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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Where Trouble Sleeps

1. How would you characterize Stephen's relationship with each of his parents? With his church and his religion?

2. What prospects of stability are offered to the community by the church? Instability?

3. How is the church important to Jack Umstead?

4. How is the setting (1950s, rural community) important to the story?

5. What might Alease see in Jack Umstead and why? Does he have any redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?

6. Discuss the significance of the title.

7. How are the major characters and the community changed by Umstead's visit?

8. How does shifting point of view aid or hinder your reading of this story?

9. How might a year-2000 visit by Jack Umstead to Listre, North Carolina, be different from the 1952 visit in Where Trouble Sleeps?

10. How were your childhood views of God and religion different from those of Stephen?

11. How will Stephen's experiences as a child in Where Trouble Sleeps influence his life as an adolescent? As an adult? Which of the adults in the novel will he most resemble as an adult?

12. What events or experiences in your own childhood could become the basis for a novel?

Where Trouble Sleeps
by Clyde Edgerton

  • Publication Date: October 20, 1998
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345426320
  • ISBN-13: 9780345426321