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Tourist Season (07 Edition)

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Reading Group Guide

1. A strong sense of place has traditionally been important in Southern fiction. What role does the state of Florida play in this collection? Can you imagine these stories taking place in another part of the country?

2. What makes these stories especially modern in your view? Why couldnt Tourist Season have been written fifty years ago?

3. Shomers stories have been described as both poignant and humorous. How would you characterize the humor and how is it connected to the serious drama?

4. In “Chosen,” Iris Hornstein travels to Tibet to don the mantle of a reincarnated Buddhist saint. Can you imagine this happening to anyone you know? What does this story suggest about religion?

5. In “The Other Mother,” Sheila learns the true story behind Royals adoption when Royal is nearly an adult. How do you think Sheila would have reacted if she had learned the truth when Royal was much younger?

6. What impels Garland McKenney, the protagonist of both “Fill In the Blank” and “Sweethearts,” to commit her crimes? What do you think might prevent her in the future?

7. In the story “Tourist Season,” what do you think Frieda means when she tells Milt, “Were both like Knoblock”? How would you characterize Frieda and Milts marriage? How does Friedas work as a Womens Airforce Service Pilot affect her life and their relationship?

8. In “Rapture” we learn that Janet “hardly ever referred to herself as an artist or to her work as art,” yet her show tours the South and is featured in an important art magazine. How do you explain this discrepancy? Do you think it is related to her fate?

9. “The Hottest Spot on Earth” alternates between two points of view, which is rare in a short story. Why do you think the author chose this technique rather than tell the story from a single viewpoint? What pulls Jill and Patricia together and what pushes them apart?

10. A key aspect of “Sweethearts” is Garlands relationship to Carlene, the housekeeper. What role does race play in this story?

11. How would you describe Abby Presners behavior toward the unnamed young man in “Crash Course”? Why do you think she doesnt get frightened until after the incident?

12. In “The Summer of Questions,” Riva unravels secrets she hadnt even suspected existed. What mysteries does she solve and which remain? At the end of the story Alma says, “When youre not being beautiful, make trouble.” What would Rivas likely response to this be?

13. Do you believe that Helen in “Laws of Nature” is actually becoming younger, or did you read this story as a metaphor or fable? What do you think the author intended? Which other stories address the aging process?

14. What role do marriage and work play in these stories? In which stories are the two at war with each other, and in which do they coexist more happily? If you are married, what is the relationship between marriage and work in your own life?

15. The women in Tourist Season range from seventeen to over seventy. What differences do you see between the younger and the older protagonists? What do they have in common? Why do you think the author chose to include women of such a wide age range in the same collection?

16. If you could be any of the women in these stories, which would you choose? Which character did you most closely identify with?

17. Iris in “Chosen,” Sheila in “The Other Mother,” Garland in “Sweethearts,” and Helen in “Laws of Nature” all leave their old lives behind and find new ones. Do the catalysts for change come from within the women, or does environment or circumstance effect the need for change? What do you think might cause you to change your own life so drastically?

18. In what ways are the characters in these stories all tourists in their own lives?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345494429
Author:
Shomer, Enid
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
General
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
7.94x5.26x.59 in. .43 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Tourist Season (07 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 272 pages Random House Trade - English 9780345494429 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Being away from home is a transformative experience for the women in this second collection by Iowa Short Fiction Award — winner Shomer (for Imaginary Men); 10 stories travel from Sweetheart, Fla., to Dharamsala, India, and range from the fantastical to the mundane. In the strongest story, 'Fill in the Blank,' 20-year-old Florida transplant Garland McKenney and her roommate, Linda, rob a Manhattan physical therapy office. The guilt weighs heavier on Linda, but it is Garland's confused moral compass that resonates. 'Sweethearts,' about Garland's high school affair with the local sheriff, explores the roots of Garland's criminal tendencies. Shomer has a knack for ferreting out the disappointment of aging, as in the title story, in which Frieda realizes she resents the company of her recently retired husband. Less accomplished are Shomer's stabs at out-there material. In the awkward and opening story, 'Chosen,' Iris, a speech therapist, discovers she is a Buddhist saint, while 'Laws of Nature' features a woman who ages in reverse, la Max Tivoli. The collection will appeal to Shomer's readership, but will do little to attract new eyes." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Shomer's keen observation of human nature is displayed in these ten mesmerizing stories about women charting unfamiliar territory.
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