THE SECRET CHORD

Geraldine Brooks

A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March. With more than two million copies of her novels sold, The New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame,

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A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March. With more than two million copies of her novels sold, The New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

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  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • October 2016
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780143109761

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$16.00

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About Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks was born and raised in Australia. After earning her master’s degree from Columbia School of Journalism, Brooks covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for The Wall Street Journal. She published her first novel, Year of Wonders, in 2001, and won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her second novel March. Brooks is also the author of the novels People of the Book (2008) and Caleb’s Crossing (2011) and has wrote the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. She lives with her husband and two sons in Martha’s Vineyard.

Praise

The Secret Chord—a thundering, gritty, emotionally devastating reconsideration of the story of King David—makes a masterly case for the generative power of retelling … some of the magic here has to do with setting and time—for sensory dramatics, it’s hard to compete with the Iron Age Middle East … but Brooks’s real accomplishment is that she also enables readers to feel the spirit of the place.” —The New York Times

“A page turner … Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive … in [her]skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns: love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality.” —Alice Hoffman, The Washington Post

Discussion Questions

1. Natan’s first prophecy spares him from certain death but also sets him apart from other men. Is his ability a gift or a curse?

2. How does David’s childhood inform your understanding of the man he will become?

3. What might it mean that God chose to bestow so much upon a man as imperfect as David?

4. Do you believe that some people are chosen to speak in God’s name? What role do prophets play in the events of man?

5. Would David make a good leader today? Why or why not?

6. What is David’s worst crime? His greatest achievement?

7. Which of David’s wives do you believe suffered the most at his hands? Did he love Yonatan more than any of them? If so, why might that be?

8. How well does Geraldine Brooks capture David’s era and his essence?

9. David is a man driven by passion and violence, but he loves God with equal fervor. How would you explain this?

10. Are you familiar with the psalms attributed to David? If so, do you have a favorite?

11. What might David have done if he had known that Natan was hiding what he knew about his sons’ futures? Would David hesitate to kill Natan if he felt the prophet had betrayed him?

12. What is the nature of Natan’s feelings toward David? Would you be able to serve a man like him?

13. What is “the secret chord”? Why did Brooks choose this phrase as the novel’s title?