EVENING FERRY

Katherine Towler

Following the success of Snow Island (2002), Katherine Towler returns to the fictional New England island with Evening Ferry— the second installment of the multi-generational trilogy about family bonds, unexpected love, and the threat of war.

In the summer of 1965, Rachel returns to Snow Island to care for her injured father and discovers her mother’s diaries hidden in a closet. Reading Phoebe Shattuck’s account of her life as a wife and a mother, Rachel learns the truth about her own family’s history, her mother’s death, and her own aspirations to lead a new life.

In elegant prose and inspired storytelling,

more …

Following the success of Snow Island (2002), Katherine Towler returns to the fictional New England island with Evening Ferry— the second installment of the multi-generational trilogy about family bonds, unexpected love, and the threat of war.

In the summer of 1965, Rachel returns to Snow Island to care for her injured father and discovers her mother’s diaries hidden in a closet. Reading Phoebe Shattuck’s account of her life as a wife and a mother, Rachel learns the truth about her own family’s history, her mother’s death, and her own aspirations to lead a new life.

In elegant prose and inspired storytelling, Towler gives us a moving portrait of two women and the island they come to call home, at a time when the world is changing and a new generation faces war.

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  • MacAdam/Cage Publishing
  • Paperback
  • May 2012
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780985607319

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About Katherine Towler

Katherine Towler is the author of the novel Snow Island. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and graduate degrees at Johns Hopkins and Middlebury College. A freelance writer, she lives in New Hampshire.

Praise

“Inner quandaries over love, sex, memories, dreams and codes of duty are rendered with a light but vivid elegance . . . by intertwining each era’s his­tory and cultural shifts with the stories of individual islanders, Towler is creating a memorable regional trilogy.”—Providence Journal

Discussion Questions

Rachel Shattuck is at a crossroads at the opening of Evening Ferry, after her recent divorce and the death of her mother. How would you describe where she stands at the book’s end and the journey she has made?

The structure of the novel presents two voices—Rachel’s point of view and the first person voice of Phoebe in the diaries—and two time periods. How do the shifts in voice and time affect your understanding of both Rachel and Phoebe? Is the structure of the book effective and what does it achieve?

Why does Nate want Rachel to read her mother’s diaries? And why does Rachel read them in secret, trying to prevent her father from dis­covering that she has read them?

The Vietnam War hovers in the background of the story. Is the war sig­nificant? Why do you think the author set this book in 1965 and 1966 rather than 1969 or the early 1970s, when American involvement and anti-war sentiment were at their strongest?

Phoebe struggles with her role as a mother, especially to Andy, her dis­abled child. Is Phoebe’s response to being a mother surprising? Did her handling of the decision to institutionalize Andy change your under­standing of Phoebe in any way?

Readers have commented that the island itself is a character in both Snow Island and Evening Ferry. Do you think this is true? How does the island setting inform the story? Could this story take place some­where else?

At the end of the book, do you think that Rachel’s relationship with her father has changed? What has Rachel learned and how do you think it will affect her understanding of herself and her father in the future? How does it affect her understanding of her father in the future?  How does it affect her understanding of her mother as well?

Evening Ferry is the second volume of a proposed trilogy. Why do you think Katherine Towler chose to jump 20 years ahead of Snow Island in this volume and to focus on a different set of main characters? What does this achieve?

War is an underlying theme in Snow Island and Evening Ferry. How does Katherine Towler explore this theme?