Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tatiana & Alexander: Book Review/Future Movie

Rating: 4  
            Adult Fic-would not recommend to anyone under 18

Tatiana & Alexander Review is NOW open for discussion. Remember once open it will be ongoing! :)

 Due to a busy work schedule and visiting family, I haven't had a chance to get these photos up sooner.  Enjoy and we look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Click here for recipes from our series. :)  

Ellis Island

I can only imagine what a young pregnant 18 year foreigner would think seeing this FINALLY!

Time Square, NYC, early 1940s

Central Park early 1940s

Kresty Prison

The Gulag

Sinyavino Heights.  Click here for more info on Russian Penal Battalions.

Colditz Castle

Joseph Orbeli, Hermitage Curator during the WWII
Orbeli is on the left at the Nuremberg Trials


View of Sachsenhausen from the infirmary

I found pictures of Russian POWs, but due to sensitive nature for some viewers, I did not post them. Click on the link for photos and information.

I heard this the other night and I instantly thought of it as a great theme for our amazing and breathtaking couple.  


  1. Wow again thank you LB for posting these. Seeing Colditz and Sachsenhausen its eerie that they look exaclty as imagined. I love that you post pics. It helps bring the story even more alive.

  2. *As I imagined but I am sure you understood that LOL!

  3. You are so welcome Jess! I am still trying to hunt down interior shots of Colditz castle, but this is the best I could do. :) Did you click on the POW link? That was intense for me and yet exactly as I imagined the prisons and prisoners.

  4. Sometimes this blog likes to play tricks on us and eat up your posts instead of posting them. If this is the case, andyes it'shappened to me too (boooo!), email us and I will post it for you. Just leave a name/ID so readers will know who the comment is from.

    And with that, I bring you OpenBook's post:

    Hi LB-

    I tried to post before and realized I needed to sign in. However, I wanted to say excellent research. U have really provided a whole other visual dimension for readers to contemplate. Thank U!

    I also visited some of the links u provided and I must say it is so heart wrenching to read about. I think Simons really illustrated the morbid conditions of the Soviet people during this period really well. I've stated before this Trilogy is so much more than a love story. I think the love story is used to comfort readers while testifying about this horrific period that's rarely talked about. I for one could not endure hearing about these events other than the way Simons has presented them.

  5. OB,

    You are very welcome! Since this book is so historical I really felt strongly about providing as much information that I could to bring the story more to life. I have so much to say regarding Alexander's 4 years of warfare/prison, but I will wait till our discussion. :)

    Again, so glad you enjoy the pictures!

  6. Hi everyone!

    Sorry I am late! I accidentally slept in (which was actually very nice) and then my mouse wasn't working, so I had to restart everything! Anyhow, I will be here for the next few hours and depending on you reviewers, I may be able to stay longer.

    My first questions are:
    What is your overall feeling/opinion about T&A? Were you disappointed? Did you enjoy it as much as TBH? Explain. :)

  7. Hi LB-

    Good Q. In all honesty I found it quite funny to read at times. I think she balances melancholy, suspense and humour really well in this one. I think at the end the climax picks up culminates flipping back and fourth between humour, suspense, melancholy that leaves the reader emotionally spent at the end. Especially after having all this set up time in the beginning of the book.

    I thought Simons really showed Tatiana & Alexander coming into their own as individuals and adults, which I thought was quite real and a natural progression. She answered my Q from the first book was this a relationship built on lust? Can they stand the test of time and distance? Yes! She establishes that really well when they both remember and draw on each others strengths while apart which propels them to survive and keep going. I found the first book celebrated Alexander's strengths, while giving some background story on how he got it. Where as the second book shows Tatiana's. Does this makes since?

    All in all, I think the story could have been tighter but it's still worth reading. Perhaps this is why Simons felt it necessary to do a re-write of this book.

    Sorry! I missed the discussion yesterday. However, if u have more Q's ask away.

  8. I'm sorry. Let me clarify a statement I made about Alexander.

    I said: "I found the first book celebrated Alexander's strengths, while giving some background story on how he got it."

    I meant to say: "As told from Tatiana's POV the first book highlighted Alexander's strengths and weaknesses and the second book gave the background story on how he attained them. Also, the second book defined Tatiana's strengths in detail and demonstrates her courage which makes the ending believable for her character."

  9. Hi OB!

    I enjoyed this book and enjoyed getting more of Alexander's background. I really thought Paullina did a great job of giving us his story of moving to Russia, what Communist living was REALLY like, and allowing us to see the man he had become the moment he met Tatiana.

