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Reading guide for The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie

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The Drifter

by Nicholas Petrie

The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie X
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 384 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2016, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. What is the significance of the title?
  2. In the first chapter, Peter Ash reflects with guilt on the ostensible suicide of his friend Jimmy, believing it was somehow his fault. Why does Peter feel this way? What does this suggest about Peter's character and about his relationship with Jimmy?
  3. Many of the characters in the novel suffer from war injuries that are "not visible to the eye." Which characters are impacted in this way? How does each character learn to cope (or not) with his unique symptoms?
  4. What do you think of the character Lewis? Did your opinion of him change over the course of the novel?
  5. The dog, Mingus, is a character unto himself. What does he bring to the story?
  6. The lives of returning veterans are a central concern of the novel. What does the story illustrate about the problems veterans face as they integrate back into civilian life? How do the different characters exemplify these issues?
  7. In addition to the struggles faced by veterans, the novel also touches on the strain placed on the families of active military and veterans. What difficulties did Dinah and her sons face as a military family?
  8. Several of the characters seem to fall into a moral gray area, neither heroic nor exactly villains. How did the author create these subtleties? Which characters did you find sympathetic despite their actions, and why?
  9. How did the Milwaukee setting shape the story?
  10. Did you anticipate the twist involving Lipsky and Skinner? What clues pointed to this ending?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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