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The Other Half of Me

The Other Half of Me

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • customer reviews
“What good can the past do the living? What harm?” Growing up in their family’s ancestral home in Wales, Jonathan Anthony and his little sister, Theo, are inseparable. Together they explore the wild acres of Evendon, inventing magical worlds and buttressing each other against the loneliness of life with their alcoholic mother, Alicia, and a shifting cast of gossiping cooks and maids. When a family tragedy brings their glamorous grandmother, Eve, home from America, Jonathan and Theo are initially elated by the attention she lavishes on them. But soon it becomes clear that there is more to the Anthony family history than either Eve or Alicia will acknowledge, trapping Jonathan and Theo in a web of dark secrets that have haunted Evendon for generations.

Written in luminous prose, with richly endearing characters and a profound appreciation for the rustic beauty of the Welsh countryside, The Other Half of Me is a darkly wise coming-of-age novel and a masterful portrait of a family and the burdens of the past.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451668230 | 
  • September 2012
List Price $15.00
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

When I look back for a place to start I always think of the same day—a day that didn’t seem unusual at the time, but was necessary to what came next. It is the last day of a backward trajectory: I arrive at it as if tracing a thrown ball back through the air to the spot where the thrower stood. At the time, of course, you don’t know that a ball was thrown. You hear the glass smash, then you rush to the window and look out, trying to see the culprit. This particular day begins with a summer morning; the lawn burning green; the new, nectared sunlight. I was nearly eight years old, sitting on the grass... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Other Half of Me includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Morgan McCarthy. 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

Jonathan and Theo are as close as siblings can be, having been raised by their eccentric, powerful, and glamorous grandmother in the shadow of an alcoholic mother and a mysteriously absent father. But their bond is threatened by suspicions about the truth behind their father’s disappearance, as well as the dark pull of hidden secrets. Set in the rustic Welsh countryside, The Other Half of Me is a rich, luminous debut novel that explores the bonds of family and the power the past holds over our present.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Early on in the novel Jonathan describes his relationship with his mother, Alicia, as distant: “she simply didn’t occupy the same emotional space as the rest of us” (p. 38). How would you describe the relationship between Alicia and Jonathan by the end of the novel?

2. The house at Evendon is treated as its own character: “—the happiness of Evendon—was delicate, a balance of things that were said see more

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