“The Rent Collector” by Camron Wright

13628812

 

Pages: 304

Published:  September 2012

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the quotes from literature incorporated into the story.  I enjoyed the historical piece,  learning about the Khmer Rouge revolution and the genocide that occurred.  I also appreciated the friendship between Sang Ly and Sopeap.  It was interesting to see Sang Ly see the world differently through literature.

However, I did not feel like the representation of the people living at the dump was accurate or believably portrayed.  I felt that the tone and manner of the characters was off.  There was something almost blissful about the way these people viewed their homes and their way of life that did not ring true to me.  Here were a group of people living in utter abject poverty on the edge of a garbage heap, making their living picking through trash, barely surviving.  They were dealing with gangs, starvation, children being sold into prostitution, and health issues.   I did not feel that the author was truly connected to and connecting the reader to the extreme poverty and desperateness of the situation.  I felt the storyline was an easy enjoyable read that all came together nicely in the end, however it was all hard to swallow. 

I have previously read Katherine Boo’s “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” and felt that she did an amazing job in researching and writing that book.  She lived in Mumbai among the poorest of the poor who also worked as trash collectors and documented their stories in her nonfictional account.  I would highly recommend skipping this book and reading that book instead to get a more accurate rendition of living and social conditions in a slum.

cambodia-1

Map of Cambodia:

Phnom Penh – the city where Sopped grew up as well as where the dump is

Prey Veng Province – Sang Ly’s homeland

5-24-00-truckback25-24-00-womanfoodclose

 

 

 

 

Pictures and details about Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal wastedump in Cambodia.

There were several quotes I liked from the book, including the following.

“People only go to the places they have visited in their minds.”

“If we dive into the pool before it’s full, we’ll hit our heads.”

“Literature is a cake with many toys baked inside – and even if you find them all, if you don’t enjoy the path that leads you to them, it will be a hollow accomplishment.”

Discussion Questions:

  1.  How would you describe Sang Ly and Ki’s relationship?
  2. Do you view Ki as a hero?  Why or why not?
  3. How would you describe Sopeap and Sang Ly’s relationship?
  4. Why do you think that alternative medicine finally works Nisay?
  5. What role does luck play in the novel?
  6. Why do you think Ki is leery of Sang Ly learning to read at first?
  7. How do you think that Sang Ly’s ability to read will affect their lives?

 

Review by the Book Dragon

Reading Group Discussion Guide from Camron Wright’s website

 

 

“Herbie’s Big Adventure” by Jennie Poh

29058881

 

Pages:  41

Expected Publication Date: September 1, 2016

 

 

This is a beautifully illustrated, endearing story of a hedgehog about to set out to forage on his own for the first time.  It teaches about seasons, a mother’s love, leaving home, and separating from mom.  It explains what foraging is.  It teaches what it means to be brave, to overcome fears.  Indirectly, it also teaches about hibernation.  I interpreted the giant snowman in the story as a version of “Old Man Winter,” telling the animal to go to sleep, to hibernate.   When Herbie awakens, it is spring and he reunites with his mother.  The story is told in a way that all the senses are involved.  The words are noisy, soft, soothing, windy, rough, cold, wet at all the right times.  It is an adventure for all the senses.   The illustrations are lovely: sweet and natural, with special appeal to children.  I give this book images-2 and would recommend it to 2-6 year olds.

Discussion Questions:

  1.  What is foraging?
  2. Why does Herbie fall asleep while he is out foraging?
  3. What season is it when he returns home to his mother?
  4. Why was he gone so long?
  5. How long do you think he was hibernating?

Jennie Poh’s Blog

“The Heart Goes Last” by Margaret Atwood

24388326

Pages: 308

Published:  September 29, 2015

Awards:  Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction (2015)

 

 

 

“Then he’s unconscious.  Then he stops breathing.  The heart goes last.”

A wacked, absurd novel that becomes obvious satire as the novel continues.  As I read this book, I initially took it very seriously, trying to connect with the characters, understand motives, etc.  However, by the end with the organ harvesting, blue bears knitting by inmates for the pedophiles, sexbots, green man group, Elvises and Marilyns it became obvious that the book is entirely satirical and meant to be comical.  It also serves as a cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for.”  Having someone who loves you only because she has had the laser treatment may not be so fulfilling and rewarding in the end.  Perhaps loving someone so completely is easier if you think you’ve had a brain surgery to make you do so.  This novel is very dark and makes you realize that the author believes we are heading as a society in a very unsavory direction.

