Selfish, Party of Tania?

SPOILER ALERT:  Don't read unless you have read 17% of The Summer Garden.

I am livid.  Shura is TRYING to talk - really TALK - to Tatiana about his dreams...which is such a catharsis...and what does she say?  "I don't want to hear this". 

Um, WHAT?!?  Are you KIDDING ME?!?  Hearing this is EXACTLY what he needs from you - but you want to sweep it all under the rug?  That's it, Tania.  Just close your eyes and it'll all go away.  So tell me - are you really Russian?  Because right now you're seeming really Irish to me.  Just ask my Irish mother about sweeping things under the rug.  She'll tell you all about it.  Or not.

UGH.  And we were going to find out what he was doing in Deer Isle...but nooooo...Tania has to ruin it.  And he was going to get some relieving answers about her time in New York - but nooooo...Tania doesn't want to talk about it. 

The more I think about New York - the more I know that's Shura's biggest obstacle.  And you know why?  Because he's a control freak.  He can't stand the fact that Tania made her way in the world without him.  She worked - had friends - had a life.  And although it kills them both that she did it under HIS false pretenses, she did it.  She lived.  She wasn't relying on him for a thing.  And he hates that.  And you know why?  Because it means she can leave him at any time and be fine.  But he would NOT be fine.  He knows his life had zero meaning before she dazzled him in her white dress with red roses and ice cream dripping down her fingers.  Yet for her, there are plenty more Shura's out there...withOUT bad attitudes and swastikas on their arms. 

AND YET - here she is - ignoring, worse...AVOIDING him - when he wants to try to work through his problems and BE the husband she needs him to be.

Oh I am just so annoyed.  God this book is good.  Especially for an overly analytical fool like me. 


  1. I think something we have to remember is that Shura was a man back when "men were men". This was the 1950's. I don't think that his POV is really all that surprising. Men didn't want their women to work outside of the home. Possessiveness was the order of the day.

    Now our men help us with the dishes, the laundry, the children. (Those that feel the responsibility to stick around, I mean.) It's a nice improvement. But, men have lost some of that "manliness"(as well as possessiveness) b/c we have demanded they change.

    I love my husband..........really, I do. But for heavens sakes, I just want to hit him when he can't even make a decision about where we should eat, or go on vacation.

    But, some things are lost when others are gained. I guess.

    And remember too that Tania is suffering her own silent hell as well. Trying to glue back a husband, a relationship, a son, herself.............

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  2. "God this book is good" I love how you end your ranting post with this statement - I feel the same way! I get SO frustrated with the characters, and yet I absolutely LOVE the book. I'm not sure if that's ever happened to me before. I'd say that's a true testament to Paullina's amazing writing. This is truly a no holds barred look at a post-war couple trying to find their way back to each other again. No flinching!

    I do think that Tatia is just as (or at least almost as) broken as Shura, but she's better at moving on and dealing with day-to-day life (moms don't get a day off, right?!) Remember how she became the dependable one in her family during the seige of Leningrad? Such a 180 from the beginning of TBH when she didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning.

    I do wonder if part of what is bugging Alexander is that he tried to escape so many times (17?) and failed, and then here comes tiny little Tania who pulls off a kickass rescue practically by herself. And then, like you said, he really doesn't know how to process her time at Ellis and NYC (paging Dr. Edward...)

    Wow, I'm really rambling here....keep posting - I love it! :-)