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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Year of Fog


The Year of Fog Cover

ISBN13: 9780385340120
ISBN10: 0385340125
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. The Year of Fog unfolds as a series of flashbacks and present-tense scenes. How do Abbys impressions of her own past shift as she searches for Emma? What does her research on the neuroscience of memory tell us about the limits and the power of the minds imagery?

2. How much was Emma a factor in Abbys relationship with Jake? After Emmas disappearance, what did they discover about each other? Why was it awkward for Abby to see Jake turn to religion? Why was he skeptical of her insistence that Emma didnt drown but was kidnapped?

3. How does Abbys eye as a photographer shape the way she sees the world around her? What does she see that others dont? What kinds of images captivate her the most? What does her approach to photography indicate about her approach to life?

4. Are Ramon and Jake entirely different, or was there a common thread that attracted Abby to each of them? What keeps her from sleeping with Nick in chapter 40? What has she needed from men in general at crucial points in her life?

5. How did Abbys recollections of her own mother affect her approach to being a stepmother?

6. Describing the ancient history of memory studies in chapter 43, Abby mentions the concept of Renaissance “memory theaters” and later has a dream in which her memories are displayed in ways she cannot fully comprehend. If your past were to be categorized in such a way, what would it look like? Which objects would best represent various events? Which of your memories would you most like to preserve?

7. Abby struggles with feelings of inadequacy, seeing herself as the sister who often botches her chances at a happier life. What accounts for the tremendous differences between her self-perception and Annabels?

8. How would you describe Lisbeths wavering, extreme motivations? What would explain her dangerous decisions? How is she able to appear trustworthy?

9. For Abby, one of the most difficult aspects of the search is the fact that she doesnt receive full respect as a key figure in Emmas life. Ultimately, how do you define “a devoted mother”? What are the best examples of good parenting in the novel? What determines whether someone has what it takes to be a good parent?

10. What enabled Abby to uncover the truth while Jake could not? Was it her intuition? Determination? Hypnosis? Fate? Or simply the deep guilt she felt? What ultimately caused the fog to lift in Emmas disappearance?

11. In many ways, the novel is a poignant portrait of coping with grief, in this case a very unresolved form of grief. What is the best way to confront tragedy?

12. How did you attempt to solve the mystery of Emmas disappearance? Were you able to hold out hope for her survival?

13. Goofys help leads Abby to the sojourn in Costa Rica. What do both beach communities begin to mean to her? In what way does the landscape, both liberating and treacherous, form an appropriate place for her to come to terms with her greatest fears?

14. What is distinct about Abbys storytelling voice? How might the novel have unfolded had it been told from Jakes point of view?

15. What did the novel reveal to you about the world of missing children and their families? Did it change your perspective on the real-life cases you encounter in the media?

16. As you saw Abby catch a wave in the final paragraph, what did you predict for her future?

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Wendy Robards, November 12, 2008 (view all comments by Wendy Robards)
Abby Mason, a photographer, is about to be married to Jake - a handsome school teacher - and become a stepmother to Jake’s adorable, green-eyed daughter Emma. For Abby becoming a mother is a leap of faith, something she was not sure she could ever do, and yet she has fallen in love with not only Jake but with Emma as well. And so having Emma to herself for a weekend while Jake is out of town feels wonderful…until a moment on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach when, in a dense and swirling fog, Abby looks away for a second and Emma disappears.

The Year of Fog begins on that fateful day with the first hours and days of the official search and media blitz. As the days turn into weeks and then months, many reach the conclusion that Emma has drowned - including her father - and all that is left is Abby’s certainty, her mother’s instinct, that Emma is still alive.

Michelle Richmond has written a book about guilt, fear, memory and hope. In Abby, she captures the raw emotions of making a mistake with dire consequences and the obsession to right the wrong. Richmond explores the confusing science of memory as Abby struggles to put together the pieces of what she may (or may not) have seen in order to solve the mystery of Emma’s disappearance. Perception and memory become intertwined with Abby’s art of photography and Richmond’s writing in these sections is poetic and beautifully wrought.

Richmond’s novel enthralls the reader from beginning to end. It is a page turner which begs to be read in one long gulp. It is a literary rollercoaster ride of despair and hope, joy and sadness. Richmond weaves together a convincing story of a family on the verge of destruction and one woman’s determination to find the child she loves. It is rare when a writer is able to make the reader feel what the protagonist feels on every level - but, that is exactly what Richmond does in The Year of Fog. I was breathless, my heart racing, with the desperate urge to find Emma. As a volunteer in Search and Rescue for more than ten years, I was reminded of the actual searches I have been on - the sense of urgency, the conviction that the lost person must be just around the next corner, the fear that giving up the search might be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made.

The Year of Fog is a gripping tale, one skillfully written which will haunt and exhilarate the reader.

Highly recommended.
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Product Details

Richmond, Michelle
Bantam Books
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;san francisco;mystery;kidnapping;memory;relationships;child abduction;missing child;surfing;photography;costa rica;missing children;abduction;novel;contemporary fiction;suspense;california;family;guilt;american fiction;lost child
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Bantam Discovery
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.32x5.28x.95 in. .67 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

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