THE VIEW FROM MOUNT JOY

Lorna Landvik

 One of her wilder books, The View from Mount Joy begins as the narrator (and hero) Joe Andreson and his mother have moved down to Minneapolis from a small town in Northern Minnesota. He joins the Class of ’72 at Ole Bull High School and two of the girls he meets — Kristi Casey, the cheerleading captain who assumes the earth’s orbit is for her benefit, and Darva Pratt, who cares more about art and politics than her ranking on the popularity chart – will impact the rest of his life.

We follow Joe’s story as he graduates high school and college and tumbles into a life that includes an unchosen,

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 One of her wilder books, The View from Mount Joy begins as the narrator (and hero) Joe Andreson and his mother have moved down to Minneapolis from a small town in Northern Minnesota. He joins the Class of ’72 at Ole Bull High School and two of the girls he meets — Kristi Casey, the cheerleading captain who assumes the earth’s orbit is for her benefit, and Darva Pratt, who cares more about art and politics than her ranking on the popularity chart – will impact the rest of his life.

We follow Joe’s story as he graduates high school and college and tumbles into a life that includes an unchosen, yet ultimately satisfying career, unexpected fatherhood, an evangelical super-star, guitar-playing, love and loss, and grocery store bargain days.

The View from Mount Joy will make you laugh and cry, and finally, will make you wonder at all the wild and crazy heart and beauty in this world of ours.

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  • Ballantine
  • Hardcover
  • September 2007
  • 368 Pages
  • 9780345468376

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$24.95

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About Lorna Landvik

 Lorna Landvik is the author of the bestselling novels Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Your Oasis on Flame Lake, and The Tall Pine Polka and has written reading group favorites Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, Oh My Stars, and Welcome to the Great Mysterious. She is also an actor, playwright, and proud hockey mom.

Praise

Praise for Lorna Landvik’s previous reading group favorite,
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

“Highly entertaining . . . almost as hard to put down [as] Mary McCarthy’s The Group.”
—The Seattle Times

“It is impossible not to get caught up in the lives of the book group members. . . . Landvik’s gift lies in bringing these familiar women to life with insight and humor.” —The Denver Post

Discussion Questions

Where does the title of the novel come from? In what ways is that scene, which occurs about midway through the book, emblematic of the novel and the relationship between Joe and Kristi?

Does Kristi take advantage of Joe in their relationship, or is it the other way around?

Are Joe’s relationships with women, excepting Darva and Jenny, really that different from Kristi’s with the men in her life? Isn’t he guilty of using women selfishly just as she uses men?

Is Joe a coward for quitting hockey after his college injury? What does that decision say about his character, and are there other times in the novel that Joe makes a similar decision?

What is the bond between Kristi and Joe that connects them over the course of so many years? Is it only sex, or something more? Compare this bond to that existing between Joe and Darva.

Why don’t Darva and Joe ever become a couple? Do you believe their protests that they are really not interested in each other beyond friendship?

Why do you think that Kristi grows up into the kind of woman she becomes? Is anyone or anything responsible? Is she a bad person?

Have you ever known anyone like Kristi? Can such people change?

Is Kristi happy? Does it bother you that Kristi seems to end the novel on a note of triumph? Or is it triumph?

How are the characters of Mount Joy influenced by their families?

Do you think Landvik’s portrait of born-again evangelism is a fair one? Why or why not?

How did your own religious beliefs come into play as you were reading the novel? Do you think this is primarily a religious or a secular book—and why?

Death in Mount Joy comes suddenly, unexpectedly, and for the most part violently. Why does Landvik present death in this way?

Is Joe, looking down on shoppers from his office in the supermarket and orchestrating contests to reward them, a symbol for God? Do you seen any evidence in the book that Landvik might be suggesting God operates in a similar way?

Are Jenny and Flora rewards given to Joe? If so, what is he being rewarded for? And is it right that his reward comes at the expense of Jenny’s divorce and Darva’s death?

As the novel progresses, the events involving Kristi seem to spiral further into realms of satire and hyperbole, while Joe’s portion of the plot remains very down to earth. Why do you think Landvik took this divergent approach? Was she right to do so?

The novel ends before the presidential election. What do you think of the chances for Tuck and Kristy? Would you ever vote for a husband and wife for president and vice president? Why or why not?

Do Joe and the others who know about Kristi’s past do the right thing in not blowing the whistle on her, first in her televangelist phase, and then in her political career? Do people who know things about other people have an obligation to step forward in such circumstances? Would you?

Were you surprised the first time the action in the novel jumped years ahead? Why do you think Landvik broke the flow of her narrative this way?

Is Joe a reliable and trustworthy narrator? Can you identify moments where his interpretation of events is different from yours? Does he ever lie to readers or to himself?