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Saints at the River



Awards: SIBA Book Award - Winner, Fiction

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About The Author

Ron RashRon Rash

Winner of an NEA poetry fellowship, Ron Rash has published one previous novel, One Foot in Eden, three collections of poetry, and two of short stories. He holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University. He lives in South Carolina.

Awards

SIBA Book Award - Winner, Fiction

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Reading Group Gold

Discussion Questions

1. Is the narrative voice convincingly female? If so, what details make Maggie come alive? If not, what seems missing or mistaken?

2. Is Saints at the River a novel about suffering and loss?

3. What is at stake for each of the main characters in this novel? How do their individual losses connect or divide them? Do these losses motivate their actions and reactions?

4. How do you think the river functions in the story? Is it a metaphor? Is it a catalyst? Does it really take on a life of its own as Luke and his followers seem to believe? Would you consider it a character?

5. Could this story take place in any other part of the world? Could it unfold without the river?

6. Maggie tries to remain neutral during the first two-thirds of the novel, but finds herself regretting that position later. What do you think causes this change?

7. What similarities exist between the Kowalskys and Luke?

8. How does love manifest itself throughout the novel? To what extent (if at all) is it tied into forgiveness?

9. In the second half of the book, Maggie, to her consternation, begins to remember good moments with her father. What is the role of memory in the novel? Does Maggie’s changing memory make her any less reliable a narrator?

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