Egg & Spoon (Hardcover)

By Gregory Maguire

Candlewick Press (MA), 9780763672201, 475pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

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Description

In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar's army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg -- a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age. When the two girls' lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and -- in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured -- Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.


About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the author of the incredibly popular books in the Wicked Years series, including Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which inspired the musical. He is also the author of several books for children, including What-the-Dickens, a New York Times bestseller. Gregory Maguire lives outside Boston.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. As the story unfolds, the narrator reveals more and more about himself. Does your opinionof him change along the way? How trustworthy is he? How likable? Why does he risk somuch for Elena?generic viagra price canada
  2. What are the major differences that divide Elena and Cat at the beginning of Egg & Spoon?By the end, what are their common bonds?generic viagra price canada
  3. The Firebird is described as the “bright soul of all the Russias” (page 4). What does that mean? How can a country have a soul? Does America have one?generic viagra price canada
  4. Great-Aunt Sophia has gone to enormous trouble and expense so that Cat can be introduced to the Tsar’s godson. Why? What does the older woman want for her niece? What does Cat want for herself?generic viagra price canada
  5. “Ambition without direction,” Peter Petrovich tells Elena (page 28), “is like milk without a cup.” What does he mean by this? Which characters in the novel prove his point? How?generic viagra price canada
  6. Russian aristocrats in this novel seem more likely to speak French than Russian. What does this suggest about their attachment to their homeland? They also tend to doubt the existence of Baba Yaga and the Firebird. Why?generic viagra price canada
  7. “I am life,” says Baba Yaga (page 144) soon after she meets Cat. What do you think she means by that? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  8. Baba Yaga’s wicked wit sometimes flies right over the heads of her listeners. What are some of her jokes that you caught?What are some of her zany, comic anachronisms (puns, references, or quotes from our time, not Tsarist Russia’s)? Which are your favorites? Why?generic viagra price canada
  9. In Egg & Spoon, the arctic is melting because the great ice-dragon can’t fall asleep. “When human voices halt their cry of want and want,” he says (page 385), “then I will sleep again.” What is the cause of climate change in our time? In what ways does human wanting contribute to the problem?generic viagra price canada
  10. The families in Egg & Spoon come in many forms, some traditional and some deliciously wacky. Which family in this novel would you want to join? Why?generic viagra price canada
  11. Baba Yaga isn’t the only character in this book whose bark turns out to be worse than her bite. Which other characters gradually reveal their softer side? Why are they slow to show kindness?generic viagra price canada
  12. Prince Anton calls himself and his fellow travelers the League of Freed Prisoners, yet only Elena has been a prisoner. What confinements have the others escaped?generic viagra price canada
  13. According to the narrator, there are two kinds of stories, and Egg & Spoon might be telling “both kinds at once: a stranger comes to town and a hero goes on a journey” (page 84).Who is the stranger who comes to town in this novel? Who is the traveling hero? Can you think of a story that doesn’t fit either type?generic viagra price canada
  14. “There is enough world for everyone,” says the dragon (page 386). “But everyone cries in want of more.” Do you agree? Why is it so difficult to know the difference between enough and more than enough?generic viagra price canada
  15. “Perplexity,” according to the narrator, might have been Elena’s greatest strength (page 365).What does he mean by that? Do you agree? How can uncertainty do more good than conviction?generic viagra price canada
  16. “The word Elena means ‘light.’ ” Maxim Rudin explains (page 393). Why is this such an appropriate name for his daughter? How does Elena live up to it?generic viagra price canada
  17. What is the significance of the title? Does it refer to one particular egg in this novel full of remarkable eggs? What connection does an egg have with a spoon? “Does being in possession of a spoon give you more right to the egg?” the narrator asks (page 188). What do you think?generic viagra price canada
  18. Both of the protagonists have a chance to hold and cherish one of the two eggs in the story: the fabulous bejeweled Fabergé egg and the unhatched egg of the Firebird. What kind of value is attached to each egg? Is one worth more than the other? What about the endlessly renewable egg laid by the immortal hen of the tundra?generic viagra price canada
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