Reading guide for Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Idaho

A Novel

by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Jan 2017, 320 pages

  • 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 may 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" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Idaho—A Nonsense Name?

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Goodbye Days
    Goodbye Days
    by Jeff Zentner
    Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    by Hannah Tinti
    Hannah Tinti follows her spectacular 2008 debut, The Good Thief, with a novel of uncommon ...
  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -