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Three Junesby Julia Glass
Reading Group Guide
Julia Glass's 2002 National Book Award winner Three Junes has won critical acclaim for its brave and gracious treatment of difficult family and social issues, as well as its sensitive exploration of the intricacies of love and loss. The story is told through the eyes of three characters: Paul, a Scottish widower who spends a solitary holiday in Greece reflecting on the glories and disappointments of his married life; his son Fenno, who moves to New York to find independence from family expectations and ends up redefining family through his love for a friend dying of AIDS; and finally Fern, a spunky mother-to-be who is a kindred spirit to both father and son, and whose struggle to come to terms with her own past and present loves helps to illuminate the risk that each of the novel's characters faces in loving someone else. Three Junes artfully traces the family's progress through rift and recovery, and portrays the personal and collective strength that comes through the struggles that life presents.
Suggestions and Topics for Discussion:
2. Fenno provides the book's only first-person narration, and thus offers a distinctive perspective on his family back in Scotland and France. How does Fenno describe his twin brothers David and Dennis and their wives? How would you describe his attitude toward his family?
3. What does Fenno mean when he says that he tried to lead an "upright" life in New York?
4. At one point Fenno complains that his life is "highly compartmentalized: private home life/ life at the shop/ relations with my straitlaced family across an ocean/ evenings with Mal/ and — like a dusky passionate snowscape down in a corner — mornings with Tony." Why does Fenno divide his life into strict categories? Do you think that he grows beyond this compartmentalization by the end of the novel?
Muse Notes by Denise Silva
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