Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book on the Side: Week 3

Here are some topics to mull over in Week 3 and another interview with the author. Enjoy!

Unlike Mumma and her devout sister Lillie, Agnes struggles with her faith. Why are some people so at home in the religion they were born to, while others chafe at it? Does her trip to the Holy Land change Agnes's philosophical framework, or is she left without a moral compass? Where is Agnes at the end of the novel? Is she a “soul who cannot find her way?”

Russell paints a vivid picture of America in the Roaring Twenties, and identifies a strong correlation between identity and consumption (with Freud and postwar advertising to thank). How has advertising changed since the 1920s? Do you recognize modern America in the descriptions?

T. E. Lawrence, Karl Weilbacher, Gertrude Bell, Lord Cox, and Winston Churchill all have theories on imperial rule and how to best resolve the growing conflicts in the Middle East. What are their ideas and how do they hold up to hindsight and a modern historical perspective?

Mary Doria Russell discusses writing Dreamers of the Day (another interview with the author)

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