‘TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY

Lauren Francis-Sharma

‘Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk, an ambitious young policeman, the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever. On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival,cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal,

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‘Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk, an ambitious young policeman, the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever. On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival,cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman’s love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For readers who cherish the previously untold stories of women’s lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.

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  • Picador
  • Paperback
  • September 2015
  • 416 Pages
  • 9781250074676

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About Lauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren Francis-Sharma, a child of Trinidadian immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two children. ‘Til the Well Runs Dry is her first novel.

Praise

“Marcia’s story, told lovingly in this, Francis-Sharma’s debut novel, is as

universally touching as it is original.” —The New York Times

“You’ll hear the calypso music in this vivid debut about a spirited seamstress

and devoted mother with a family secret.”—People

‘Til the Well Runs Dry burns through its telling like the best gossip, but has

the controlled mystery of a fairytale. This narrative is surprising, winding

and always gratifying.”—Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and

Drowning

Discussion Questions

Each chapter in ‘Til the Well Runs Dry is told from the

perspective of one of three characters. Why do you think

the author chose these three characters to tell the story,

rather than picking one protagonist? How do you think

this choice enhanced the storytelling?

Why do you think Marcia chose to keep the story of the twin brothers

a secret from Farouk, knowing that some version of the story could get

back to Farouk sooner or later?

Why do you think, out of all of her children, Marcia was the hardest

on Jacqueline?

Freedom vs. commitment are large themes in this book. How does

a desire for freedom inform each character’s story? What role does

commitment play in limiting their desire for freedom?

Farouk wanted badly to take Marcia away from Blanchisseuse, yet

close to the end of the novel he packed up all his children and took a

day trip there. Why was it so important for him to go back?

What do you think was the reason behind Patsy’s rebellion?

When Jacqueline left home, the Garcia house went to shambles. Earlier

in the story, Marcia had taken pride in keeping a clean house; what

does the messy home symbolize?

Inspector Chung Marlock told Marcia that she was the kind of woman

“who’s always looking to find a way out.” Do you think this was true?

What impact do these words have on Marcia?

For Marcia, New York symbolized risk. How did going to New York

change her? Were you shocked when she went to visit Mrs. Silverman’s

a second time? Why or why not?

Were you surprised when you found out about the brothers? How do

you think Marcia’s life would have been different if they weren’t taken

away from her?

This novel sheds light on many of the challenges immigrants face in

America. Why, after all the mistreatment she suffered, does Marcia

still feel as if bringing her children to America is the right decision?