    I agree with all your comments, but wanted to pick out a few to discuss. I never really felt their relationship was based on lust, but it was definitely in a honeymoon stage, despite the grief and tragedy surrounding them. Alexander has been with many woman, but Tania is truly his first love and vice versa. It's when the honeymoon stage wears off that one realizes what true love really is and are you willing to stick together through the thick of it!

    I also agree that they drew upon each other's strengths, which...hang on, I'll save that question for the end.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it and though I know there are many fans of the series who didn't enjoy it as much as TBH, I can understand that. Shoot! At least 3/4 of the book they are apart. HOWEVER, I feel it is a necessary and realistic look at war and relationships. So many couples are apart and have to be able to keep working towards each other. I also think it is a great transitional book for The Summer Garden.

    Ok, now for questions!!! How would you have liked the story to have been "tighter"? Also, and this is for all readers, how do you feel the internal "will to survive" was used in our protagonist's lives? Particularly, that of Alexander. If you look at the pictures and read the info of what he and real life soldiers experienced, you have to wonder if those who survived had a stronger will to live? Or does it not make a difference?

  10. Ok I'm here! Aaaand I'm still not done with the book so I can't fully say how ibfeel about it. But so far I LOVE this book. Not as much as the first but then that is in a whole different category to me. I love learning about Shura and his life love it. And then his struggles and trying to survive in the present. He is just so amazing. I have more to say but I guess I will wait till I am finished.

    The part I'm at now is Tatia has now heard Obelis trial and is for sure going to find Shura, ooh my god when I read that she found out from Sam that he was alive I freaked! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    Overall since I'm not done yet this book is really good. TBH was alot more emotional. Always jerking you around. And as t and a is also it sort of helps you through it by giving you flashbacks. And you know that even though they are apart they still feel themselves in each other to go on. And how powerful their love is to make it through SO much. Like when Shura tries to cross that bridge before he meets Pasha and he just barrels through and ospownsky can't remember how to spell his name is yelling at him about it. And Shura says " it's not my blood!" ohh god even in the darkest Shura felt her and I believed survived because of it. Just love this story! So much!

  11. Hi Jess!

    Yes, that part with Alexander saying "It's not my blood" was quite beautiful. It's as though he feels he is getting through all his trials because of Tania.

    Do you think the "will to live/survive" is real? I realize Alexander is a fictional character and part of the story is for him to live and continue the love story, but in real life, do you think this internal force exists?

  12. Well even when Pasha and Shura are talking about how God has always looked after Tatia as if she is immortal. Which they cover in TBH and when Shura gets her blood he also felt immortal. Such a beautiful part indeed.

    I actually do think it is real. However looking back on Shuras life he was always stronger then most the soldiers he knew and fought with. So that onto of now having Tatia? The man should of died 2334 times. But like he told Ospowsnky or whatever, "I have no intention of dying!" or something like that, his love and need to survive just to see his baby and love was so powerful. And enough for him.

  13. I agree. I think the will to live is real. And you are absolutely correct: Alexander was always the strongest soldier and leader. I think with physical and mental stamina and a desire to live, we can get through anything. I think the will to live is our way of controlling our life. I can imagine Alexander thinking, "There is no way in hell I'm dying this way!" He doesn't have a give up attitude. Plus, remember, as a young teen living in Russia, he lost all hope and purpose (pg.113). When he meets Tania, all that hope and purpose comes flooding back and I don't see him allowing those two spiritual necessities to leave him again. He will do whatever it takes to get back to his love and child.

    What are your thoughts on Harold and Janie Barrington? What did you think of their desire to live a communist life and give up their citizenship? How did you feel about the way in which Janie handled the circumstances and pretty much abandoning her son by drinking herself into a stupor?

  14. FYI, all questions are for all readers and reviewers! :)

  15. I agree completely on how Shura found hope again when he met tatia. I mean he then says he beleves in god because of her!

    Jane and Harold. Hmm where to begin. I think they were overstepping their beliefs by just up and leaving the US for a communistic way of life. I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into when they left and gave up their citizenship. And when they saw first hand how hard everything was they started slowly breaking down. They knew that they made a huge mistake and by bringing their son into it? That made it worse. The only was Jane could deal with her mistake was by drinking. To make herself completey out of it to take herself away from what she did. Itvwas sad because even when Shura tried to help her by giving her one drink she still went back to drinking. To her getaway. She did try and help Shura that was a sad part. Uuuh when she said what Shura said when he talked to The doctor. "my fate is set. But hers is wide open!" and knowing his momsaid that to him? Oh how sad!

    Harold on the other hand dealt with it different. He pretended to love it no matter what. Even in the end until the sad part of seeing his son for the last time. He had to seem strong for his family. And he was! It just putt such a toll on them.

