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The Carriage House

The Carriage House

A Novel

  • reading group guide
For more than thirty years, William Adair’s faith in life was based on two indisputable principles: the exceptional good looks and athletic talents of his three daughters and the historical status of his family in their Philadelphia suburb. After suffering a stroke, William wakes up in his hospital bed to realize that his world has collapsed: his children are less extraordinary than he had remembered and his family’s notable history has been forgotten.

William’s daughters—all tennis champions in their youth—are in decline. Having lost their father’s pride, the three sisters struggle to define themselves. Their mother, whose memory has started to fade, is unable to help them recall the talented girls they used to be.

For three generations, a carriage house has stood on the Adair property. Built by William’s grandfather, it was William’s childhood refuge and a sign of the family’s prominence. Now held captive by a neighbor due to a zoning error, the house has decayed beyond recognition and may even be condemned.

Rallying to save their father, Diana, Elizabeth, and Isabelle take on the battle for the carriage house that once stood as a symbol of their place in the world. Overcoming misunderstandings and betrayals both deep in the past and painfully new, each of the Adairs ultimately finds a place of forgiveness. The Carriage House is a moving, beautifully wrought debut novel about the complex bonds of siblings, about rebuilding lost lives, and about the saving grace of love.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451688658 | 
  • March 2013
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Step inside The Carriage House

A gorgeously written debut novel from an award-winning poet and world champion squash player about a successful family facing the loss of the storied history that defined them.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Carriage House includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Louisa Hall. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

The Carriage House tells the story of a suburban family struggling to define themselves when their talents fade and the neighborhood turns against them. After suffering a stroke, William Adair wakes up in his hospital bed and realizes his family has changed: his daughters are less extraordinary than he had remembered. For over thirty years, William’s life was grounded on two indisputable principles: his daughters’ exceptional talents and the historical resonance of a carriage house built by his grandfather. Both have begun to collapse. The carriage house, held captive by a neighbor due to a zoning error, has decayed beyond recognition, and the neighborhood association has voted to condemn it. William’s three daughters, all former tennis champions, seem to have lost their confidence in adulthood. And his wife, Margaux, is suffering from dementia. As she forgets who her daughters are, they forget themselves. In order to help their father recover, the Adair daughters take up the battle for the carriag see more

About the Author

Louisa Hall
Photograph by Ben Steinbauer

Louisa Hall

Louisa Hall grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Haverford. After graduating from Harvard, she played squash professionally and was ranked #2 in the country. She teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin. Her poems have been published in journals, such as The New Republic, The Southwest Review, and Ellipsis. The Carriage House is her first novel. She lives in Austin.

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