Story of Arthur Truluv (Berg) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Story of Arthur Truluv … then take off on your own:

1. How would you describe Arthur Moses? Although many of us (are you one?) find graveyards somewhat disconcerting, even eerie, Arthur finds comfort in visiting Nora's grave. What is it about the cemetary that offers him solace?

2. What drives Maddy to the graveyard? How would you define Maddy and her father's relationship? What is it about Arthur that attracts Maddy, eventually inspiring her to coin the name Truluv?

3. Care to comment on Maddy's observation about love: "But the longer I live, the more I come to see that love is not so easy for everyone. It can get awfully complicated." Does it sadden you to realize that such a dark view of life and love comes from a teenager? Or is it preferable that young people attain wisdom or caution early on?

4. What does Lucille bring to the mix of personalities? How do you see her role?

5. "What is it that makes a family?" This question lies at the heart of the novel. Care to weigh in on it?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: Consider the quotation in full (from which the question above is taken):

What is it that makes a family? Certainly no document does, no legal pronouncement or accident of birth. No, real families come from choices we make about who we want to be bound to, and the ties to such families live in our hearts.

Consider the possible implications of that passage: perhaps blood families or legal families are not worth fighting for; it may be easier to walk away. Is the passage suggesting that, when family life falls apart, we should choose to opt out rather than attempt to work through painful relationships or deal with troubled family members? There is no right or wrong answer here: it's simply a question to spark discussion.

7. Do you find the ending satisfying? (Did you predict it?) Would you have preferred another? Why do you think Elizabeth Berg chose the conclusion she did?

8. Some have found this book schmaltzy and overly sentimental. Others find it deeply heartfelt and genuine. Where do you stand?

8. Can you see similarities between this novel and A Man Called Ove or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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