    Overall their decision whether it's wrong or not if they hadn't of come Shura and Tatia would never of met...

  16. I wish we knew a bit more as to why Jane and Harold came to this conclusion of a different life. I can't imagine taking my children to another country and giving up my citizenship without being 100% certain that this is IT. Of course, out of that experience, it propelled Alexander down a path that would ultimately lead him to Tatiana. But from a parental standpoint, it was very disheartening and depressing.

    I felt Alexander was left to raise himself in a sense. Yes, his father was there, but when one parent is drunk and the other is in denial, he was pretty much on his own.

    Ok, now I've depressed myself...let's talk about favorite moments!

    What are some of your favorite moments in T and A? When you listen to the song and reflect on their experiences and relationship up to this point, how do you feel? And if you think the song is lame, that's ok too! :)

  17. Ok sorry I took so long I think the baby is allergic to sleep!

    Now my favorite parts so far have been the flashbacks with Shura and Tatia. Like Lazarevo sexy time parts! Seeing more of Shuras pov is hot and amazing! Also I love the parts of Shura fighting in the war. He is so strong and that makes him even more irresistible!

    I can't hear the song on the iPad but I will tonight on the putter I promise!

  18. And the pages of the quote where Shura says what his mom says is:

    TBH 847

    T and A ( Jane) 117

  19. Thanks for the page numbers, Jess!

    Some of my favorite moments:

    When Alexander sees Tania for the first time and what goes through his mind.

    The playfulness between Tania and Alexander in Lazarevo. I particularly loved the scene where she falls asleep in his lap and we get to hear what he is thinking. He truly, truly loves this woman.

    Alexander and Tania's immense strength to push through their physical and emotional suffering of being apart. I think they do lose themselves a bit, but underneath there is something stronger within them, propelling them forward on their quest.


    When they are reunited at the camp. I can't even imagine all the emotions running through their minds and hearts. One of my favorite lines out of this book is when Alexander tells her that despite everything he suffered and endured, having her find him meant EVERYTHING (pg. 554).

    And I know this is a very odd moment to say is a favorite, buuuut, that moment in time when they are in the barn and Tania is falling asleep while Alexander is smoking. It's that moment when she opens her eyes and as Paullina wrote, "...she found Alexander sitting mutely and staring at her with an expression of profound emotion." I can only imagine the love, awe, gratefulness, wonder, and amazement he has for her.

    Paullina does a beautiful job of portraying these very intimate moments that could easily be lost in translation. She writes in such a way, that you can feel what her characters are feeling when adjectives aren't even used.

    Phew, ok, now I'm emotionally exhausted having just re-read those parts. I better call it a night. I shall return!

  20. Ok I scolled really fast past the spoiler! LOL

    I agree with the Tatia and Shura losing themselves at parts but something inside them tells them to move forward and that is only eachother!

    I loved when she fell asleep in his lap that part was so sweet.
    I can't really give my full opinion on the part where he see's Tatia for the first time because I haven't read the TBTHC book yet with the extra scenes which i need stat. Because my oppinion on the US version of T and A in that part was very well not what I expected.

    K listened to the song! *sobs* it's great for them! And really beautful! Wow. And this coming from someone who hears alot of songs and puts it in with them. LOL I think it is perfect for how they are seperate and always have Lazarevo and eventually will find eachother if they keep faith!

  21. *Scrolled
    Dang auto correct.

  22. Jess--Yes, it is perfect for them and I always go back to Lazarevo. This story has given me the notion that all couples need their own Lazarevo. Wherever and whatever it is, we all need that "place" that is just for us. Is it here? Maybe. Is it in eternity? Most definitely so, IMO. So glad you enjoyed the song. I've listened to that sucker at least ten times...oops, make it 11. Listening to it now!!! :)

  23. On a scale of 1-5, what would you give this book?

  24. From Open Book:
    Let see where to begin? I think T&A was a great follow up book but it was not as refined and methodical as TBH. I think adding more of Alexanders POV with flashbacks and present day would have added more intimacy to the story (given they were apart for most of the book)this would have tightened up the story IMO! Simons decision to wait and have the major dramatic action toward the very end was very rewarding for readers. Tatiana's character development was great I just think there needed to be more Shura... Does that make sense?

  25. Thanks OB. What kind of flashbacks would you have liked added?

  26. Hi LB-

    Hearing Alexander's POV during the blockade and his relationship with Dasha would have been great. Also, his POV after seeing Dimitri with Tatiana after Luga & the Hospital would have been interesting. I have more to say but don't want to take up too much space. LOL!! So if u have more Q's I will be happy to elaborate.

  27. OB,

    Please share everything on your mind! You can't take up enough space. :) we all enjoy your comments!!!

