The Drowning House

By Elizabeth Black
(Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, 9780385535861, 288pp.)

Publication Date: January 15, 2013

List Price: $25.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2013 Indie Next List
“There is a saying 'you can never go home again,' and Black explores this adage in her debut novel. Home is Galveston, Texas, and Clare Porterfield has not been there for 10 years. Wracked with guilt and grief over a personal loss that has torn her life apart, Clare is summoned back to Galveston and calls upon what little strength and fortitude she has to face her trip. Black beautifully explores the idea of going home by making Galveston the true main character of this novel that will make readers reflect on their own lives and wonder what it would be like to go home again.”
-- Lynn Pellerito Riehl, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI


Description

A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.

Photographer Clare Porterfield's once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn't seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family's complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family. 

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family's house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare's family's involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of Galveston, The Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time.

"The Drowning House marks the emergence of an impressive new literary voice. Elizabeth Black's suspenseful inquiry into dark family secrets is enriched by a remarkable succession of images, often minutely observed, that bring characters, setting, and story sharply into focus." —John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The Drowning House opens with two quotes, one from The Dallas Times Herald in 1966 and the other from famed American photographer Walker Evans. How do these quotes set the stage for what transpires in the novel? Why do you think the author chose them?

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