I was so excited to embark on this novel after reading the premise:  a couple destitute in this futuristic world decides to sign up for “Consilience,”  a social experiment, where you spend alternate months in a prison and in a home with stable jobs within the confines of Positron.  Their relationship becomes strange and a whole lot of sex ensues, none of which is really sexy.  Their freedoms have been lost by joining this program and they have seemingly signed their own personalities away as well.  They become different, much more superficial in their needs and wants.  It’s almost as if having decisions made for them is appreciated, especially on Charmaine’s part.

I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood.  This is the 7th novel of hers that I’ve read and maybe my 6th or 7th favorite of them all.  She’s an excellent writer and this is humorous/chilling social commentary, but I just didn’t connect with it as well as I have some of her other novels.  I must give it images-2 even though it wasn’t one of my personal favorites of hers.

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Charmaine continually alludes to her life preceding Grandma Win.  What do you think happened then?
  2. Why do you think Charmaine keeps quoting Grandma Win’s sayings?
  3. Why is Stan leery of getting involved with his brother, Conor, prior to entering Positron?
  4. What is the significance of the blue teddy bears?
  5. Why is it significant that Charmaine has an affair with one of their alternates?
  6. Why do you think Charmaine is willing to kill Stan?
  7. Why do you think Jocelyn coerces Stan to watch the tapes and have repeated sex with her?
  8. What do you think Jocelyn’s full agenda is?
  9. What kind of business do you think Jocelyn and Conor are in?
  10. Do you think Aurora and Phil are happy in the end?
  11. What do you make of Jocelyn’s information at the end to Charmaine for her one year wedding anniversary?  How do you think this will affect Stan and Charmaine’s marriage?
  12. How do you interpret the title?

New York Times Book Review

NPR’s Review of The Heart Goes Last

“The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires

18383325Pages: 32

Published:  April 1, 2014

Awards:  OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award Nominee (2015), Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize Nominee (2015)

 

Wow!!  What an amazing book with a beautiful, truly insightful message for young children!  I just loved it through and through!!  It is the story of a little girl who wishes to create “the most magnificent thing.”  Despite all her efforts it does not come out as planned.  She is frustrated and upset, but is able to calm herself down with a walk.  When she returns to look at her work, she slowly realizes the goodness and rightness in pieces of what she has created and is able to work with that to achieve something she is quite happy with and proud of. It is a message that even adults need to hear and can learn from.

The illustrations are lovely.  I love the black and white backgrounds against the colorful foregrounds where the action is happening.  I love the writing style and think that there is so much new language and vocabulary that can be developed in the reader by the reiterations of different verbs and adjectives in the sentences.  This is a book that can be read again and again, and new things will be noticed, learned and appreciated.

I received this as a netgalley ARC, so was surprised when I read it to my children and they told me they had already heard/read it “thousands” of times at school.  I now realize, it had been published 2 years earlier, so I’m not at all surprised that schools are making this a part of the curriculum and school experience.  I highly recommend this to all children ages 3-10! images  It is wonderful!!

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  What is the most magnificent thing that she attempts to make?
  2. What are some of the ways she tries to modify what she made so it will be as she imagined?
  3. Why does she get so upset?
  4. What does she do to calm herself down?
  5. What is something you would like to create?  How would you like to go about making it?  Do you think you might get frustrated along the way?  How might you help yourself to calm down?
  6. Do you think taking a break from work might be a good thing?  Why?
  7. If you were to have an assistant help you with your magnificent thing, who would it be?  Why?
  8. Do you think it’s ok to not be able to make something exactly the way you wanted to?
  9. The girl in this book, keeps trying, she perseveres… what do you think would happen if she just gave up after she got mad?

Ashley Spires’ website

Teaching Guide for The Most Magnificent Thing

“Too Many Moose!” by Lisa Bakos

27015381

 

Pages:  40

Expected Publication:  July 5, 2016

 

 

A memorable, masterful story that is melodious, metrical, mesmerizing, merry and  amazing.