    I think US publishers did a disservice editing the original version. Everything you want is in the first version, The Bridge To Holy Cross. I will get those parts to you. I will send them in chunks. :)

  28. OB said:

    Thanks LB for the information on TBTHC. I hopefully will have it next week.
    Ultimately, I do believe Tatiana's & Alexanders love was genuine and not built on lust. I think the War caused many people to get real quickly about their feelings for one another. I think Alexander forced Tatiana to wake up in TBH, which saved her life and his. AMAZING!!!

    I saw T&A is 576 pages and TBTHC is 676 pages long. That's quite alot chopped out. So far I have only read T&A so I don't think I can really give an accurate review of Simons 2nd book. Once I read the other version I will come back and give my review.

  29. I agree with you about getting Tania to open up her eyes. He got her to see that there was life outside of what she knew. He helped her to grow up and look at the amazing woman she became!

    I can't wait to hear back from you! :)

  30. U Said: "He got her to see that there was life outside of what she knew. He helped her to grow up and look at the amazing woman she became!"

    GOD is so amazing that way!! Our little imaginations can't compare to how he sees us. Love it!!

  31. O.k. I think I can post now. LOL!!

    Yes! Simons really is a compelling writer. I will definitely come back and share my thoughts after I read the other version. However, Jess and your comments are wonderful to read. Thanks for sharing your reviews!!

  32. Ok girls, I need to know what you would rate this so I can average it out and put a ranking on this bad boy! :)

  33. Sony said:

    Sorry for being so late with my comment, LB!
    To start with the ranking I would give this book a 4. I really liked it and I agree with you, Jess and OB, it is a great follow-up book but in comparison to TBH and TSG (which get a 5+) I didn't find it quite as compelling. I am a very impatient person and therefore - I admit it ashamed - I had to read the end of the book first...As soon as I knew how Tania found him and that they were able to escape and to go back to America I would start reading it properly. But in contrast to TBH I had to refrain from skipping some pages from time to time because I was so eager to learn more about Shura, about his childhood, about his parents, the first years in Russia, the first woman in his life, how he spent the weekends before knowing Tania(and wow did he spent them!!), how he met Dasha and what his thoughts were when he met Tatiana for the first time, that I was nearly neglecting the parts about Tania. Of course all these parts are important to understand how they both became the persons they were when they met on June 21, 1941, but nevertheless, I cannot get enough of Shura.
    I know I'm greedy but what I really would have loved is to get the whole passage of Lazarevo - as it was written in TBH - completely in Shura's POV! I'm totally upset that neither in my English nor in my German book the hospital scene in Shura's POV is included, I'm afraid that only the first Australian version of TBTHC contains it but I hope that someone has this book and can post about it here because I'm sure we are all dying to read this, aren't we? :-) On the other hand I found one scene in my German book that was about two sentences longer than the English one (usually there are a lot of parts missing in the translated versions), it's about Shura's increasing jealousy in the last days before he has to leave Lazarevo and it made it more intense IMO. Sorry for this long post, I hope I didn't annoy you to hell."

  34. Well Sony, I have to admit I am just like you! As soon as I bought the last book I had to read the last few pages even though I already knew how it sort of ended. :) I will make copies of the excerpts I have and send them to you. I don't have the hospital scene because that was the original, original version. I'm still hunting it down.

    Would you translate those last few sentences for us and post them here? I would love to read them!

    Also, and this for all of you, why do you think Shura is such a jealous man? How did he become this way? And is their a distinction between being jealous and obsessed? I think Alexander suffers almost from an obsession yet he's not a complete control freak. Hmmm...I can't wait for TGS because you get to see so much more of both their personalities.

  35. How do you think this book would be best played out in a film?

  36. Tonight's discussion at LIH was on romance and war movies. We discussed TBH and who we would cast as Alexander. OB mentioned the actor Robert Pattinson. While I was at first opposed to the idea, she got me thinking. I won't post the comments from there, but please take a look at some of the great facts she gives to support her idea of him as the lead.

    To keep things on topic there, I am putting my response here:


    You made time on the treadmill go by faster because all I could think about was your thoughts about casting RP. I would have said no way at first, but considering there are actors out their who butcher the crud out of a character that was written a certain way, *ahem*, I think I could really support your idea. Without rehashing what I have previously stated, let me add this: characterization and chemistry are extremely, EXTREMELY important. It's like the whole beautiful person/crap personality syndrome. You can meet a highly attractive personality who ends up having the personality of a rock. You can then meet another person who is somewhat plain but has the most intriguing and charming personality. Eventually each person's personality overtakes their looks. I think it's the same way for me with this character.

