THE MIRACLE ON MONHEGAN ISLAND

Elizabeth Kelly

The best-selling, award-winning author of The Last Summer of the Camperdowns returns with another rollicking, summertime family saga.

When Spark—the rakish prodigal son—returns unannounced to the dilapidated family home on Maine’s Monhegan Island, his arrival launches one unforgettable summer. During his absence, his gentle brother and shrewd, fork-tongued father Pastor Ragnar have been caring for Spark’s son, Hally. A temperamental adolescent emboldened by tales of his father’s mischief, Hally is careening through an identity crisis when he stuns his family by claiming to have had a spiritual vision. Though Spark is permanently dubious, Pastor Ragnar pounces on the chance to revitalize his flagging church.

more …

The best-selling, award-winning author of The Last Summer of the Camperdowns returns with another rollicking, summertime family saga.

When Spark—the rakish prodigal son—returns unannounced to the dilapidated family home on Maine’s Monhegan Island, his arrival launches one unforgettable summer. During his absence, his gentle brother and shrewd, fork-tongued father Pastor Ragnar have been caring for Spark’s son, Hally. A temperamental adolescent emboldened by tales of his father’s mischief, Hally is careening through an identity crisis when he stuns his family by claiming to have had a spiritual vision. Though Spark is permanently dubious, Pastor Ragnar pounces on the chance to revitalize his flagging church. Hally is shoved into the spotlight and, in the frenzy that follows, this fragile family of fathers and sons is pushed to the brink.

Narrated in larger-than-life, crackling prose by the charismatic family dog, The Miracle on Monhegan Island is another uproarious and outrageous must-read summer blockbuster from Elizabeth Kelly.

less …
  • Liveright
  • Hardcover
  • May 2016
  • 336 Pages
  • 9781631491795

Buy the Book

$25.95

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly is the best-selling author of The Last Summer of the Camperdowns (finalist for the New England Society Book Award) and Apologize, Apologize!. She lives in Merrickville, Ontario, with her husband, five dogs, and three cats.

Praise

Exquisite and occasionally uproarious. . . .If you think your family is dysfunctional, you’ll love the madcap Monahans. Their story is so memorable, touching and dog-eat-dog (sorry), it can only be told by a true insider.—Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

At once touching and humorous . . . . The winning element of this story is Ned’s voice, which provides an entertaining perspective on a dog’s life.”Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review

More terrific work from a writer who gets better with each book.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Charming, witty, and well-paced . . . . Comparable to Spill Simmer Falter Wither and the works of Rebecca Makkai, this novel is equally thrilling and therapeutic.”Booklist

Discussion Questions

Why do you think Elizabeth Kelly chose to narrate the story from a dog’s perspective? What does this accomplish? Do you feel that Ned is a reliable narrator?

Ned is very observant, even judgmental, about his fellow dog breeds. Does this serve merely as comic relief, or something more? How does his own breed affect his personality, and how might this relate to the longstanding familial ties on Monhegan Island?

Ned says of Pastor Ragnor, “You can’t beat the combination of a man with wicked margins who plays at being good.” Do you believe that Pastor Ragnor is “wicked” at heart? Why or why not?

Do you think Hally is lying about the apparition, among other things? Why might he feel the need to lie?

Describe the island the Monahan family has lived on for generations. How do you think it relates to the story?

Why do you think Spark left for so long and has chosen this moment to return? Was his absence properly explained?

There are a lot of absent female characters in this story: Hally has lost his mother—the woman Spark loved so dearly—and his grandmother. Hugh doesn’t have a partner of his own, nor has Pastor Ragnor found a replacement for Hally’s grandmother. How does this loss affect the men of the Monahan family?

The idea of certain belief—of proof, loyalty, and truth—is questioned throughout the novel. List several instances and describe. Which character’s beliefs do you find most relatable?

Spark is mocked by his father for being an “idealist.” Which character do you think best fits that description and why?

As a young boy coming into his own, Hally is concerned about pleasing those around him, while seemingly eager to test his own boundaries. What are Hally’s biggest worries, and why?

Do you agree with Ned’s suspicion that Spark had always secretly believed Hally, while Pastor Ragnor never had?