Felicity on the other side of the door.

Felicity tells her that Will is sad and that the moment she and Liam left Melbourne, his feelings toward her suddenly cooled off.

Who cares about that? – basically replies Tess; how will I ever be able to forgive either one of you too?

At that moment Tess realizes that because of her conversation with Felicity, she completely forgot about the kite-flying arrangement with Connor!

And there…

The Husband’s Secret Epilogue

There are John-Paul, Cecilia, and their daughters, riding bikes. Polly notices her teacher Connor in the distance, and she starts biking faster to reach him.

At the very same moment, Rachel is driving home from the police station, angered by the fact that the video conversation between Janie and Connor is not accepted as evidence. She notices Connor holding a kite; infuriated by the sight, she accelerates her car in his direction.

However, instead of hitting him – she hits Polly!

Polly survives the accident, but is badly hurt; so much, in fact, that she needs to have her arm amputated!

Distraught at what she had done, Rachel confesses that her plan was to kill Connor in retaliation for Janie. Cecilia can’t bear the burden of her secret anymore and tells Rachel that John-Paul is the real murderer.

John-Paul comes clean before Rachel as well; however, Rachel is incapable of doing nothing other than promising not to press charges – especially now when Polly needs her father more than ever.

In the meantime, Will and Tess decide to give their marriage one more chance – for the sake of Liam who adores his father.

The real secret of the book is revealed in the epilogue and is one – we are told – none of the characters will ever learn.

Namely, Janie wasn’t killed by anyone.

She didn’t die from asphyxiation but from an aortic aneurysm.

Her serious medical condition was the cause for her tiredness, which was the reason why she was supposed to go to the doctor the night she disappeared.

As we already know, she never made it to the doctor.

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“The Husband’s Secret Summary Quotes”

Falling in love was easy: anyone could fall. It was holding on that was tricky. Click To Tweet You’ve been here before. It won’t kill you. It feels like you can’t breathe, but you actually are breathing. It feels like you’ll never stop crying, but you actually will. Click To Tweet Marriage was a form of insanity; love hovering permanently on the edge of aggravation. Click To Tweet You could try as hard as you could to imagine someone else’s tragedy – drowning in icy waters, living in a city split by a wall – but nothing truly hurts until it happens to you. Most of all, to your child. Click To Tweet She longed to feel something momentous. Sometimes her life seemed so little. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Both Entertainment Weekly and People chose The Husband’s Secret as one of the ten best books of 2013. And if you ask us – it’s even better than Big Little Lies.

Honestly, we planned to reserve this section for a plea toward some Hollywood executive to buy the rights for this novel.

Fortunately, it turned out that CBS Films have been a few steps ahead of us. Even more fortunately, they chose Blake Lively to star in the movie adaptation.

That’s excellent casting: she should be a great Cecilia!

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