Reading Questions for The Widower's Tale
16. Houses are often characters in Julia Glass novels. Compare Percy's house to central houses in her other novels, if you've read them. Describe Percy's house and its importance to the Darling family. Discuss its tie to the neighboring house and the revelation at the end about the two brothers who built the houses. Why is this important?
17. How have libraries changed over the course of Percy's working in one, through his youth, his daughter's youths, and now Robert's youth? Percy doesn't seem to approve of the direction libraries are going. Do you?
18. "Daughters. This word meant everything to me in that moment: sun, moon, stars, blood, water (oh curse the water!), meat, potatoes, wine, shoes, books, the floor beneath my feet, the roof over my head." (page 109). Compare and contrast Percy's two daughters.
19. Why is Sarah so mysterious and unforthcoming about her lump, and then breast cancer? Why does she betray him with using her ex-boyfriend's insurance and not telling Percy? What does this say about Sarah and her feelings for Percy?
20. While visiting a museum, Percy's friend asks, "What sort of landscape are you?" And Percy replies, "A field. Overgrown and weedy." "Or a very large, gnarled tree," his friend adds. (pages 281-82) How would you describe him? How about yourself, what sort of landscape are you? Is it easier to describe someone else as a landscape than yourself?
21. How is this book both a tale of our time and a story specific to its place, to New England?
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