My children immediately picked up on the alliteration throughout the book.  “Mom, did you notice that the moose spend all their time doing M things?”  This is a whimsical tale of a girl who mail orders a pet moose.  It is so fun to read because of the rhyming, alliteration and poetic format.  The illustrations by Mark Chambers are a perfect fit. They, too, are cheerful and comical.  This book is pure delight.  I give it images and would recommend it to all 3-8 year olds!

Discussion Questions:  (My children & I had a great time discussing this one.)

  1. What letter do you keep hearing throughout the book?  What are some examples?
  2. Do you think a moose would make a good pet?
  3. If you were to order an animal for a pet, what would you choose?  Why?
  4. Would you get upset if your pet moose used all of your shampoo?
  5. How many pets do you think are reasonable?

Lisa Bakos’ website

“Miller’s Valley” by Anna Quindlen

26131641

 

Pages: 272

Expected Publication: April 12, 2016

 

 

 

This stream-of-consciousness style story of a small town written from the perspective of a 65 year old woman looking back on her life beginning in childhood was a beautiful portrayal of her life and her closest connections.  I was disappointed at points that there wasn’t more emotion.  I wasn’t sure if the lack of emotion had to do with a high level of emotional maturity on the narrator’s part or if it had to do with the book being a reflection back of more than 40 years.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story line and the portrayal of a family with ever-changing dynamics.  They live in Miller’s Valley which is threatened by increasing floods by the misplanned Roosevelt’s dam. There is much mistrust of outsiders, yet everyone hopes to escape themselves.   The narrator is Mimi, who grew up with two best friends in town, LaRhonda and Donald.  Donald moves away to California and Mimi discovers that LaRhonda isn’t much of a friend.

Mimi is the youngest of three children in the family.  Ed, her oldest brother, goes to college and then marries a woman from somewhere else.  He returns from time to time, but is viewed like an outsider.  Tommy, is the most beloved and the middle child.  However, after enlisting in the Vietnam War, he returns a very changed/damaged person.  Mimi’s aunt, (her mother’s sister), Ruth lives in the house behind them, locked in by her own fears, as in a prison.  Interestingly, Mimi’s father is her biggest defender and then after his stroke which leaves him aphasic and weak on one side of his body, he chooses to spend most of his time at Ruth’s.  Mimi spends her time researching the dam and the ultimate fate of Miller’s Valley for her science project her senior year in high school.  She keeps mostly very quiet about her findings, not wanting to rock the boat in the the small town or disrupt her family life.

It was an enjoyable read,  about a small town, about a family, about returning home and remembering what is important in life. It would definitely appeal more to women than men.  images-2

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Compare and contrast Donald and LaRhonda.
  2. Compare and contrast Ed and Tommy.
  3. What is the significance of Miller’s Valley in this novel?
  4. Why do you think Ruth hides away?
  5. Why do you think that Mimi’s father spends all his time at Ruth’s house after his stroke?
  6. Why were Ruth’s father and Donald’s father so attached to Miller’s Valley?
  7. What do you think became of Tommy?
  8. What was Mimi’s mother’s thoughts on physicians?
  9. What were your thoughts on Steve?
  10. Did you expect him to cheat on Mimi?
  11. Were you surprised that Mimi never discussed her abortion with anyone?
  12. Who do you think was the father of the baby found in Ruth’s attic?
  13. Do you think Mimi’s mother had any idea about Ruth’s baby?
  14. Do you think that the government people were purposely letting the water flow out of the dam a little at a time to get the residents of Miller Valley to move?
  15. If Ruth and Buddy were in love, do you think Miriam knew?
  16. What is the moral of this story?
  17. What is the meaning of “home” in this novel?

Anna Quindlen’s website

“The Summer Before the War” by Helen Simonson

25776122

Pages:  496

Expected Publication:  March 22, 2016

 

 

 

 

This historical fiction novel is set in the idyllic countryside of Rye the summer before England enters WW1.  It begins as a comedy of manners as Beatrice Nash arrives at the home of Agatha and John Kent to be the new Latin teacher in Rye.  Agatha’s nephews are there for the summer as well and there develops a romantic interest between Beatrice who has decided not to marry and one of the nephews who had planned on proposing to another woman.  The social milieu of the time is explored throughout this book.   The book explores society’s reaction to divorce, upward mobility, women’s rights, homosexuality, pregnancy outside of marriage (even if the result of rape).    The scope of this book is large.   The reader gets to know the Kents, their nephews, and Beatrice intimately through this novel, as well as their closest friends and associates.  You learn how the politics and society are deeply entangled in the way the town functions and decisions are made.

