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Abide with Me


Abide with Me Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. Do you think small-town life is that different from city life?

2. What do you think the “voice” of this novel is telling you, besides what it says? That is, what kind of tone does it set-what kind of character (not the author) might be telling you this story?

3. Pick out some of the passages about nature in the first part of the book and see if you can discern the authors implicit attitude toward the New England landscape and toward nature in general.

4. What does the state of Tylers house at the beginning of the book say about him and his family? Are they different by the end?

5. This book raises the question of whether a fathers parenthood is necessarily different from a mothers-a question that concerns us to this day. What do you think about this controversial topic?

6. Why do you think Tylers daughter, Katherine, stops speaking after her mothers death? When and why does she find her voice again?

7. This book is set during the height of the Cold War. Do you think the era plays an important role in the story, or is it just a backdrop?

8. What are Tylers strengths and what are his weaknesses? How do they affect his ability to perform his role in the community?

9. The role of the clergy in small communities during the fifties is presented vividly through the story of Tyler Caskey. Do you think the clergys role has changed over time in these places and in general?

10. Whether you are religious or not, how did you respond to Tyler Caskeys intense involvement with matters of faith and belief?

11. In some ways, Abide with Me is about class distinctions, even in this egalitarian community. How conscious were you of this aspect of the book as you read it?

12. Find examples where the weather serves as a metaphorical backdrop for Tylers story, and explain.

13. The novel uses domestic interiors, architecture, and lighting to complement its scenes and themes. Can you give some examples of this?

Product Details

Strout, Elizabeth
Random House Trade
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.98x5.28x.70 in. .49 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Abide with Me Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812971828 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Strout's graceful if languid second novel, set in the cold northern reaches of New England during the Cold War, Tyler Caskey is a young minister tending to the faith of his small, gossipy parish. He's also struggling with the aftermath of his wife's premature death, which has left him with two little girls to raise. What the plot lacks in pace and surprise, Strout makes up for with intelligent, revealing portraits of many characters, and Raphael's versatile voice makes them even more memorable. Her voice shrinks remarkably to speak the lines of Caskey's traumatized older daughter; turns gruff and unhappy for Charles Austin, a church deacon wrestling with his own secret demons; and ratchets up into startlingly cold and imperious territories for Caskey's meddling mother. Raphael deftly switches from the plummy, slightly British-accented voice she uses for most of the narration to speak in the drawn-out, nasal tones of Caskey's plainspoken, friendly housekeeper. Though the abridgment cuts out some of the background story, events are still sometimes drawn out. But fans of such closely observed period pieces will no doubt revel in Strout's evocative prose and in Raphael's richly textured interpretation." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Strout captures the mysterious combination of hope and sorrow. She sees all these wounded people with heartbreaking clarity, but she has managed to write a story that cradles them in understanding and that, somehow, seems like a foretaste of salvation."
"Review" by , "With superlative skill, Strout challenges us to examine what makes a good story — and what makes a good life."
"Review" by , "A melancholy tale of faith lostand found and an unhappy look at small-town life."
"Review" by , "The power of Abide With Me is its true reflection of the moments that guide or misdirect a life. These often aren't the moments of high drama, though the death of a loved one can be a compelling force."
"Review" by , "[A] book to curl up with on a bleak day, a book that isn't embarrassed to assert that 'where there are people, there is always the hope of love.'"
"Review" by , "Strout's story is dark and her characters often reveal their less positive sides, but in the end, she gives us individuals whose lives are deepened and transformed in this sensitive and challenging work."
"Synopsis" by , US
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