The Monsters of Templeton

By Lauren Groff
(Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781401322250, 384pp.)

Publication Date: February 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Paperback, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List
“Groff's engrossing first novel is wonderfully difficult to classify. Willie Upton returns to her ancestral home in Templeton (actually Cooperstown, NY) to recover from a personal crisis. She then decides to seek the identity of her father. This mystery unfolds through the tales of long-dead relatives and others from Willie's past, which is also Cooperstown's past. And then there's that dead sea-monster that's brought out of the lake....”
-- Carol Dunn, Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“Disgraced grad student Wilhelmina Cooper returns to her upstate New York hometown to lick her wounds. Her mother gives her new purpose: a research project to track down the father she's never known -- or maybe has. Voices from the town's past slowly reveal their stories, and we see Templeton has had more monsters than just the one in the town lake.”
-- Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC


Description

"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass."

So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl's search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how one town holds the secrets of a family.

In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster's death changes the fabric of the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town.

As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.




About the Author

Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, New York, from which she draws inspiration for this novel. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her short stories have appeared in several literary publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares, and she has won fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and Yaddo. She is currently the Axton Fellow in Fiction at the University of Louisville.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What did you think of the range of voices and time periods the author employs in The Monsters of Templeton? How would the novel have been different had the story been told from a single point of view, or been set in one era?

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