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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries)


Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307454904
ISBN10: 0307454908
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Reading Group Guide

1. How do the three different marriages depicted in Mr. Peanut relate to one another? What traits differentiate each marriage?

2. In our question and answer session with Adam Ross, he expressed his hope that “readers experience a series of recognitions. That they read about each marriage and say, ‘Yes, I’ve been there.’ ” What, if anything, struck a chord with you about the relationships in Mr. Peanut?

3. Are married people capable of change? Does Mr. Peanut answer this question?

4. Mobius remarks upon “the dual nature of marriage, the proximity of violence and love” (p. 238). Discuss how Mr. Peanut links marriage and violence.

5. How convincingly does Ross portray deep love alongside the ugly thoughts of deception, betrayal, and murder? Does Mr. Peanut straddle this line with perfect balance, or do you feel the story tips one way or the other?

6. What is Mobius’s role in the novel?

7. How do M.C. Escher’s drawings manifest themselves in the narrative style and content of Mr. Peanut?

8. Is Mr. Peanut something other than straightforward narrative realism? Are there any obvious impossibilities within the novel? What do these deviations from reality mean within the context of the novel’s plot?

9. What do you make of the Alfred Hitchcock references in Mr. Peanut?

10. On page 11 Sheppard reflects, “Murder . . . is an interruption of habit, or its culmination.” What do you think he means by that?

11. On page 21 Ross writes, “We tell stories of other people’s marriages, Detective Hastroll thought. We are experts in their parables and parabolas. But can we tell the story of our own? If we could, we might avoid our own cruelties and crime.” How so?

12. How does Mr. Peanut relate to the fatal marriages we encounter in the news, e.g., the Dr. Sam Sheppard case and the O. J. Simpson case?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit:

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Ken Klein, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Ken Klein)
A story that takes you in many directions at once - many angles, points of view - all examining, in one way or another - relationships, love, hate, memory, identity. Done with great style, humor and poignancy. It's a wild ride which manages to be both a lot of fun, and just when you're not looking, somewhat profound.
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Jill H, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Jill H)
If you're thinking of getting married, don't read this book: it will terrify you

If you're thinking of getting married, read this book: it will inspire you.

Paradox and duality are the heart of this stunningly weird book, whose leitmotif is the Escher picture of interlocking angels and devils that switch from one to the other depending on how you focus, and whose villain is named Mobius. It is the story of David Pepin's love for and resentment of his wife Alice, whom he may or or may not have killed, in “real life” and in the book he is writing about their life together. Interwoven with the tangled revelations of the facts and fantasies about their relationship is the story of Sam Sheppard, who may or may not have killed his wife in real “real life” and in the pages of this book ��" or is it in David's book? Also sprinkled into the unfolding is a riff on Hitchcock and how Rear Window's story of Jimmy Stewart's character's voyeuristic investigation of the man who may have killed his wife is an allegory for Stewart's character's desire to kill his own love interest; a fantasy on the part of the detective investigating Alice's death about the murder and dismemberment of his own wife; a description of how the living arrangements on Malaya promote non-violence; and much much more.

With precision and poetry, Ross captures life's big moments of passion; the small details of everyday existence; and the way marriage is lived along the complex interface between the two. Reading his book offers some of the same experience: tumbling around in a vortex of alternate histories while being riveted to page by a still moment of absolute clarity and simplicity.

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bookloverxxv, July 3, 2011 (view all comments by bookloverxxv)
A pleasing beginning but the book kind of bogs down about 2/3 of the way through, and then we're subjected to lectures about Hitchcock and feminism and what have you. A first novel and an impressive effort...but he needed a better editor and should have maintained focus on the central idea of the book (husbands plotting to kill wives), which is quite funny and interesting.
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Product Details

Ross, Adam
Vintage Books
Literature-A to Z
fiction;mystery;marriage;murder;suspense;novel;murder mystery;relationships;contemporary fiction;thriller;crime;usa
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.96 x 5.16 x 1 in 0.75 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Vintage - English 9780307454904 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It's one heck of a juxtaposition. You adore your wife beyond all reason, can't imagine life without her, but are forever constructing detailed fantasies in which she, often violently, meets her demise. Such is the conundrum that David Pepin faces in Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross's unflinchingly honest yet arguably brutal rendering of connubial dysfunction and harmony. Whether you personally relate to David and Alice's tumultuous affairs or simply enjoy them with the support of a clear conscience, you'll certainly be intrigued by these characters and eternally grateful for any wonderfully boring, run-of-the-mill relationships you're in.

"Review" by , "Sophisticated, surreal and creepy."
"Review" by , "Of all the novels I read this year, this was the one that I read most eagerly, consuming it in eager gulps, dismissing other obligations."
"Review" by , "A formidable literary talent…Finely wrought and challenging."
"Review" by , "Mr. Peanut is full of tricks: shifting narrations, quirky chronology and meta-novels within novels. The effect is disorienting, but the characters are too well drawn to feel like pawns in some game. The result is a deliciously clever book, full of dark insight and even a touch of hope."
"Review" by , “A dark tale of love, hate, murder and marriage: a cleverly written, structurally complex narrative.”
"Review" by , Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.”
"Review" by , “The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...It induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.”
"Review" by , “Powerful...delivers one scorching scene after another. Ross is interested in all the soul-killing ways men and women try and fail to achieve intimacy, and [with] noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, he wraps his age-old theme in a confounding yet memsmerizing format.” (starred review)
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