Descent (Paperback)

By Tim Johnston

Algonquin Books, 9781616204778, 400pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

January 2015 Indie Next List

“Descent is a gripping, utterly engrossing account of a girl's disappearance in the Rocky Mountains. The aftermath of this tragedy is told in alternating voices: the injured brother at the scene of the accident when she left with a stranger to get help; the mother who has been hospitalized and stunned into breathtaking grief; the father who has been unable to leave the small town where the family was vacationing when his daughter disappeared -- and most stunning of all, through the words of the victim herself. A real page-turner with a brilliantly conceived climax!”
— Kelly Estep, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY
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Description

The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, who are taking a family vacation before their daughter leaves for college. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and onlySean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic. Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, "Descent" races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion. Read this astonishing novel . . .The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston's story. " The Washington Post" A compelling thriller that is both creepy and literary . . . "Descent" isnot just a mystery. It is an emotional story of evil, fear, acceptance and irony. " The Denver Post" " "What makes the novel unforgettable is its sense of character, its deliberate, unadorned prose and Johnston's unflinching exploration of human endurance, physical and psychological. " Miami Herald" A super-charged, addictive read. " The Missourian" An original and psychologically deep thriller. " Outside "magazine Outstanding . . . The days when you had to choose between agreat story and a great piece of writing? Gone. " Esquire" A.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. How does the setting—the Rocky Mountains of Colorado—influence the mood of the novel? How does it affect each of the main characters, both directly and indirectly?generic viagra price canada
  2. At the beginning of Descent, Grant and Angela Courtland are trying to repair a rift in their marriage. If their daughter had not disappeared, do you think they would have been able to work out their differences?generic viagra price canada
  3. Following Sean’s accident, when his bike is hit by the “jeep-thing,” do you think Caitlin makes a logical decision in agreeing to ride with the driver? What would you have done?generic viagra price canada
  4. How does the death of her twin sister, Faith, affect how Angela responds to her daughter’s disappearance on that first day, and how does it affect her in the months that follow?generic viagra price canada
  5. After Caitlin’s disappearance, the other three members of her family begin to drift away from one another, each going in his or her own direction. It is Sean, however, who seems to tie them all together. What is the nature of his relationship with his parents at the beginning of the story? How does it change by the end?generic viagra price canada
  6. One of the novel’s themes is the wrong turns people make in their lives. Do you feel that wrong turns have led to necessary learning experiences for these characters? If so, how, and for which characters?generic viagra price canada
  7. Despite her abductor’s efforts to engage with her on an emotional level, Caitlin never succumbs. Given the phenomenon of Stockholm syndrome, in which the prisoner begins to identify and sympathize with his or her captor, do you feel that Caitlin’s resistance is realistic? How much longer do you think she could have continued to hold out emotionally?generic viagra price canada
  8. Redemption is another strong theme in Descent, especially for the character Billy. Do you feel that his transformation plays out in a believable way? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  9. Towards the end of the novel, in response to a question, Billy says, “’Cause he’s dumb and reckless.” Through the actions of Billy, Caitlin, Sean, and Grant, the novel explores the fine line between recklessness and bravery. Do you think their actions are reckless, brave, or both?generic viagra price canada
  10. Caitlin often imagines another girl speaking to her—an older, stronger girl. Why do you think she imagines this? Does this aspect of her character connect her to anyone else in the novel?generic viagra price canada
  11. By the end of Descent, what does the future look like for the Courtlands, both individually and as a unit?generic viagra price canada
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