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Loving Graham Greeneby Gloria Emerson
Reading Group Guide
This marvelous debut novel by former New York Times correspondent and National Book Award--winner Gloria Emerson is a witty and deeply affecting portrait of the stubborn hopes and disillusionment of a privileged woman who dreams of making a difference in the world.
The polite correspondence she shares with the novelist Graham Greene inspires Molly Benson to see him as her moral guiding light. After his death in 1991, Molly sets out to honor his memory by going on a mission with two friends to Algeria at the start of that nation's brutal civil war, intending to save intellectuals from Islamic fundamentalist hit squads. But nothing in her genteel existence has prepared her for the perilous journey on which she and her humble delegation are about to embark.
1. Why is Molly so infatuated with Graham Greene?
2. Why does Bertie continually side with Molly and her beliefs?
3. Consider Molly and Bertie's escapade to the El Salvadorian ambassador's apartment. Do you think the prank was childish or frightening? If you think it was childish, what do you think Molly and Bertie were trying to accomplish?
4. Do you think Molly's wealth has anything to do with her intense social and political views?
5. What exactly prompts Molly to undertake the trip to Algiers? Do we ever have total insight into Molly's emotions? If not, what was the author trying to accomplish by making Molly's motives veiled?
6. Why do Eugene and Lucien choose to sequester themselves in their small house?
7. Were you surprised when the travelers were attacked in the Casbah? Why or why not?
8. Consider the fact that the accused assailants, once arrested, were probably being tortured by the police. What do you think Toby thought of this? What about Molly and Bertie's thoughts?
9. Why didn't Molly turn Ahmad's brother in?
10. Did Molly's views change at all after her trip? In what ways?
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