All plans for the future are turned on their head with the start of the war, however.  First, refugees from Belgium arrive and are taken in by various residents of Rye.  After getting to know and love so many young people in this idyllic setting, the young men begin going off to war.  Some are injured, some are killed; all are affected by the war in different ways.  People come together in ways they wouldn’t have pre-war.  You watch the social fabric and rules start to change in subtle ways.  There is a dramatic shift from prewar to wartime notable in the pace of events.  The speech even changes from verbose to succinct.  As Daniel says to Hugh, “War makes our needs so much smaller.  In ordinary life, I never understood how much pleasure it gives me to see you.”  The characters realize more than ever, through war, what and who is most important to them.

I loved the characters, the hilarity of the social scenes, the budding romance between Hugh and Beatrice.  I loved the social banter, the eloquent wordy ways in which they would argue and criticise each other, especially pre-war.  The characters were very well developed such that I truly cared about them, who they ended up with, and how they fared.  I thought that the contrast between the pre-war scenes and after war was declared very well done.  The final reveal in the epilogue was something I had been wondering the entire book, and I was glad that that piece finally came to light.  I gave this novel  images-2  for a brilliantly written, enjoyable novel complete with family drama, societal etiquette,  romance, and major societal commentaries on the values held by the people in England at the time.

My favorite laugh-out-loud scene in the book is when Agatha Kent and Beatrice Nash are naked sunbathing in Agatha’s garden the morning following Beatrice’s arrival in Rye.

East_Sussex_Map

 

Map of East Sussex, where Rye is

 

 

 

Map_Europe_alliances_1914-en.svg

 

Map demonstrating the military alliances of the time

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Who was your favorite character and why?
  2. Why did you think Agatha Kent favored Daniel over Hugh?  Did this change after reading the epilogue?
  3. How would you describe Daniel’s relationship with Craigmore?
  4. Why does Lord North dislike Daniel?
  5. How would you describe Hugh’s relationship with Lucy Ramsey?
  6. Is the role of social class and standing more or less important in this novel than it is in modern day England?
  7. How would you describe Snout?
  8. Why did the school not want Snout to take the Latin examinations?
  9. Why do you think the Marbely’s felt that Beatrice needed someone to overlook her finances?
  10. What was the common view of the suffragettes?
  11. How does Agatha Kent wield power in this novel?
  12. What are the accepted roles of women in this novel?
  13. Why do you suppose that Celeste’s father sacrificed her to the Germans that were burning their city?
  14. What is the real reason that the German nanny is sent to America?
  15. What is your opinion of Mr. Tillingham?

 

Helen Simonson’s website

New York Times Review

Lit Lover’s Discussion Guide

“Forty Rooms” by Olga Grushin

25716695-1

 

Pages:  352

Published:  February 16, 2016

 

 

 

 

Brilliant, insightful, imaginative,  philosophical and unique!  This novel, written by Russian born Olga Grushin is an incredible read.  It is a collection of short stories each taking place in a room that the narrator has lived in or spent time in during her lifetime.  The stories initially are set in Russia and then move to America when the narrator travels there for college.  There are so many life truths illustrated beautifully within this novel:  the twists and turns life takes us on; it’s meaning;  the perceptions of others as well as ourselves;  the changing vision and perspective of life as we age;  the rooms we choose to inhabit and their impact on us.  This was so despite, or perhaps as a result of, the overwhelming use of fantasy/magical realism within the book.

This novel is so powerful and rich with language, metaphors, imagery, mirrors and reflections.  There is so much depth to the novel added by the insertion thoughts that the various other characters are having; by repeating scenes with different scenarios, leaving it open to interpretation what might have actually transpired and what was fantasy;  and of course by the magical or fantastical characters.  The whole novel has a “dizzying,”  dream-like quality to it.  Many of the scenes occur, followed by Mrs. Caldwell waking up.

