This reading group guide includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author James Lee Burke. 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
James Lee Burke transports readers to the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Texas and to battlefields around the world in the nine stories in this powerful and atmospheric collection, exploring themes of guilt, memory, war, and race.
In “The Pilot,” a man fixes his troubled marriage in his own inimitable way. “Taking a Second Look” is the story of a professor coping with grief who finds consolation not in the classroom but on a neighborhood ball field. In “Lower Me Down with a Golden Chain,” an American journalist’s decision to investigate both sides of a Guatemalan civil war has unexpected consequences. Narrated by a young boy, the title story depicts race relations in the South through the lens of one family’s experience.
Vivid and original, thought-provoking and poignant, these and the five other tales in this collection probe the mysteries of the human mind and heart—and the complex circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves.Questions for Discussion"Un