Reading guide for Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Idaho

A Novel

by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich X
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Nov 2017, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Though at the novel's center is an act of shocking violence, this is also a story about many different kinds of love. What are these various forms of love? What role does love play in this novel, and how does love contribute to the feelings you are left with in the end?
  2. When Wade's memory begins to fail, Ann endures humiliation and physical pain because of his actions, which, to someone outside of the relationship, would look like domestic abuse. Discuss the ways in which she copes with these episodes. How does Ann interpret these acts of violence, and what does that say about her as a character? Did you feel nervous and uncomfortable about the fine line she is walking between her love and her safety?
  3. What are other examples of sacrifice in this novel?
  4. Consider the structure of the book: the shifting narrative voices and the shifting timeline, spanning nearly fifty years. How does the book's structure influence your understanding of each character and his or her story? Discuss also the inclusion of minor perspectives, such as the bloodhound and Eliot.
  5. What role does art play in this story? Consider music, painting, and poetry. How do you understand Tom Clark's motivations?
  6. Near the end of the novel, Ann remembers learning about the history of Idaho's name. How does this history inform her own life? Why is Idaho the title of this novel? Discuss also the role the landscape plays in the interior lives of all the characters. How would you characterize this landscape?
  7. Female friendship and sisterhood are major themes. Discuss the various relationships between the female characters, including the children. Is female friendship the saving grace of this story?
  8. How do you interpret the act of violence that is at the heart of this story? Do you feel that Ann's interpretation is correct? Do you feel the novel provides an absolute answer? Why do you think the author chose to tell only as much as she did?
  9. Do you sympathize with Jenny, in spite of what she's done? Why or why not? If you had to choose only one moment in the story that characterized Jenny, would it be her act of violence, or something else? How do you think she understands herself?
  10. Are you surprised by the end of Ann's story? Jenny's? Why or why not?



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

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Idaho—A Nonsense Name?

Join BookBrowse

For a year of great reading
about exceptional books!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Move Like Water
    Move Like Water
    by Hannah Stowe
    As a child growing up on the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, Hannah Stowe always loved the sea, ...
  • Book Jacket
    Loved and Missed
    by Susie Boyt
    London-based author and theater director Susie Boyt has written seven novels and the PEN Ackerley ...
  • Book Jacket: Beyond the Door of No Return
    Beyond the Door of No Return
    by David Diop
    In early 19th-century France, Aglaé's father Michel Adanson dies of old age. Sitting at ...
  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    Crossings
    by Ben Goldfarb
    We've all seen it—a dead animal carcass on the side of the road, clearly mowed down by a car. ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Fair Rosaline
by Natasha Solomons
A subversive, powerful untelling of Romeo and Juliet by New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    This Is Salvaged
    by Vauhini Vara

    Stories of uncanny originality from Vauhini Vara, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

  • Book Jacket

    Devil Makes Three
    by Ben Fountain

    A brilliant and propulsive novel set in Haiti from the award-winning, bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

Win This Book
Win Moscow X

25 Copies to Give Away!

A daring CIA operation threatens chaos in the Kremlin. But can Langley trust the Russian at its center?

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A M I A Terrible T T W

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.