Synopses & Reviews
The acclaimed novelist returns to small town life in his evocative bestseller, hailed as a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year.
Reading Group Guide
1. How would you characterize Stephen's relationship with each of his parents? With his church and his religion?
2. What prospects of stability are offered to the community by the church? Instability?
3. How is the church important to Jack Umstead?
4. How is the setting (1950s, rural community) important to the story?
5. What might Alease see in Jack Umstead and why? Does he have any redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
6. Discuss the significance of the title.
7. How are the major characters and the community changed by Umstead's visit?
8. How does shifting point of view aid or hinder your reading of this story?
9. How might a year-2000 visit by Jack Umstead to Listre, North Carolina, be different from the 1952 visit in Where Trouble Sleeps?
10. How were your childhood views of God and religion different from those of Stephen?
11. How will Stephen's experiences as a child in Where Trouble Sleeps influence his life as an adolescent? As an adult? Which of the adults in the novel will he most resemble as an adult?
12. What events or experiences in your own childhood could become the basis for a novel?
Reader's Guide copyright © 1998 by The Ballantine Publishing Group,
a division of Random House, Inc.