    Do I want the director to keep the physical traits to Alexander as close as possible, yes! But as long as I can watch the movie and say, "THAT is Alexander!" based on the acting ability, I don't care who plays the role.

  37. Hi LB,
    I tried to translate the short passage that is missing on page 382 in my English version of T & A: "All Vova has to say is, "Don't worry, Alexander...before him in the chair, looking flummoxed.
    His raging jealousy is boundless, pouncing on every schoolboy in Lazarevo. It gets worse with every day that his departure gets nearer. And in the course of this night it reaches its climax.
    "Let me ask you", Alexander says and so on. I know it's really short but I find it important, showing that Shura is coming closer to losing his mind out of fear to leave Tania behind without him.

  38. LB-

    U are too kind. However, no one has to agree with me. I just see Alexander's character as very culturally aware given his parents exposed him to the world outside and around him at such an early age. Also, having examined some of RP's natural cultural interest and artistic tendencies there are few actors his age who innately have that IMO. Anyway enough said. I would love to hear what everyone else thinks.

    P.S. Great, reading Sunny's additional comments to this discussion. Now, I can't wait to read "The Bridge to Holy Cross." Thank U!

  39. I meant to say Sony. Sorry! I spelled your name wrong. I NEED COFFEE.....

  40. Sony and OB ( and Jess):

    You ladies have no idea how happy I am. :) thank you!!!

  41. Hi LB and OB,
    thank you for your kind answers to my comment. I'm still considering the question why Shura is such a jealous man. Maybe one aspect is that he knew so many women before Tania and the way they behaved (IMO all the girls that went to Sadko's were sluts, sorry if I'm being rude but I can't find another description for them) disgusted him. And then he found Tatiana who was completely innocent and If I remember right he told her several times that it was her total innocence that he loved so much (for example in the hospital scene). She was the complete opposite of all the women he had before her, she was "sacred" to him (I know this is from TSG and should not be stated beforehand...) and he had total panic that somebody else might even touch her, she should not be "tainted" by anybody else. Just my 2 cents...

  42. Sony, I'm going to raise your two cents, and add that Tania is everything good in the world to Alexander. He even tells her he has been looking for her all his life. After suffering so much in his youth, losing someone who has given him a rebirth would just send him over the edge. I'm going to try out your recipes this weekend!!!!!

  43. Now that's a great, great, great Q Sony. I'm going to piggy back on LB's Awesomeness. LOL!! If I may. Here's my little theory.

    I believe Alexander has abandonment and trust issues given he's an orphan. Tatiana wears her heart on her sleeve, how she feels is written on her face. Alex, feels safe and needs to feel he can trust her. We know that form TBH. However, Tatiana is a bit like Harold an idealist, a progressive and adventurous, which is scarry to Alex. Soooo! Alexander is afraid Tatiana will get bored, which triggers his fear of abandonment and causes him to be extrememly possesive/jealous. O.k. I'm done. LOL!!

  44. OB,

    ITA with you on your assessment of Alexander. He is always afraid (imo) that she is going to leave him.

  45. yes i have crawled from the depths....LOL

  46. Ok ladies, here is a question for you:

    If you had to choose between someone loving you with the intensity and jealousy of Shura and that of someone who was indifferent enough and didn't really care, who would you choose?

  47. Paris

    Hmm! U made think of Gorky. "The Lower Depths" for some reason. Nice to see u!! I have missed u. Hope all is well....

  48. U said: "If you had to choose between someone loving you with the intensity and jealousy of Shura and that of someone who was indifferent enough and didn't really care, who would you choose?"

    Answer: Great way to stir the pot LB. LOL!!
    Hmm! I seem to attract very passionate creative people for some reason. So I guess they would fall into the intense/jealousy category.

  49. HAHA! Never stirred a pot before but sweet!!! I would pick someone like Shura as well. At least with someone who has such passion for me, we could go to counselling to work on toning down the jealousy. With someone who doesn't care, can't make a turnip bleed. :)

  50. OB,

    Good to see you too! :-)


    I would choose Shura and live with that choice.

  51. Sony,

    I think Alexander is jealous of anything that encroaches upon him and Tatiana because he doesn’t have to pretend with her. Does that make sense? He was taken away from everything he knew when he was 11 and taken to a new country and told that “this is the correct way” to live. When his mother finally figures out that the communist way of life is not for them and the mistake that was made, she tries to take him to the U.S. Embassy but there they are both turned away (even though he never rightfully gave up his citizenship) his parents are killed and the authorities are coming for him. He then gets arrested and ends up jumping from a train, living with a family that dies and assuming their identity (there again lying about himself) he finally trusts Dima (selfish prick) about himself and we all know where that got him in the end So I can see where he would have some trust/abandonment issues.