The novel is divided into parts which represent different time periods in Mrs. Caldwell’s life.  Within each part are chapters representing the rooms within which each of the short stories occur. Forty rooms was very purposely chosen.  As the narrator’s mother tells her: “Forty is God’s number for testing the human spirit.  It’s the limit of man’s endurance, beyond which you are supposed to learn something true.  Oh, you know what I mean- Noah’s forty days and nights of rain,  Moses’ forty years in the desert, Jesus’ forty days of fasting and temptation.  Forty of anything is long enough to be a trial, but it’s man-size too.  In the Bible, forty years makes a span of one generation.  Forty weeks makes a baby.”

In the beginning of the novel, the young Mrs. Caldwell hopes to achieve immortality.  She wants only to write poetry and devote herself fully to that art.  She is told by her Apollo that “the meaning of a single individual human life,.. consists of figuring out the one thing you are great at and then pushing mankind’s mastery of that one thing as far as you are able, be it an inch or a mile.”  She really does work hard at her poetry and it seems all-consuming until she meets Paul and settles into married life, not even telling him her aspirations or love of writing poetry.  She becomes a mother in a foreign country, with no friends and does not even learn to drive for quite some time.  She seems to have lost herself and is trapped in her family life, and in so doing, her marriage starts to fail as well.

I loved that this novel encompassed an entire life.  The reader is able to observe the changes occurring from childhood through adulthood to the very end.  It leaves you wondering how Mrs. Caldwell’s  life might have been under different circumstances or had she made different choices.  As a mother to young children who has made career concessions of my own, I felt swept away with this novel eager to hear the author’s final message or verdict on what might the right path be.  I think this book is amazing!  It is wonderfully written, incredibly insightful and sends many powerful messages!  I must say, this book would appeal much more to women than men and would make a great book club read.  images

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  What do you think is the meaning of life?  How does it change as we age?  Do you think that meaning is different for men and women?
  2.  Where is truth in this novel really found?  In the real life circumstances or in fantasy?
  3. What is the perspective on the “showing of wealth”:  the large house and the many belongings and how it affects people?
  4.  Paul makes a statement about how easy it is to stay at home.  How easy is it really?  What sacrifices are made?
  5. Why don’t you think Mrs. Caldwell ever confronted Paul about his affair?
  6. Do you think her poetry was ever any good?
  7. Who is Olga to her?  Does she exist or is she fantasy?
  8. Do you think the man who visited her mother in the afternoons was real or fantasy?  Do you think this is the same person as her Apollo?
  9. How might her life have been different had she gone back to Russia?
  10. How might her life have been different had she gone to Paris with Adam?
  11. Why do you think she kissed Adam in the wine cellar?
  12. Do you think Mrs. Caldwell ultimately led the life that made her happy?
  13. What are Mrs. Caldwell’s reasons for having children?
  14. Her grandmother tells her she won’t find happiness unless she gets greedy and looks for it.  Does she follow this advice?
  15. What do you think makes for a happy life?  Is it the small moments as Mrs. Caldwell alludes too?
  16. What do you think the author’s opinion is of the institution of marriage?

Olga Grushin’s website

New York Times’ Review

“Ways to Disappear” by Idra Novey

 

25746685

 

 

Pages: 272

Published: February 9, 2016

 

 

 

“Ways to Disappear” is a humorous mystery novel whose protagonist is an American woman in Brazil, searching for the woman whose novels she translates into English.  The author utilizes hilarity, magical realism, stories within stories, imagery, and subtleties of word meaning to create her lovable, lyrical, beautiful novel.

Emma, the protagonist,  feels very close to her author, Beatriz Yagoda, through her works as well as her yearly visits with her.  Once she hears that Beatriz has disappeared, seeming into a tree with her suitcase and cigar, she immediately packs her bag and heads to Brazil, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend.  Brazil, and the exciting search for Beatriz, seem a separate and freer world for Emma, one where she is happier and more herself.

The events that ensue are hilarious.  The characters are interesting and perfectly described. I thought the subtext about the difference between American and Brazilian ways of life very accurate and entertaining.

I couldn’t help wondering while reading this novel if the author was a translator herself, which I realized at the end of reading, that she was.  Now I wonder how much of the novel has a root of truth versus fantasy of her own.

