By Richard Ford
Genre: Adventure
Buy Now This book is on reading list for September 2013

Why We Like This Book

This novel is an exceptional coming of age story, which is rich is character development and local color. It is multi-faceted and will lend itself well to book club discussions. For more detail, see our blog post dated September 14, 2012.

Discussion Questions

1. Why does Ford set Part I in the U.S. and Part II in Canada? Does this say something about Dell’s crossing from innocence to experience? Does it speak to the relationship between the two countries?

2. Does the author spoil the novel by revealing the robbery in the first paragraph?

3. In what way is this novel a family story? How would you describe Bev and Neeva and their marriage?

4. How do Dell and Berner cope with their family’s isolation? How do you account for the differences in their coping mechanisms?

5. Why does Ford have Dell and Berner engage in an incestuous act? What does that add to the novel?

6. What are Dell’s ‘uncreated ideas about the world’ (page 317) and what is the importance of ‘reverse-thinking’? (page 386)

7. What does Dell learn from Remlinger?

8. Why are there three parts to this novel? Does it have something to do with Ruskin’s statement that ‘composition is the arrangement of unequal things’?

9. Last, consider the ending of the novel. How does Dell reconcile his feelings about his family history?










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