July 9 discussion question

Hazel considers An Imperial Affliction “so special and rare that advertising your affection for it feels like a betrayal.” Why is it Hazel’s favorite book? Why is it so important that she and Gus learn what happens after its heroine dies? Have you ever felt the same way about a book as Hazel does—that it is too special to talk about?

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2 Responses to July 9 discussion question

  1. Rehab says:

    I am sure that there are themes, characters, etc. in An Imperial Affliction that make Hazel come back to it and read it over and over again. I wonder, then, whether the longevity of the relationship she has with the book itself makes it a significant part of her life, you know? I remember reading Anna Karenina and because I read it over a year or two, I associate it directly with things that were happening in my life then. It was like Anna, Levin, and I were going through that part of my life together. I wonder if Hazel felt the same way about An Imperial Affliction.

  2. denise says:

    My “Imperial Affliction” was “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. It was an exquisite reminder of the importance of fate, faith, and friendship at a time when I needed it most.

    One of my favorite quotes about the power of books comes from author Jeanette Winterson:

    “All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words. “

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