The Coal Tattoo: A Novel de Silas HouseThe Coal Tattoo: A Novel de Silas House

The Coal Tattoo: A Novel

deSilas House

Couverture souple | 30 août 2005 | Anglais

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Life isn’t easy for twenty-two year old Easter and her teenage sister Anneth, who were left parentless as young children. While Easter, a devout Pentecostal, finds solace in the powerful music of her church, Anneth seeks comfort in the rougher edges of life found in dancing, drinking, and fast living. Easter believes in tradition and is intent on rearing her wild young sister properly, but it’s only a matter of time before a wedge is driven between them–and threatens to undo their bond forever. . . .
Silas House is the author of Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, Eli the Good, Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani, 2012); three plays, The Hurting Part, Long Time Travelling, This Is My Heart For You; and Something’s Rising, a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard. Hous...
Titre :The Coal Tattoo: A NovelFormat :Couverture soupleDimensions de l'article :368 pages, 8 × 5,2 × 0,8 poDimensions à l'expédition :8 × 5,2 × 0,8 poPublié le :30 août 2005Langue :Anglais

Les ISBN ci-dessous sont associés à ce titre :

ISBN - 10 :0345480058

ISBN - 13 :9780345480057


Conseils de votre groupe de lecture

1. Did you know what a coal tattoo was before reading this novel? In what ways does the occurrence of a coal tattoo stand as metaphor or as symbol for the characters in this story? What different meanings does it have?2. The character traits of Easter and Anneth are often juxtaposed in the novel. Easter realizes early in the story that there “was no name she could put to the difference between them.” How do the sisters’ differences keep them in conflict? Bring them together? How are Easter and Anneth alike?3. Is Easter jealous or resentful of Anneth’s wild and carefree approach to life? Is Anneth jealous or resentful of Easter’s more grounded and careful approach to living?4. How have the sisters’ grandmothers, Vine and Serena, affected the sisters’ development as women, as sisters, as mothers?5. How does Easter’s devout religious faith both enrich and hinder her life?6. Consider the scene where Easter is returning home after singing secular music on a popular television show (after she has left the church). She recalls the childhood memory of her grandmothers bringing her to a camp meeting where she had two first experiences: An anointing by the Holy Ghost and helping her grandmothers minister to striking coal-mining families. Does Easter view both of these experiences as religious?7. Easter seems to possess mystical abilities, while Anneth seems obsessed with looking “for magic anywhere she could find it.” Easter wants to reject these mystical abilities, preferring instead “the peace of a life well lived, a good man, and the knowledge that her family was safe,” while Anneth continues to look for magic every day. Do the women ever reconcile themselves to their different quests? How?8. Why does Anneth keep marrying men she doesn’t love?9. What are the narrator’s attitudes toward the coal-mining industry in the early part of the novel? What are Anneth’s attitudes toward coal mining in the first half of the novel? What are the major factors that cause Anneth to view coal mining differently later on?10. Discuss your own experiences with, and dispositions about, coal mining. Did you know what a broad form deed was before reading this novel? How does coal mining affect Black Banks? The environment at large? The economic and political infrastructure of Crow County?11. How does the author explore class differences in this novel? Consider coal miners vs. Altamont Mining Company, churchgoers vs. nonbelievers, rural people vs. city people, Kentuckians vs. others? Does Silas House set up an “us vs. them” outlook in this story? Why or why not?12. How does the author animate or enliven abstract concepts like faith, love, depression, and grief?13. Water is a recurring motif in this story. Anneth is said to know water “on intimate terms.” What do you think this means? What are the different connotations for water that are explored in this novel? In what ways do the characters consider water as a personal emblem?14. Redbirds also have a recurring role in this story. How do redbirds (and other elements of the natural world) help direct Easterand Anneth?15. Do you agree or disagree with Vine’s suggestion to Easter that “stillness is a habit easily gained”? Why?16. What accounts for the fierce loyalty Easter and Anneth hold for their small place on Free Creek? Do you think this allegiance to land is unique to eastern Kentuckians?17. With which character(s) do you most closely identify? Why?18. How do the chapter titles and the epigraphs from the book’s four sections contribute to your knowledge of the characters, plot, settings, or themes of the story?19. The Coal Tattoo can be considered a companion book to Silas House’s first two novels. If you have read Clay’s Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves, how are these stories threaded together?


“A portrait of two sisters that is both realistic and deeply moving . . . House stakes a strong claim on the territory of Southern fiction, unearthing new gems from a well-loved landscape.”–The Charlotte Observer“[This] lovely novel . . . about the love and survival skills of two very different sisters . . . is powered by a strong sense of place.”–USA Today “[House is] a writer of startling abilities . . . a master at rendering his characters’ emotional terrain as real and accessible.”–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution“Full of heartbreaking beauty and suffering . . . House brings vividly to life the Appalachian Mountains. . . . His love of the land comes through his words, and his admiration of the people colors every character.”–Richmond Times-Dispatch“Some characters wear coal tattoos, patches of coal buried in the skin. . . . The author brands the readers with a similarly indelible mark as we become enmeshed in the lives of these people; it’s a badge to be worn proudly.”–Southern Living“A deeply emotional story . . . How do we cope with tragedy and heartbreak? The Coal Tattoo describes the struggles that all of us must endure to be human.”–Dayton Daily News“Engrossing . . . [A] pitch-perfect tale.”–Seattle Post-Intelligencer