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1 Hawthorne Mystery- A to Z

This title in other editions

The Silver Swan


The Silver Swan Cover

ISBN13: 9780312428242
ISBN10: 0312428243
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Describe Deirdres interest in Hakeem Kreutz, as compared to her interest in Leslie White? What draws her to each of them?

2. "Why did he persist in coming here like this," Quirke wonders, about his visits to the Judge. "Surely no one would blame him if he stayed away altogether and left the dying man to his angry solitude." Why does Quirke continue visiting, considering all that has happened between them?

3. "Do nothing, his better judgment told him; stay on dry land. But he knew he would dive, headfirst, into the depths. Something in him yearned for the darkness down there." What is it in Quirke that pushes him towards the darkness? Does he find any relief in this story? Would he be better off ignoring this impulse?

4. Why do you think Kreutzs story of the girl brought back from the dead (p. 61) makes such an impression on Deirdre? How does it relate to what we learn about her life?

5. Describe the relationship between Quirke and Hackett? Do the two like each other? What do they have in common?

6. Why do you think Phoebe gets involved with Leslie White? What is she hoping will happen between them?

7. Do you think Deirdre loves Leslie? If not, how would you characterize her feelings for him?

8. What effect do you think Phoebes complicated parentage (the discovery of her real father; the role of Malachy and Sarah) has on her behavior in the novel? Do you see any connection between those effects and the effect on Quirke of being an orphan?

9. Look at the exchange between Rose and Phoebe on p. 165, in which Phoebe tells Rose she admires her. What do you think she admires about Rose? And what does Rose mean when, in response, she says to Phoebe, "You certainly are your fathers daughter."?

10. Do you think the relationship between Quirke and Kate is a healthy one? What brings them together? What do they get from each other?

11. Is Quirke a good father to Phoebe? How do you think he should be handling his role with her?

12. Why does Quirke fall off the wagon at the end of the story?

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

W S Krauss, January 9, 2013 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
This is the second book in the series by Irish writer Benjamin Black, AKA John Banville (the Sea, for which he won the Man Booker prize in 2005). This book follows the further adventures of Dublin pathologist Quirke and his complicated family. Quirke has quit drinking, which has made him grumpier than usual and on edge, as he confronts the circumstances of an old acquaintance from college. His curiosity gets the better of him when he is pulled into the mystery of the apparent suicide of this man's young wife. His daughter is involved in the events as well, which puts her in great danger. The descriptions of Dublin's streets, atmosphere and climate combine with the action and mystery to create a haunting sense of place. The writing is brilliantly suited to the crime genre, yet a step above most I've read. I look forward to following these characters in many books to come.
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Chris Horne, April 2, 2009 (view all comments by Chris Horne)
Dublin Pathologist Garret Quirke is back in a book that is even darker than Christine Falls as if that could be possible. Quirke is no longer drinking, but he's still as moody, broody and, well, as quirky as ever and we now know his niece is really his daughter, if you haven't read Christine Falls, please stop right here, go out and get it, you won't be disappointed as it's a thoroughly enjoyable read. You can read this book as a stand alone if you want and enough is explained so you won't feel like you're missing too much, but you will be.

It's two years since Quirke investigated the death of Christine Falls when he has Deirdre Hunt on the slab. She washed up, an apparent suicide, by Dalkey Island, by Dublin Harbor. Quirke knew her husband Billy in school and when Billy asks him not to do an autopsy, because he didn't want his wife cut up, also he didn't want her death ruled a suicide, because he didn't want her denied Catholic rites, remember it's Ireland in the 50's. Quirke agrees, but does the autopsy anyway.

And, of course, Quirke finds evidence of murder, this is a mystery after all. But unlike some of the other mysteries you'll find on the shelf, Black does it differently, his characters are not only all too real, but they're steeped in a mire of moods and darkness, but there's a heart in them too. The live and breath as real people. Somehow John Banville has managed to channel both Earnest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler at the same time when he writes as Benjamin Black, let them take control of his fingers and the result isn't just art, but a dark and brooding affair with a soul that is all too real.
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Product Details

Black, Benjamin
Picador USA
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Mystery & Detective - General
Mystery-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
No. 2
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.27 x 6.39 x 0.9 in

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Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
» Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Silver Swan Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Picador USA - English 9780312428242 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , With its vivid, intense evocation of 1950s Dublin, and intricate, psychologically complex storyline, "The Silver Swan" is "even more engrossing than last year's "Christine Falls"" ("Entertainment Weekly").
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