  52. LB,

    I think the only hospital scene in TBTHC from Shura's POV is the Grechesky one where she breaks her leg and he goes to see her and does stuff to her and has to put his rifle against the door. (ok i'm done. LOL) If the one where he is wounded and Ina tells him what Tatia did for him is in the original we need to find that but i read paulina's site and i think the only scene is the Grechesky one. I could be wrong though. :-)

  53. Hi Paris and OB,
    yes, Shura indeed has some trust/abandonment issues and deep down he fears that Tania might leave him but IMO that's no wonder with all the loss he had to deal in his past.
    And I would for sure prefer someone as passionate as Shura (and jealous like hell) over somebody who's indifferent...
    I would love to read this hospital scene (the Grechesky one) from Shura's POV; there was someone on the site that emailed it to the readers who asked for it and gave her their email-addresses but I'm not sure whether this is still an option to get this passage. Why the hell did they omit this scene in the T & A version? WHY???

  54. Sony, I will send it to you!!!

    And Laura I agree with your assessment as well.

    Ok, I want to bring up Tatiana and Vicki. Vicki will also be in TSG, and have a fairly significant role. What do you.think of their friendship? What of following your instincts, like Tatiana.

    And ladies, ya'll gonna need to get in line, because I got Shura dibs first. Hahaha!

  55. I would also like to make mention that as someone who appreciates history, I feel Simons has done an amazing job building a realistic love affair around historical and accurate events. The places and experiences make me feel as though I am reading a couple's memoirs and not a fictional story.

  56. I have a Q for all of u.

    What publisher has the best version of TBTHC?
    London, Australia or New Zealand?

  57. Sony, Paris & LB

    Love reading your comments about Oh! Shura....
    Great character breakdowns. Love It!

  58. Hi LB

    RE: Vicki & Tatian's freindship?

    Well Vicki is Italian, passionate, romantic and carefree. So Tatia is drawn to her because she's Italian and passionate like Alexander. However,she's a bit self absorbed and romantic like Dasha. Vicki likes Tatiana because she grounds her in reality and opens her eyes to the world and accepts her for who she is. I also believe Tatiana recognizes Vicki is afraid to have children of her own or a real realtionship for fear she will end up like her mother.

    Godd Q LB!

  59. I have a Q.

    As u know Alexander and many men and women during this period loved their cigarettes. Now I think Marlboro will definitely be a good sponsor for this film. LOL!! However, in this day in age given the adverse feelings people have toward cigarette smokers. How do u feel about men and women in film smoking? Do u find it sexy or a turn off?

  60. Great comment and.great question. Personally, I hate it. But I will write more when I have an actual keyboard. Hahahahaha! :)

  61. LB-U are an amazing typist on your phone.

    Well, I'm allergic to cigarettes and cigarette smoke. So I avoid people who smoke like the plague. LOL!!

    Yet, in films cigarettes are a great visual metaphor to convey a characters appetite or weakness. Given Simon's has written Alexander to have a lot of internal dialogue I don't see how u can avoid cigarettes not having a starring role IMO!!

    Maybe Paris can help me out!!

  62. I agree. And I have so much to say about his smoking!!!!

  63. Ok,

    OB, I agree with your assessment of Vikki, which in turn...nope better save that for TS. :) You basically said everything I was going to so *claps, claps, claps* . Great mind! I would like to add, that Tatiana loves taking care of people and Vicki is someone who does need to be taken care of. She's needy in her own emotional way, but still a very loyal friend. I think Tania feels useful helping Vicki through her ordeals, just like she enjoys helping soldiers in the hospital. As we all know, Tania is always putting others first...which does come to bite her in the bum. But we all have to learn the hard way sometimes.

    Now as for smoking. I hate it. I think it is one of the nastiest habits, yet I can understand why people enjoy the addiction. I hate the smell and when I was pregnant I purposely went out of my way to cough like a lunatic when I passed someone on the street who was blowing their smoke in my direction. OB, it always bothered me that Alexander was such a smoker, and yet given the time frame, I know it was just a normal part of life. In TBTHC, you will see that he smokes like a chimney in winter. At times he goes through a few packs in one sitting. I can only imagined how the man smelled most of the time. Blech! But I still wouldn't kick him out of bed...;)

    I agree that if the smoking serves a particular purpose or is a very integral part of the character it's ok. I just don't like smoking just because someone needs to do something with their hands. On the whole, I find it a total turn off.

    Ok, started TSG this afternoon and within 30 pages I already have so many questions to ask you!!! But I'm just marking for I don't forget.

