A Novel

Book - 2002 | 1st ed.
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Random House, Inc.
1. The novel has two narratives, that of Cherry and Blackwood and the larger story of Linda and Bruder. What effect does this have on how the story is told? How does the author use this narrative strategy to reveal information about his characters and their fates? 2. Many critics have suggested that place–California–is as much a character in Pasadena as the people in the story. Do you agree with this? In one interview David Ebershoff commented, “I wanted my characters’ internal landscapes to echo or contradict the external landscapes of California.” How does the changing landscape of Southern California reflect the characters and their lives? 3. Linda is a character in perpetual transformation: she is born Sieglinde, has her name changed to Linda, and takes on the name Lindy after she marries. Why is she always seeking change? How does this affect her ability to know herself? Who else in the novel reinvents himself or herself? Why do you think so many characters in Pasadena have abandoned their pasts? Is this common to the American experience? To that of California? 4. Why do you think Linda and Bruder have difficulty loving each other? What is it about their characters and the circumstances of their relationship that thwarts their affection? Bruder is described as resigned to fate, Linda as convinced of her own free will. How does this affect the outcome of their romance, and their lives? 5. Consider the relationship between Linda and Valencia. How are they different, how similar? Do you think that Linda's relationship with her mother is more important to her than her relationshipe with her father? Why (or why not)? What do you think in Valencia’s childhood in Mexico impresses Linda the most? What about in Dieter’s experience in Germany and as an immigrant? 6. Linda and Charlotte Moss begin life in similar circumstances. Why do you think their lives diverge so drastically? Who do you think compromises the most? Why? 7. What do you make of the world of Pasadena and the Poores? Are you surprised that it attracts Linda? What do you think spellbinds her the most? Why do you think she makes the choices she does? 8. In his World War I adventures in France, Bruder spares a man’s life. Are his actions heroic or selfish? Why do you think he insists on keeping his secrets? Whom do you think he is keeping them from? 9. Throughout the novel the author uses epigraphs from the poetry of Emily Brontë. Why do you think the author quotes Brontë? The Wall Street Journal described the novel as “ East of Eden meets Wuthering Heights .” What other novels do you find echoed in Pasadena ? 10. By the end of the novel many characters are living with the choices they made long ago. What do you think the novel says about regret and redemption? About knowing and accepting the consequences of one’s life? How are the fates of Blackwood and Cherry different than those of Bruder and Linda? How are their fates knotted together? What does Pasadena say about fate?
Pasadena , David Ebershoff’s sweeping, richly imagined novel, is set against the backdrop of Southern California during the first half of the twentieth century and charts its rapid transformation from frontier to suburb. At the story’s center is Linda Stamp, a fishergirl born in 1903 on a coastal onion farm in San Diego’s North County, and the three men who upend her life and vie for her affection: her pragmatic farming brother, Edmund; Captain Willis Poore, a Pasadena rancher with a heroic military past; and Bruder, the mysterious young man Linda’s father brings home from World War I. Pasadena spans Linda’s adventurous and romantic life, weaving the tales of her Mexican mother and her German-born father with those of the rural Pacific Coast of her youth and of the small, affluent city, Pasadena, that becomes her home. When Linda’s father returns from the war to the fishing hamlet of Baden-Baden-by-the-Sea with the darkly handsome Bruder, she glimpses love and a world beyond her own. Linda follows Bruder to the seemingly greener pastures of Pasadena, where he is the foreman of a flourishing orange ranch, the homestead and inheritance of the charming bachelor Willis Poore. As Willis begins to woo her with the promise of money and stature, Linda is torn between the two men, unable to differentiate truth from appearance. Linda’s fateful decision alters the course of many lives and harbingers a sea change just on the horizon, for Pasadena and its inhabitants. Infused with the rich sense of place for which Ebershoff’s work is known, Pasadena remembers a Southern California whose farms edged the Pacific, where citrus dominated the economy, and where America’s tycoons wintered in a vital city’s grand hotels. Recalling the California character of self-invention that informs the work of John Steinbeck and Joan Didion, Pasadena is a novel of passion and history about a woman and a place in perpetual transformation.

Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the transformation of Southern California from frontier to suburb through the story of Linda Stamp and her relationships with her brother Edmund, orange rancher Willis, and mysterious Bruder.

& Taylor

The life and loves of Linda Stamp, a fishergirl born in 1903 on a coastal onion farm, and those of the three men who transformer her life--her pragmatic farmer brother Edmund; Captain Willis Poore, a young orange rancher; and Bruder, an orphan brought back from World War I by her father--are set against the backfrop of early twentieth-century California as it evolves from frontier to suburb. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2002.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375504563
Characteristics: 485 p. ; 25 cm.


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