The Lantern Read-Along: Parts III-IV

Augh! Why am I stopping here?? I need to get back to the book and see what happens oh my goodness.

Ahem. No, no, I’ll be good and stop and answer these here questions without foreknowledge, and then I’m going to go snuggle with The Lantern some more. Well, probably not, I’m probably going to go watch some television. But the sentiment is there! This book is good!


1. The title of this book is The Lantern, and a lantern makes an appearance in both of the stories. In Benedicte’s past, it had a meaning, but what do you think the lantern signifies in her future and in Eve’s story? What is this hard question? Am I back in Marling’s class? Is this a terrible dream? Okay. Think. Lantern. Well, so, in Bénédicte’s story the lantern is a sign of love between Bénédicte and her man-friend except then that love goes all to hell, so I’m guessing that might play a part in Our Narrator’s story. Other than that, I have to admit I wasn’t paying as much attention to the lantern as to the insanity of Bénédicte and Our Narrator’s lives.

2. Carl mentioned scents in last weeks questions, but they have been addressed even more in these sections. What significance do you think scents have in this story overall? I’m really intrigued by the scents here, as they are more obviously signifying the presence of certain people (or at least their imagined presence), though I’m not keeping careful track. I also like watching the characters try to explain away the scents, unsuccessfully.

3. What do you think of the combining storyline of Marthe? She connects Benedicte, Eve, and Rachel. What do you think will be revealed about this connection in the next sections? Um. Well. It piqued my interest when it turned out that Rachel was also interested in this Marthe person, and that Sabine had had ulterior motives in saying, “Hey, maybe you should look into this.” And I like that there is now a second connection (besides place) between the two narratives. But I’m content to leave the connection at that for now.

4. Now that things are beginning to move along, what do you think of the characters? Are any standing out for you? Do you particularly like any? Dislike any? Well, I’m going to go punch Sabine in the face for being completely indirect about everything, and then I’m going to have to go punch… well, every other character for the same reason. I am not a big fan of this lack of honesty and openness here. In fact, I think I’d have to say that I don’t particularly like any character in this book.

5. What do you think really happened to Marthe and Annette? What do you think the significance of the bones in the pool are to the story? Especially now that it has been revealed that Rachel is also dead. First, I’m going with it’s been “revealed” that Rachel is dead. I’m not trusting anyone at this point. Though dead makes perfect sense. And I definitely think that Pierre managed to bury Marthe and Annette under the pool, considering Pierre and the description of the bones, though I suppose that those fancy forensics people probably should have figured out if the bones were thirty years in the ground by now, so maybe that’s just a red herring? It could be that Rachel’s under there, too, after poking around too much into Marthe’s story. Conspiracies!

6. Do you have any other things you think are significant to talk about? Are there any other predictions to be made for the last two sections of the book? I really want to know who this mystery woman wandering around the grounds is — is she Bénédicte’s ghost? Rachel? A figment of everyone’s imagination? I’m also a bit disappointed that Papa was dispensed with so easily, as I really wanted to know more about his particular brand of parenting. And, of course, I’d like to know just how large the stick up Severan’s ahem is. I don’t want to make any predictions for the rest of the book, but let’s just say that I will find it very interesting if Rachel ends up under that pool and if mystery woman happens not to be a figment.

7. Lastly, what do you think of this book overall? Other than for the read-along, why are you reading it? Is it meeting your expectations? Oh, I am all about this book. If I didn’t want to at least attempt to savor it, it would be read already. And I’ve already recommended it to my book club in the hopes of reading it again! So… yeah. Excellent. I wouldn’t have picked it up but for the read-along, but now that I’ve started you couldn’t make me stop.

11 thoughts on “The Lantern Read-Along: Parts III-IV

  1. Alison says:

    Grace — ME TOO! I actually decided that I have to let the book alone for a few days so my brain can forget most of the crazy theories and I can finish it without spending all my time guessing at what will happen. 🙂

  2. Carl V. says:

    Its funny because I hadn't thought much about it until reading your comments, but I'm not sure we are meant to “like” any of the characters in this book. It isn't particularly that kind of book. I am not sure that I would be as intrigued by all the mystery of it if I actually liked any of the characters. By being suspicious of them all and annoyed by their lack of open communication I am being pulled right in to the strange events as they unfold.

    I'm really liking this book, it is exactly what I hoped it would be for an October read and I am so pleased to be reading it and discussing it along with all of you. I wish we could all sit down over coffee and hot cider and talk about it once it is all done.

    I'm suspecting Pierre of placing the bodies under the pool at this point, but I guess we'll see. I'm not all that put off by the police, guess I've watched so many police dramas and this seems to be a pretty standard way for them to act: suspect everyone and see what shakes out.

  3. Kailana says:

    lol I was all proud of my first question until I went to answer it myself. Then I thought maybe I was a bit too smart for my own good. hahaha 🙂

    I am glad you are enjoying the book!

  4. Alison says:

    Stephanie — Yes! I took my last English discussion class in the spring of '08, so I feel the same way. Sometimes I miss dissecting the heck out of everything, other times (like this one) I'm totally okay not doing that. 🙂

    Natalie — Why won't she?! Oh, these people are giving me a headache. I have never been so disposed against an entire cast of characters and yet liked a book so much!

  5. Alison says:

    Carl — Yes, it is true that my antagonism toward the characters is really keeping me going with this book. I want to know WHY they're all so crazy! And it is indeed a perfect October read, even if my climate is not yet conducive to hot cider. 🙂

  6. Alison says:

    Kailana — Haha, I said that to my husband, that even you couldn't answer the question! I admit I felt a little better about myself then. 🙂 I feel like that question will become easier to answer once we've gotten through the whole novel, yes?

  7. Kate says:

    Ok, your answer to question 1 is perfect! I know I didn't participate this week, but I too looked at that question and actually thought, “Huh? 'Eve' has got a lantern going on somewhere too?” Ah, paying attention ftw.

    Also, on your answer to question 5…I spent a good amount of time thinking that a body that'd been underground only for a few years would have been slightly more, um, (icky? runny? obvious?) than something from thirty years prior, so I was going with Not Rachel's Body at that point too.

  8. Alison says:

    Kate — Yeah, attention is good, I guess! I will definitely have to re-read this one to catch everything. And as to dead bodies… yeah, ew. 🙂 Also, bodies decomposing for thirty years totally explains the ever-cracking pool!

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