  64. Ok, on top of my Vikki/TAtiana characterization and OB's great question on smoking, I want to add another topic I am surprised we have NOT yet talked about!!!!

    Alexander loves making love with Tatiana. It was always just sex before, but he says they have a "communion" which I take to believe that not only are they connecting physically and emotionally, but spiritually. When he is reunited after Tania finds him, this is one of the many times that the love making is extremely intense. What are your thoughts/theories as to why Alexander uses love making the way he does? How did you interpret his emotions in the barn?

    I think there are moments when you are with your significant other, where you are feeling so incredibly close to them that despite having sex to show that emotion, sometimes it's not close enough. Paris and I had this discussion a while ago. I see Alexander and Tania souls so deeply tied that sometimes it's like he is trying to get inside her soul and have that "where two become one" thing. Does that make sense? In my peanut brain it does. haha! :)

    Ok, GO!

  65. U Siad: "When he is reunited after Tania finds him, this is one of the many times that the love making is extremely intense. What are your thoughts/theories as to why Alexander uses love making the way he does? How did you interpret his emotions in the barn?"

    Answer: I think the lovemaking in the barn was to confirm Alex was not hallucinating. I think Alex was trying to re-connect his mind, body and spirit quickly before he lost his mind, which made the lovemaking rather violent. Remember Tatiana recalls it was like his body was coming down off the cross? Given I have only read T&A I can only comment so much about this scene. Sorry!

    I have more to add. Will come back later.

  66. RE: The Smoking Thing.....?

    I can't even begin to judge someones addictions. Given my love for coffee and a few other obsessions I care not to mention on the Internet. LOL!!

    However, I just wonder given how PC people are today. Would audiences protest to Alex being a chain smoker?

  67. U Said: "What are your thoughts/theories as to why Alexander uses love making the way he does?"

    Answer: Given I have not read the other versions I'm going to come at it from a slightly different perspective. Alex feels alone in the world so he desires to find someone he can trust and give over himself completely. Meaning, mind, body and spirit. After all he's had sex the other way and finds the physical not satisfying his mind and spirit. That's why he tells Tatiana in TBH he want's everything from her.

  68. Love it OB! You are pretty right on with your thoughts on Shura. That scene in the barn is pretty much the same in both books. I'm looking forward to our discussion on TSG!

    And I agree that I have my own obsessions. :) Shoot, I hope I didn't offend smokers out there! It's just not my cup of tea. I think people who understand the era and what addiction is about won't be offended by the smoking. I think it's those who, dare I say are ignorant, that may have a problem. I know a lot of judgement was passed on a particular incident in TSG. Unless you have been in that scenario or known someone who has, you really can't make judgements. You can have your opinions, but you can't make judgements on something you don't understand. I had a great lesson in that.

  69. LB-

    I had this thought which all of u might have already concluded. So I may be on the late train. LOL!!

    Does anyone believe the reason Shura & Tatia got along so well intimately because they were naked spiritually first? Simons uses food as a spiritual metaphor to convey Alexanders desire to consume her love for him through food. What are your thoughts?

  70. YES! I feel like from the very beginning there was such a strong spiritual connection. The fact that they couldn't be intimate for a very long time forced them to get to know one another that way. The girls Alexander was with always "wanted more", but he couldn't give it. With Tania he wants everything and in wanting everything he gives entirely of himself.

    It's so ironic that you should write this OB, because I happen to be at the part in TSG where there is the literal standing before one another naked and accepting each other for who they are. I think they had that same spiritual connection early on. I strongly believe that when you have connected emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, the intimacy and physicality of being with one another is that much deeper.

    Gosh, I hope that made sense. :)

  71. OB,

    Another answer to your question: TSG p. 130. :)

  72. Hi LB!

    That made perfect sense and wonderfully put I might add. I for one believe lovemaking is a ceremonial celebration of two souls coming together to express the desire and need to become one. The greater the desire and need the more extravagant and extensive the ceremony.

    Paullina Simons understands this so well in defining the metaphysical lovemaking of Alexanders & Tatiana for readers. So that readers will look beyond the act itself.

    I can't wait to talk to u about TSG! The theme I keep coming back to over and over again that describes this book. Is compromise!

  73. Compromise and HOPE!!!! yes, I agree!

    Sometimes I think Alexander and Tania just want to shed their skin and just be soul to soul. You know?

  74. Yep!ITA....

    So how's the recipes coming along? I really want to try the beergarita. LOL!!

  75. I will check out pg 130 in TSG. I forgot. What Q did I ask? I'm sure I will remember when I see it. The coffee has yet to kick in.

