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Think of England

Think of England

A Novel

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Two cataclysmic events occur on February 9, 1964. The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and later that night, nine-year-old Jane MacLeod's life changes forever. It has been said that children are good observers but poor interpreters. Jane's interpretation of the events of that evening shapes her life in ways she doesn't recognize. Think of England follows Jane from an intense love affair in the ex-pat scene in punk-era London to working motherhood in New York to a family reunion in the country -- and a reckoning with the ghost that has stood between her and her dream of a happy family.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743234979 | 
  • May 2003
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Chapter One

On that night, a Sunday in February, Jane read under the covers with a flashlight, skimming a novel for a page she wanted to read again. Every so often, she closed the book and looked at the cover, where her own name appeared in the title. It was exciting to see it that way, in carved letters. It made the book hers. She had a pen and her notebook with her, too, just in case; she liked to write things down. She was the kind of girl who felt New Year's should be in the fall, at the beginning of school, the kind of girl who begged for chores and saved quarters in a jar to buy a pony. Beneath her nightgown she wore a pair of fresh... see more

Reading Group Guide

Simon & Schuster
Reading Group Guide
Think of England
Synopsis
From an acknowledged master of short fiction comes a deeply affecting novel about a thoughtful girl's journey into adulthood. When the narrative opens in 1964, Jane MacLeod is a precocious nine-year-old, troubled by her parents' misery and trying to will her family into happiness. But soon her hopes are dashed by a tragedy that is to haunt her for many years to come. Jane is twenty-three when she travels to London to forge a new path for herself. After befriending Nigel and Colette, whose creativity and unfettered lifestyle inspire her, she meets a tall writer named Clay, who reawakens her longing for a happy life -- but again she is disillusioned. Decades pass before Jane, now a single mother with a daughter of her own, is able to come to terms with her past.
Discussion points
1. "Set me as a seal upon your heart...for love is as strong as death, passion as fierce as the grave." These words from the Song of Solomon serve as an epigraph to Think of England. Why do you think the author chose this quotation? What role do love and passion play in the story? What kinds of love prove most powerful?
2. Split into three sections that take place many years apart, the novel has an unusual and intriguing structure. Why do you suppose Dark chose to tell her story this way? How do the leaps in time enrich our understanding of the characters and themes?
3. The young J see more

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