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Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
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Abide with Me

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Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
Paperback $17.00
Mar 13, 2007 | ISBN 9780812971828

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    Mar 13, 2007 | ISBN 9780812971828

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  • Mar 14, 2006 | ISBN 9781588365118

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  • Mar 14, 2006 | ISBN 9781415932100

    606 Minutes

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  • Mar 14, 2006 | ISBN 9780739324691

    353 Minutes

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“Strout’s greatly anticipated second novel . . . is an answered prayer.”Vanity Fair
“Superb . . . a shimmering tale of loss, faith, and human fallibility . . . You feel yourself in the hands of a master storyteller.”O: The Oprah Magazine
“Deeply moving . . . In one beautiful page after another, Strout captures the mysterious combinations of hope and sorrow. She sees all these wounded people with heartbreaking clarity, but she has managed to write a story that cradles them in understanding and that, somehow, seems like a foretaste of salvation.”The Washington Post
“This lovely second novel confirms Strout as the possessor of an irresistibly companionable, peculiarly American voice: folksy, poetic, but always as precise as a shadow on a brilliant winter day.”The Atlantic Monthly
“Graceful and moving . . . The pacing of Strout’s deeply felt fiction about the distance between parents and children gives her work an addictive quality.”People (four stars)

Author Q&A

The Reverend Tyler Caskey wants to be a good husband, a good father, and a good minister to his congregation in this small New England town. Charismatic and kind-hearted, he has been loved by many, and has successfully maneuvered his way around the difficult head deacon, Charlie Austin, a man traumatized by his war experience, and whose pain is private, but pernicious to others. Then an unexpected tragedy causes Tyler to act outside his system of belief, and he begins to lose his sense of self, as well as the good wishes of his community. His only friend becomes his quiet housekeeper, Connie Hatch.

In writing this book I was interested in the following issues:

Compassion. Is compassion a luxury? Something we are able provide only when things are going well — or well enough — in our own lives?

Our moral code and sense of self. What happens when we find ourselves acting outside our own previously devised moral code? How do we reconcile the difference between the way we assumed our life would be, and what life actually brings to us?

Criminal vs. non-criminal acts. Why has society decided that some things we might do are offenses against the state and punishable by the law, while other acts fall into that murky area of a more personal decision about what is right and what is wrong?

Religious faith. How do we maintain our religious faith when we find ourselves acting in ways that go against what we think we believe in? What is it like to be a minister whose job is to be the spiritual leader of his community when his sudden grief barely allows him to hang on?

Secrets. When does a secret begin to erode our sense of self and cause a feeling of isolation that spills pain onto others? When do we decide to keep a secret to ourselves?

Psychological theories vs. religious beliefs. How effective can we be in understanding the feelings — particularly of children — by applying a psychological interpretation to their experience? How can these theories be integrated into religious thought?

Love vs. fear. What is it that causes the power of love to emerge and become stronger than the power of fear? And how does this affect not only our personal lives, but the state of the world?

I write because people amaze me, and life awes me. I write because I hope that by telling the stories of others, and by reading the stories of others, we can possibly see the world in a larger way, and that we can enjoy a good, old-fashioned storytelling experience along the way.

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