This was an excellent read, such an enjoyable ride!  I highly recommend it to everyone.images-2

brazildisappear

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you describe the relationship between Miles and Emma?
  2. What is the reaction of Marcus and Raquel when Emma arrives?
  3. What differences in culture between Brazil and the United States are highlighted in the book?
  4. Why do you think that Beatriz uses characters from her novels when contacting Rocha?  What additional meaning does this lend her communications with him?
  5. Do you think that Raquel questioned her paternity prior to reading the manuscript on her mother’s computer?
  6. Do you believe that Beatriz is still alive at the end?
  7. The novel is preceded  with the following quote:  “For a time we became the same word.  It could not last.” by Edmond Jabes, Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop.   How does this relate to Indra Novey’s novel?

Idra Novey’s website

NPR’s review

“My Sunshine Away” by M. O. Walsh

 

22367526

 

 

Pages:  306

Published:  February 10, 2015

An NPR best book of the year, New York Times best-seller

 

 

“My Sunshine Away” is a coming-of-age mystery novel set in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The narrator is a young boy who falls in love with his friend and neighbor, Lindy.  His love is persistent throughout the transformations of identity that Lindy undergoes in the aftermath of being raped.  This young boy is also dealing with other big issues:  divorced parents, a neglectful father, and the death of a sibling.

The mystery in this novel is who the rapist might be.  There are several unsettling characters in the book that are suspects.  The narrator himself briefly appears to be a suspect.  He is hiding something, but we do not know what.

I enjoyed the lush descriptions of Baton Rouge immensely:  the culture, the food, the people, the nature, the impact of Andrew and Katrina.  Some of the chapters that were about Baton Rouge could have been stand-alone short stories, and very good ones at that.

The book is written from adulthood, reminiscing back about 20 years, but he also spends time speaking of his current life:  adulthood, marriage, his wife’s pregnancy.  These adulthood chapters were less interesting to me.  I felt that there was a comparative lack of passion, or maybe even disingenuousness,  when the narrator was describing his adult life.   Yes, it was nice to have the complete picture of how everyone turned out, but it felt  unnecessary to me.   The narrator also inserts certain facts about children who have been raped, children who have grown up with divorced parents or suffered the death of a sibling, as well as facts about the foster system.  The facts felt instructive, yet were interesting.

I give this book:  3-stars , well 3.5.   It was well written, had great character development and dealt with some weighty coming-of-age issues.  Saying that, I did not feel deeply affected by it.  I would definitely categorize it more as a young adult read, and I think for the younger reader, it would be more pertinent and affective, more of a 4 star read.  I also think reading about a girl’s experience of rape, from the perspective of a prepubescent boy who is “in love” with her, only added distance to the horror of it.  Perhaps, to the male reader, it would be more meaningful.

images

crawfish-07

 

Baton Rouge, LA

 

 

 

 

crawfish & corn

 

 

“All I saw were drunk and sweaty people, sucking the heads off insects,”  says the narrator’s friend from Michigan

Spanish_moss_at_the_Mcbryde_Garden_in_hawaii

 

 

Spanish moss (with lice)

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  It seemed like there were no consequences to Bo Kearne’s behavior.  How do you think this affected him?
  2. Did you ever think while reading the novel that it could have been the narrator who committed the crime?  Why or why not?
  3. What were your thoughts about Lindy’s parents approaching potential suspects with the police?
  4. How does Lindy change after the rape?  Is it immediate or is there a delay?  How do you feel the “outing” of the rape affects her?
  5. What is the effect of group therapy on Lindy?
  6. Jason Landry is the “anchor” of his foster family.  What are your thoughts on foster families doing this with one of their foster children?
  7. What do you perceive as the abuses suffered by Jason and the other Landry foster children?
  8. How do you perceive the relationship of the narrator and his father?  What do you make of the father and his 18 year old girlfriend?
  9. Why do you think the narrator remains un-named throughout the novel?
  10. How does Lindy manifest the “rape trauma syndrome?
  11. Is the narrator really listening to Lindy during all those late night conversations?  Why or why not?  What is he hoping to hear from her?  How is he hoping the conversation will go?
  12. What do you make of Uncle Barry’s role in the novel?  Why do you think the narrator’s mother wanted to minimize his influence?
  13. What do you make of the narrator’s choice of wife?
  14. How does the narrator hope to raise his son?  What kind of father does he plan to be?
  15. How would you explain the meaning of the title?

 

M. O. Walsh’s website

Interview with M. O. Walsh published in Huffington Post

Disscussion Questions by Penguin Books

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