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  1. Book ImageEve Green: A Novel

    Susan Fletcher

    Winner of the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award.

The Author on Her Work

I knew very little when I began to write Eve Green. I had no plot, no list of characters; I was not sure of my themes. But I knew I didn’t want my debut novel to be autobiographical. Physically, Eve bears a slight resemblance to me, but otherwise, this story is hers. She is an orphaned mother; her hopes and fears are her own. I was also keen to set the book in rural Wales-it is this wild, lonesome landscape that first led me to want to write. Aside from this, the book was wholly unplanned.

So much was written that I did not include, in the end. There were scenes that I liked and yet felt they served no purpose; characters that I thought would matter faded away. One of the hardest things was allowing these things to happen and not to fight it. But slowly the book took shape. Eve Green came to be a book about love, and about losing it—and about how characters cope with this loss. It came to look at a sense of self, and acceptance. It is about survival. It is about finding your place in the natural world—and so Wales is, I hope, omnipresent, haunting and rich.

I also hoped, as I began this, that I’d create a place in which the reader felt they were walking, alongside characters they believed they’d met. I love books that do this. If I have achieved it for just one person with Eve Green, then I’m contented.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does memory shape or corrupt our images of the past? What about the case of Rosie’s disappearance is stressed to support Eve’s memories? Is there anything that makes us think Eve is an unreliable narrator?
  2. How do family and family history play into Eve’s recollections of her past? Why do you think she feels compelled to fill in the blanks of her father’s identity?
  3. The story is set in rural Wales, a place remarkably different than our ordinary perceptions of England. What about Eve Green makes it a Welsh story? Do language and accent make a difference in Eve’s childhood?
  4. Do you think Eve is proud of her half-Irish heritage? The book ends with an acknowledgment that her child will have a hair color and an identity all his own, but how do Eve and the residents of the town feel about her mixed ancestry?
  5. Is there ever any question that Daniel could have been the one who abducted Rosie? Eve’s grandmother says that he was with Eve at the time she went missing, which Eve would surely corroborate. However, since we know Eve has loved Daniel her entire life, is it reasonable to have suspicions of a cover-up?
  6. What do you make of Eve’s relationship with various men in her village? She has a powerful relationship with Daniel, a deeply compassionate one with Billy (another older man), and a flirtatious but platonic friendship with Gerry. How does her relationship to the various women in the town compare to these important male friendships?
  7. How does Eve weave the mystery of her father in with the mystery of Rosie’s disappearance? In what way does her use of suspended narrative and foreshadowing draw the reader into her tale?
  8. Eve connects to her mother and father only through the mementos in her mother’s shoebox and the veiled remembrances of the people in the town. What sorts of things in our own lives connect us to the past most strongly? How do we tie ourselves into our own family history?
  9. There is a certain timeless quality to the country evoked in Eve Green. Does the sort of small-town life depicted in the novel exist today in America? If not, why are stories of such small-town intimacy and simplicity of life still so attractive?
  10. What do you think happened to Billy Macklin? Was he burned in the fire? Did he escape to another town? Which do you think Eve would prefer to believe?
  11. Discuss the way in which Susan Fletcher handles death in Eve Green. How do the deaths of her family members compare to the deaths of those outside of her family? In what ways does she handle the deaths of Eve’s friends as opposed to those to whom she feels less sympathetic?

About Susan Fletcher

Susan Fletcher is the author of Eve Green, which won the Whitbread Award for First Novel, Oystercatchers, and The Highland Witch. She lives in the United Kingdom.

Books by Susan Fletcher

  1. Book CoverEve Green: A Novel

    Winner of the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award.More

  2. Book CoverThe Highland Witch: A Novel

    "This engrossing historical novel is essential for lovers of Scottish history. With its strong female protagonist, Fletcher’s latest work casts a spell that will linger over readers long after they have finished the book." —Library Journal (starred review)More

  3. Book CoverOystercatchers: A Novel

    "A stunning novel...profound, beautiful, and redemptive."—The GuardianMore