  76. haha!!! Me too, I need to go get my diet Pepsi STAT! The page refers to your question about the intimacy and being naked spiritually first. :)

    And the recipes are...a work in progress! Trying out Sony's potato pancakes today and beef stroganoff this weekend. I have a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce. That's as far as I've gotten. I still have to make Blincki! I'm hoping to have it up by the time we review. :)

  77. At our last LIH discussion, I proposed this questions and am bringing the question, and OB's response over to this review:

    I said:

    Depending on how TBH gets made into a movie (and if they choose to do the trilogy), I think it stands a fantastic chance of being a great war film in depicting the realities of combat during WWII, the Russian Penal Battalions, starvation, insanity, and torture and gruelling life in POW camps. I think it will be difficult to stomach, but if done correctly, open-minded individuals will have a greater appreciation for what the Russians suffered.

    OB, slightly off topic, but I would like to know your opinion. Do you think the war/prison flashbacks in TSG should be included in T&A/TBTHC if a movie is done? For example, how Alexander got his war body?

    OB said:

    Good Q LB-

    IMO in film it’s better not to be subtle. Only because audiences need a director to be clear about what he or she is trying to say. Especially, when there’s so much action happening like in T&A. So yes IMO showing how Alex received his wounds should be included in the film to have enough impact and clarity between the love story and the war so audiences understand their suffering, sacrifice and determination to be together. The English Patient is a perfect example of what I’m talking

    What do you think, everyone?

  78. I'm sorry that I'm a bit off topic with this but I've just read the hospital scene in Alexander's POV (thank you a million times, LB for scanning it!!!) and I have to admit that I would like to kick the editors of T & A in the a** for omitting it. Honestly, I wanted to read it because it was the first time Alexander really touched Tania and I was so curious about his thoughts and to learn how it felt for him. But this scene is so much more, it's incredible. You see the tender and vulnerable side of Alexander and how much Tania means for him (now he knows he's not alone any longer) and all the possibilities or non-possibilities he takes into consideration now until he realizes that they have no chance to be together under the present circumstances, not with her family around, without having a bit of privacy, without any place they could possibly go. In addition you get a clearer image of Dasha and how stupid and self-centered she was for not seeing anything, not Shura's reaction to all of her ideas, his denials, his retreats, that he's doing his best to keep her at arms' length; instead of any reflection she goes on and on keeps pestering him with her wishes. And you get more background info on Dimitri and the Damokles's sword he holds against Alexander.
    So sorry for this rant, I will answer some of your questions, LB and OB, in my next post but I had to get this off my chest.

  79. If T & A should ever be made into a movie I think the war and prison scenes should be included because you need to know what happened to Alexander's soul and body. Otherwise you won't understand his behaviour in TSG, his internal struggle to leave all this behind and also to get an idea of Tania's reaction to his wounded self.
    And although T and A have such a mental, spiritual bond from the beginning, they know that their chances to have a physical bond as well are beyond zero under the circumstances at the 5th Soviet. Tania realizes that long before Alexander does. So when it finally happens in Lazarevo, it is so much more than they ever could hope for - to be alone in his tent in the woods, nobody interrupting or disturbing them, that this is the last piece to fall into the puzzle that makes them both complete, now both having a whole heart and not missing the other half of it. I hope this makes any sense at all, sometimes I really would love for English to be my first language...

  80. Sony,

    You said it so beautifully and I would never guess that English wasn't your first language!

    Lazarevo has two meanings for me: 1) the place where their relationship truly started and was at it's most innocent. They were alone and carefree and the world could not get to them. 2) a metaphorical place for each of us. We all should have our own Lazarevo, wherever that is. We all need that place with our partner to go and escape from the demands of the world. Where we can play our own strip poker, rail tracks etc...and be fun and carefree. Lazarevo could be a candle lit bath for two, a week getaway to Napa Valley, camping in the mountains, etc...the most important thing I've realized is that we all need that place to go to, whether physically or mentally. We need to hold onto that ideal. I've said this before, but I imagine these fictional characters spending eternity back in Lazarevo: young, full of life, and no worries.

    Blah, blah, blah. Sorry. :)

  81. OB,

    Please share the parts that you enjoyed from TBTHC! I would love to know because there was so much missing from T and A and you always have such insightful comments. :)

  82. Sorry LB I just saw this....:(

    First: I must say Sony, I'm impressed by your post. I would stop saying English is not your native language. U express and speak it better than I do and it's my first and only.

    Umm! Let's see LB. What did I enjoy about TBTHC? It was nice hearing Alex POV when he went to Lazarevo. Especially, when Tatiana falls asleep on his lap while reading. It seemed holding her made him feel reticent, secure and comforted. That was my favorite scene.