The Train of Small Mercies

By David Rowell
(Wheeler Publishing, Hardcover, Large Print, 9781410446299, 383pp.)

Publication Date: March 2012

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Cassette, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2011 Indie Next List
“Old and young, black and white, nuns and bikers, girls in bikinis and men in military uniforms, all gathered to pay homage to Robert Kennedy as his funeral train passed by. This novel depicts a day in the lives of six characters who are looking for hope in an America overcome by grief. All ask the same question: Who now will stand up for those who need championing? A stunning debut!”
-- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI


Description

In haunting and crystalline prose, "The Train of Small Mercies" follows six characters' intrepid search for hope among the debris of an American tragedy.

In New York, a young black porter struggles through his first day on the job-a staggering assignment aboard Robert F. Kennedy's funeral train. In Pennsylvania, a woman creates a tangle of lies to sneak away from her disapproving husband and pay her respects to the slain senator, dragging her child with her. In Maryland, a wounded young soldier awaits a newspaper interview that his parents hope will restore his damaged self-esteem. And in Washington, an Irish nanny in town to interview with the Kennedy family must reconcile the lost opportunity and the chance to start her life anew.

In this stunning debut, David Rowell depicts disparate lives united by an extraordinary commemoration, irrevocably changed as Kennedy's funeral train makes its solemn journey from New York to Washington.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The novel is a work of fiction based on actual events. What do we as readers gain from the way the novel is structured (state by state)? What is the significance of depicting the lives of those living in the different states during that period of history? Each character in the novel is different from the next—racially, socially, etc. Why does the author include numerous characters of various backgrounds? Do their differences play into the mood of the novel?

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