Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian - Readers' Guide

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian - Readers' Guide

Ratings:

3.31

(16)
|Views: 114 |Likes:
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents' murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.
But then the State's Attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives. Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems. As one character remarks, “Believe no one. Trust no one. Assume all of our stories are suspect.”
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents' murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.
But then the State's Attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives. Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems. As one character remarks, “Believe no one. Trust no one. Assume all of our stories are suspect.”

More info:

Publish date: Feb 2, 2010
Added to Scribd: Feb 03, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Buy the full version from:Amazon
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/04/2014

pdf

text

original

 
SECRETS OF EDEN
BY CHRIS BOHJALIAN
READER’S GUIDE
BY KIRA WALTON
 A NOTE TO THE READER 
In order to provide reading groups with the mostinormed and thought-provoking questions possible,it is necessary to reveal important aspects o the ploto this book—as well as the ending.I you have not fnished reading
Secrets of Eden
, we respectully suggest that you may want to waitbeore reviewing this guide.
 ABOUT THIS GUIDE
 
“ere,” says Alice Hayward to Reverend StephenDrew, just ater her baptism, and just beore goinghome to the husband who will kill her that eveningand then shoot himsel. Drew, tortured by the crypticfnality o that short utterance, eels his aith in Godslipping away and is saved rom despair only by ameeting with Heather Laurent, an author o wildly successul inspirational books about…angels.Heather survived a childhood that culminated in herparents’ murder-suicide, so she identifes deeply with Alice’s and George’s daughter, Katie, oering hersel as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder or Stephen— who ees the pulpit to be with Heather and see i there is anything to be salvaged rom the spiritual wreckage around him.But then the state’s attorney begins to suspect that Alice’s husband may not have killed himsel…andfnds out that Alice had secrets only her ministerknew.is reader’s guide is intended as a starting point oryour discussion o the novel.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1.
Re-read the quotes that open the book. One isrom a leading voice o Enlightenment rational-ism, the other rom the Bible. Samuel Johnsonspeaks about loss and sorrow; the quote romGenesis is about the bonds o marriage. Whatdid you think o this unique pairing when youbegan reading? Now that you’ve fnished
Secrets of Eden
, how do these quotes help shape yourunderstanding o the story?
2.
What did you think o the title beore youbegan reading? e phrase “secrets o Eden”appears when Heather Laurent and ReverendDrew are together in New York: “He pulledme against him and said simply, ‘ere wereno secrets in Eden’” (page 259). What do youthink Reverend Drew means by that? What arethe secrets in the biblical Eden? Where is the“Eden” in Secrets o Eden? Is it a place? A stateo mind? What are the secrets in the story, and who is keeping them? What is gained or lost when these secrets are revealed?
3.
Chris Bohjalian is known or writing novels with an evocative sense o place: New England,especially small-town Vermont. How does thesetting o 
Secrets of Eden
impact the characters?How is it vital to the story? Could these eventshave taken place in another landscape, anothersocial context? Why or why not?
PART I: Stephen Drew 4.
e novel begins rom Reverend StephenDrew’s perspective. How would you describe hisvoice as a narrator? Is he sympathetic? Reliable? What is his state o mind? In the frst ew pageso the frst chapter, what does Reverend Drew 
www.CrownPublishing.com 
 
reveal about himsel? About Alice Hayward’s lieand death? What does he not reveal? Did youimmediately trust his point o view? Why or why not? What words would you use to describehim? Do you think he’d use the same words todescribe himsel?
5.
When he recalls Alice Hayward’s baptism,Reverend Drew remembers the word “there”in a poignant way, comparing the last word Alice spoke to him with Christ’s last wordson the cross. Why do you think this simple word—“there”—is given such weighty impor-tance? How is it related to what Reverend Drew calls “the seeds o my estrangement rom my calling” (page 13)?
6.
Reverend Drew says o his calling to thechurch: “All I can tell you is I believe I wassent” (page 44). He then delves into a grisly description o the Crucifxion (pages 45–48),recalling the frst time he studied it in highschool. With what we know about ReverendDrew up to this point, how did this revelationhelp you understand him? Were you drawnin or repulsed by his fxation?
7.
How does Reverend Drew explain hisspiritual breakdown? Was there one moment when he lost his aith (Alice’s baptism, herdeath) or was it the result o a series o events? What kind o response did you have to hisbreakdown? One o empathy? Curiosity?Suspicion?
PART II: Catherine Benincasa 8.
Beore we hear rom Catherine in her ownvoice, we see her through Reverend Drew’seyes. What is your frst impression o herrom his perspective? Does that impressionchange once you see things rom her pointo view? What words would you use todescribe Catherine?
9.
Catherine says o Reverend Drew, “the guy hadice in his veins . . .[a] serial-killer vibe” (page106). How does this compare with how heportrays himsel? Do you think Catherine seesReverend Drew clearly based on what she knows?Is she jumping to conclusions, or making use o her intuition and the hard truths she’s learnedthroughout her grueling years on the job?
10.
 At one point, Catherine says, “I know the di-erence between mourning and grie” (page193). What do you think she means by this? Doyou agree that there’s a dierence? How wouldyou describe the reactions, so ar, o ReverendDrew, Heather, and Katie to the terrible eventsthey’re aced with—as mourning or grie?
PART III: Heather Laurent 11.
By the time we get to the section narrated by Heather, we’ve seen her rom both ReverendDrew’s and Catherine Benincasa’s points o view, and we’ve read excerpts rom her books.How would you describe her? Do you agree with Drew that she’s “unappably serene…anindividual whose competence was maniest and whose sincerity was phosphorescent” (page 65),or do you agree with pathologist David Den-nison’s take on her: “‘Angel o death. I’m tellingyou: at woman is as stable as a three- leggedchair” (page 182)?
12.
Heather’s section begins with her description o her frst encounter with an angel: she’s a young woman, lost in the depths o depression, and in-tends to commit suicide (pages 225–232). How  would you interpret this moment? What does itreveal about how she deals with the deaths o herparents? About how she sees the world?
13.
Reverend Drew and Catherine Benincasa bothprovide graphic descriptions o crimes andcrime scenes—the Haywards’ and others—butHeather’s memories o the violence between herparents is particularly grim. How do you reactto reading these passages?
SECRETS OF EDEN
BY CHRIS BOHJALIAN
READER’S GUIDE
BY KIRA WALTON
www.CrownPublishing.com 

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd