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for The Parting Glass

10/7/2017 c1 PelirrojaBiu
What a wonderful surprise and what a splendid story! It was heart-breaking but so well-written, made me miss your brilliant, brave and original style even more (I guess I will have to get back to your other stories to cheer myself up now, haha. It's so weird, I have the same feeling that I had whilst reading Begin Again - as if it wasn't an AU story at all but actual canon, as if all the happy moments of Maud's novels and your other romantic stories had never happened. Your writing is just so strong, Anne really is dead and Gilbert doesn't know how to carry on in a world where she doesn't exist. Help!)

I'm so glad you didn't take the "I'm a doctor and couldn't save my own wife" route. Instead we got Gil's ambiguous relationship with Joyce - not wanting to enter her room too often, his hesitant touch, but then his fierce connection to her and conviction that she has to stay with him. When he comments on Joy's hair, I wonder whether he actually wants it to end up red or not. On one hand he might love it, seing that part of Anne in his daughter, but on the other hand it would break his heart every time he looked at her, at least at first. I love that you left this little detail unresolved, for us to think about. And it's not just Gil's own grief, Diana is devastated as well, but oh so wonderful, being a true friend to Anne even after her passing, taking care of her baby in the best possible way, and with such sacrifice. As I was reading I somehow knew they wouldn't end up having sex, but their intimacy and craving for some sort of closeness, another person's warmth, made for a heart-breaking yet compelling and so real read.

My favourite thing about this story was how sensual it was: the light, babies' sounds, the smell of milk and soap and fire. As if all of that was life-affirming, as if you wanted to emphasise that life indeed does go on, even in that room where Anne had died. A true Anne story, but without Anne in it! I somehow had managed to hold it together, but then just had to cry when Joy's look pierced what was left of Gil's heart. My favourite line.

As always, even the title of your story has to be the cleverest thing ever. Diana indeed leaves a parting glass, or rather a bowl full of breast milk!

Oh, and I LOVED that he didn't wash his hands at the end! By this point he was already more of a father and less of a doctor. Brilliant!

I do hope that this "later" in your Author's Note means that we will have the honour and pleasure of getting another gift like that (well, with Anne alive, please!) in the nearest future!
10/6/2017 c1 18Alinyaalethia
Everything about this is bold and grave, from storytelling to description, to the limits you push the characters to as you explore the bounds of possibility here. I think I tend to agree nothing good would have come of Gilbert and Fi coming together except a lot of pricked consciences, but on the other hand you capture the catharsis of it perfectly. Everything is without an anchor, and that's vastly apparent in Gilbert's response to Joy. Anne was his world and without her, at first, she might be any baby to him. What's do lovely here is the way you evoke life, in the smell of the milk especially, and use it all to propel Gilbert back from this somnolent place he's been occupying, so that we leave him anchored again, and this time to Joy.
10/6/2017 c1 10Excel Aunt
I think in this context Gilbert and Diana would deeply regret sleeping intimately with each other. I understand the attraction that they would have, because the trust is already there, and there is loneliness to squash. They would be really raked with guilt for the rest of their lives!

I tend to reach far-but I feel that if there were a separation between Gilbert and Joy, say if he did allow Diana to care for her Joy during her infancy, that it would really negatively affect Gilbert. I'm not saying that he'd be as bad as Dr. Burnley was with Isle in the Emily of New Moon series, but I think there would be something. How is Gilbert not racked with guilt right now for the death of his wife? His a doctor after all? How could he ever look into his daughter's eyes, and not see Anne, not feel his failure?

You've set yourself up for a fairly good story, and I do wonder if where you're going to take this. I look forward to more updates!
10/6/2017 c1 CallmeCordelia1
Beautiful and devastating!
10/6/2017 c1 Guest
You are a talented writer and I have read ALL your stories! I feel very honored to be at the start of your story. I enjoy the fact that your character had real life emotions and temptations. I did, forget that Diana use to be crushing on Gilbert.
Can't wait to for the next chapter!
10/6/2017 c1 7wishwars
I think this was a very plausible scenario for what can come from grief, specifically shared grief. Besides Marilla, Gilbert and Diana were the ones who loved Anne best, and I think they must have taken some comfort from being with someone else who understood.
I do sometimes wonder why it's always Gilbert's grief we explore the most. Anne usually only suffers for a chapter when she worries Gilbert is dead, but we love fics that explore his agony which lasts a good part of a book and almost drives him to death. How would Anne react if Gilbert hadn't survived the fever? I actually see very few of those stories, and it's similar in other fandoms too. It's usually the male grief over the female that gets the most attention. Just curious!
Of course, now that you've made my heart ache, perhaps you can heal it a bit with a fic about Gilbert and Anne and milk of their own with a child whose alive? Maybe, please?
10/6/2017 c1 7DianaStorm09
Oh how I've missed your stories as I've craved sweet diversions from the dryness of dealing with statistics and probability!
This was such an exquisite story, and as always you surprised me bringing in a character that makes so much more sense than what I had imagined: Diana! And how beautiful Diana was, still after Anne's passing true to her best friend.
I loved how you wrote Gilbert, this mixture of anger, sadness and longing- it was absolutely perfect!
Thank you so much for sharing this gem of a story, and I I'm staying tuned for the original novel of yours :)
10/6/2017 c1 14elizasky
This is lovely and luminous. I'm glad you kept most of it in the night scene — it allowed me to imagine it moon-lit and shimmering, sort of poised on the cusp of unreality. Between the non-consummation of their grief/friendship and the lingering difficulty in realizing that Anne is really and truly dead, that liminality felt right.

