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Adam Runaway

Adam Runaway

A Novel

  • reading group guide
It is 1721 and young Adam Hanaway, devastated by his father's sudden death, leaves England to seek his fortune in Lisbon, where his uncle is a successful merchant. But almost nothing turns out as Adam planned. His family's welcome is cool, and Adam's rise is thwarted by his uncle's treacherous clerk and also by a certain personal trait. He's not a coward exactly, but he is inclined to boldly put himself in dangerous situations and then at the last minute run away -- hence the nickname.

Adam certainly has a lot to learn. The Inquisition grips Portugal, and those who befriend Adam may not be well intentioned. His mother and sisters wait for him to rescue them from poverty, but he is distracted by a number of local beauties. Then he commits a social faux pas so severe he forever ruins his chances for making a good match. Swept up in a struggle that will require him to come into his manhood -- the struggle between wickedness and humanity -- it seems Adam will never find his way to success, to love, or to peace with the life fate has given him.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743271585 | 
  • August 2006
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide Questions for Adam Runaway
  1. We learn at the beginning of the story the reasons for Adam's journey and subsequent employment. Is he a sympathetic character as a result of his circumstances? How does he change throughout his time in Portugal? What are some examples of his naïvetß and what do you feel was his greatest challenge? What would you consider are the most significant, life-changing events throughout his story? What is your opinion of Adam?
  2. Adam Runaway could be called 'a novel of embarrassment'. Discuss in what ways you think this might be true statement -- or not.
  3. Discuss the character of Gomes. How do his childhood experiences affect him? Do you think he is a product of the abuse he experienced in the past? Do you think that any of his actions were justified or were they all simply immoral? Do you feel his end was a just one? Why or why not?
  4. Dona Maria Beatriz Hutchinson, Gabriella Lowther and Nancy Hanaway all represent different things to Adam. Discuss the importance of women in Adam's life. What does he learn from his experiences with each of these women?
  5. Family is a prevalent theme throughout the novel. Discuss the different examples of families within the novel. How do these families compare? In what ways are they similar? How does each family's class standing contribute to their relationships? How do Adam's views on family and responsibility change th
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About the Author

Peter Prince
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Peter Prince

Born in England and educated in America, Peter Prince is the author of seven novels, including Play Things, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, and The Great Circle, and several television and film screenplays. He lives in London.

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