THE THIRD HILL NORTH OF TOWN

By Noah Bly
Kensington BooksFebruary 2014
kensingtonbooks.com

Trade400 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 978-0758290779
Subject: Friendship / Loss / Social Issues

  1. Does The Third Hill North of Town fit into a specific genre? Is it a crime novel? A tragedy? A dark comedy? An action-adventure story? What best describes it?
  2. Which of the three main characters—Julianna Dapper, Elijah Hunter, or Jon Tate—is the strongest? The most vulnerable? The easiest to care about? Of all the minor characters, is there one that is particularly appealing (or repelling)?
  3. Is there a discernible theme to this novel? If so, what would it be?
  4. Throughout the story, Coincidence is referred to many times as a type of deity, almost like the trickster character Coyote in various Native American mythologies. What does this contribute to the overall narrative?
  5. Edgar Reilly’s Edsel Ranger and Chuck Stockton’s Volkswagen Beetle are very much part of this novel, possessing distinct “personalities” of their own. Why do you think the author chose these particular automobiles for this story?
  6. The interludes all take place in 1923, as opposed to the rest of the book, which is set in 1962. How does the author weave these separate timelines together to tell Julianna’s story? Why are the interludes interspersed throughout the novel instead of just having the 1923 story be told all at once?
  7. Julianna, Jon, and Elijah—a trio of misfits—become very close over the course of the novel, though in reality they are only together for two days. Why do you think they bond the way they do? What does each of them gain from the others?
  8. In a sense, every character in this book can be seen as emotionally damaged. Who is the least damaged? The most?
  9. As the story progresses, several characters noticeably change, for either good or bad. What are some examples of this? Which character changes the most?
  10. Much that happens in this book is bittersweet, including the ending. What do you think the author is trying to convey about the nature of friendship and the passage of time?

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