Joy. What a heartbreaking name in a story like this. I think that names mean a lot, and this would be a difficult one to say, at least at first. Maybe someday it would be easier, but not for a long time. On the other hand, you have given us a Gilbert who does not flee — doesn't send Joy to Avonlea; stays and feeds Joy with his own hands. That is an important distinction and an important choice, both for you as a writer and for him as a person-I-often-forget-is-fictional.

I don't know whether you meant anything by the apple wood. They certainly did love apple wood fires in happy times, so there is nothing inherently sinister about it. But for me, the apples/apple trees/apple blossoms are so evocative of Anne and Gilbert together that to see apple wood burning is always going to be significant. I wonder whether he cut down that tree himself.
10/6/2017 c1 7Formerly known as J
Oh, kwaky, welcome back. I can't tell you how much I've missed your beautiful writing.
So imagine my delight to see a post from you in my inbox. I was all settled in and ready for a reading treat, but nothing could possibly prepare me for this. Nothing. I don't even know how to describe what happened to me when I read it - oh my god, what are you doing to me with this story?! This just completely blew my mind until I don't know which way is up!

Like you, I can't bear even the suggestion of a story without Anne, but somehow you have miraculously made me ADORE stories without Anne. How did you DO that? Not only that, you have made me want Gilbert and Diana to be together. Desperately. Even though I don't want Diana and Fred to be apart. Argh! How can any of this be? This story just proves what a sensational writer can do - and I can only bow down to the master, awe-struck. Breathtakingly honest, confronting and real. That's the sort of writing we've come to expect from kwak. But this, oh, kwaks, this was so much more. I'm afraid you've raised the fanfic bar so high with this story, you might have to start your own new category of excellence. Amazing.

Don't ask me to pick a favourite line, I can't. Of course I love Diana, and she was so beautiful here. But that final picture of Gilbert Blythe, with flecks of white in his hair, lovingly feeding his baby daughter, just brought tears to my eyes. This is one of the most gorgeous pieces of writing I have ever read, and it's proof that your writing does nothing but get better and better. You know these characters so well and this has shown me that you can do anything. Thank you for bringing this story into the light. And please, don't ever kill Anne again. But... are you writing more?
10/5/2017 c1 4OriginalMcFishie
Nooooooooooo. What are you doing to me? Elizasky's story, as brilliant as it was, haunted me. I was bereft for weeeeeeeeeks, and unable to explain to the world at large that I was devastated because my favourite character in a book died in a fan fiction. And now this. I hate Gilbert in so much pain, my heart goes out to him. The closeness between him and Diana - I agree with your explanation, in grief you do crave intimacy and lines get blurred. The poor boy must be exhausted. I find this grieving Gil a more hopeful character than Elizasky's, because he has Joy to live for. Joy, what a contradictory name name that she has cost her mother her life. I'm left wondering what it would be like to live with that and what her life will be like without Anne. As always you have my mind swirling with AUs and now I'm wondering what Anne would be like without Gilbert (horrid thought) and fear such excellent writing as this is going to spurn more AUs where one of them has died. This is beautifully written, and as you always do, shines a light on human nature in all its complexity. I love your writing, though the subject matter makes me deeply sad, but then, maybe I've lived in the HEA too long and it's healthy to balance it with the reality that we don't always get HEA, or that life can talk that away (don't you hate healthy?).
10/5/2017 c1 8Catiegirl
Well, if anything, you've sharpened your skills, Kwak, this is incredible in detail, in emotion and those sensory details that make your writing amazing. It was a blow to the heart, that was for sure- despite the presence of beautiful, little Joy. A Joy without Anne is something I never read. I love that a part of this story is Gilbert learning to approach her again- to take his daughter to himself again. I loved the image of him feeding her again, and refusing to let her go.
The Diana/Gilbert thing was so messy and painful, and so hauntingly real- in storybooks we don't often allow ourselves to be so conflicted, and it is so strongly human. It made me feel as broken as the two of them must be here. The idea of being someone's wet nurse is terrifying- for this reason exactly, the blending and blurring of lines- and how could it be more blurry that this? I'm no fan of the Continuing Story (although it makes more sense as a wildly improbable AU perhaps) but this made me remember that blurring between Anne, Fred and little Dominic, something that struck me when I first saw it. I agree, when we are this broken we do crave those things that bring us closer to life again and I'm glad Diana had the sense to not go though with it, for the sake of when the storm of grief is over. Susan's staunchness is wonderful, and so necessary. The chapter does exactly what you said it would- bringing that shade out. It is an incredible piece of work. Although, I'm taking that as a promise that you won't kill her again, Kwak- I don't think I could bear it if you did!
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