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In The Gloaming

In The Gloaming


  • reading group guide
When the austere and moving title story of this collection appeared in The New Yorker in 1993, it inspired two memorable film adaptations, and John Updike selected it for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In these ten stories, Alice Elliott Dark visits the fictional town of Wynnemoor and its residents, present and past, with skill, compassion, and wit. By turns funny, sad, and disturbing, these are stories of remarkable power.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684870052 | 
  • January 2001
List Price $13.00
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: In the Gloaming

He wanted to talk again, suddenly. During the days, he still brooded, scowling at the swimming pool from the vantage point of his wheelchair, where he sat covered with blankets in spite of the summer heat. In the evenings, though, he became more like his old self: his old old self, really. He became sweeter, the way he'd been as a child, before he began to gird himself with layers of irony and clever remarks. He spoke with an openness that astonished her. No one she knew talked that way -- no man at least. After he was asleep, Janet would run through the conversations in her mind and realize what it was... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading group guide for In The Gloaming by Alice Elliott Dark
Discussion questions:
In The Gloaming
1) What does 'gloaming' mean? How does the title bring out the theme of this story? As it is also the title of the whole collection, what does it hint about the rest of the stories?
2) Janet says that having intimate communication is the work she'd longed for all her life. Does she fulfill that longing? With whom?
3) Janet realizes that Laird "is the love of her life." Is she different from mothers you know in feeling that? Do you think she could freely admit this feeling to a friend, or is it an emotion people generally keep to themselves? Why?
Dreadful Language
1) The author suggests that there is a difference between bad language and dreadful language. Do you agree? How is the difference demonstrated in the story?
2) Frannie and her mother both eventually marry for peace and security. Do you think it's a mistake to do so, or is it possible to find such marriages fulfilling? Do you think a marriage that isn't based on passion is doomed? How do you think Frannie will feel about her marriage now?
The Jungle Lodge
1) This story reflects the experience of many girls who are raped or incested and don't know how to tell about it. Do you think it is getting easier for girls to be open about such experiences? Why wouldn't someone want to, even now?
2) How does the atmosphere of the jungle affect the different characters in see more

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