Rust and Stardust

RUST AND STARDUST


Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life,

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Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.

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  • St. Martin's Press
  • Hardcover
  • August 2018
  • 368 Pages
  • 9781250164193

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$26.99

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About T. Greenwood

T. GreenwoodT. Greenwood‘s novels have sold over 250,000 copies. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, Christopher Isherwood Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Her novel Bodies of Water was a 2014 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist; Two Rivers and Grace were each named Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards, and Where I Lost Her was a Globe and Mail bestseller in 2016. Greenwood lives with her family in San Diego.

Author Website

Praise

“Greenwood’s glowing dark ruby of a novel brilliantly transforms the true crime story that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. Shatteringly original and eloquently written….So ferociously suspenseful, I found myself holding my breath.”Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“A harrowing, ripped-from-the-headlines story of lives altered in the blink of an eye, once again proving her eloquence and dexterity as an author.”Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

“A lyrical and haunting meditation on family, love, and survival, this novel—and Sally Horner—stayed with me long after I turned the last page.”Jillian Cantor, author of Margot

Discussion Questions

1. What did you know about the novel Lolita — either from your own studies, or as portrayed in popular film adaptations—before reading Rust & Stardust?

2. Did reading Sally’s story change your opinion about Nabokov’s novel?

3. To what extent do you think the author took artistic liberties with this work? What does it take for a novelist to bring a “real” character to life? What do you think an author’s responsibility is to the truth when depicting historical events or people?

4. We are taught, as young readers, that every story has a “moral”. Is there a moral to this novel? If so, what is it?

5. What can we learn about our world—and ourselves—from Sally’s story?

6. Each of the point of view characters in this story are united by the common tragedy of Sally’s disappearance. But the story is not entirely tragic in that Sally has a lasting effect on the lives of each of these characters. Discuss the impact she has on Vivi, Sister Mary Katherine, Lena, and Ruth.

7. Who do you think the hero(ine) of this story is? Why?

8. Discuss Ella Horner’s role in Sally’s kidnapping. Do you blame her for not picking up on Sally’s ambivalence about going to the shore with Frank? For her delay in notifying the authorities? How would this story be different if it had occurred in 2018 rather than 1948?

9. Motherhood is a theme explored through a variety of characters. Discuss the various mothers (and maternal figures) in this story.

10. How do you feel that we never get inside Frank La Salle’s head? Did you find yourself needing to understand his motives?

11. How would the novel be different if it offered Frank’s perspective as well?

12. Discuss the title, which comes from Lolita – in a poem written by Humbert Humbert. (Dolores Haze is Lolita’s real name.)

My car is limping, Dolores Haze
And the last long lap is the hardest,
And I shall be dumped where the weed decays,
And the rest is rust and stardust.

How does it relate to Sally’s story?