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Bound South

Bound South

A Novel

  • reading group guide
From the award winning author of A Soft Place to Land and A Place at the Table comes a tale of three vibrant and unique Southern women—Louise, Caroline, and Missy—as their lives intersect in unexpected and extraordinary ways.

From the outside, Louise Parker seems like a proper Southern matron. But inside, Louise seethes. She’s thwarted by her seemingly perfect husband, frustrated with her talented but rebellious daughter, scarred by her philandering father, and exasperated by her unstable mother. Louise simply doesn’t know how to stop playing the role she’s been starring in for her entire life.

A gifted actress, Louise’s daughter Caroline can make any character seem real when she takes the stage. But Caroline is lost when it comes to relationships, especially when dealing with her mother. When Caroline’s young, handsome drama teacher seduces her, she can’t resist. But her forbidden affair will lead Caroline to a different kind of stage, with a new audience.

Missy loves Jesus nearly as much as she misses her father, a part-time minister who deserted his family when Missy was three. She accompanies her mother to work as a maid at the Parker residence, for two reasons: to help her mother to clean the house and to save the Parkers’ irreverent son Charles.

By turns hilarious and poignant, this is a richly compelling debut novel of family, friendship, and folly.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416558675 | 
  • February 2009
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Reading Group Guide

Introduction:

Bound South is a multi-generational Southern novel told by three women who weave in and out of each others lives as they find themselves, and their place in the world. Through three distinct voices we learn how about: Louise Parker a proper Southern Dame, her daughter Caroline Parker, a rebellious young woman with a flair for acting; and Missy, a deeply religious girl, whose mother works for the Parkers, will From Louise we hear about the struggles and joys of marriage and motherhood in one of Atlanta’s premier neighborhoods. The seemingly naïve Missy will use her faith as a compass to guide her through some of life’s most trying lessons. Caroline must learn to deal with relationships, both familial and romantic, while maintaining her unique spirit and preparing to play the most important role she’ll ever land, herself.

Discussion Questions:

1- What effect did it have for you to read the novel from three different characters’ first-person perspectives? How did hearing the women’s stories lend them more credibility? How did it make them more unreliable as narrators?

2- In the first chapter Louise tells us that “[she has] studied the perception of fear versus the reality of actual danger…and how it is internalized racism that makes us scared of those who are – in fact- quite often the most vulnerable and disadvantaged” (pg 15). Discuss the role of racism in Louise&rsquo see more

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About the Author

Susan Rebecca White
Photograph by Dorothy O'Connor

Susan Rebecca White

Susan Rebecca White is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Bound South and A Soft Place to Land. Born and raised in Atlanta, she spent many years in San Francisco before returning to her hometown, where she teaches creative writing at Emory University. Visit her online at SusanRebeccaWhite.com.

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