A Sudden Light

A Novel

A Sudden Light

The New York Times bestselling “witty, atmospheric” (People) story of a once powerful American family, and the price that must be paid by the heirs as they struggle for redemption: “A captivating page-turner” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis).

Twenty-three years after the fateful summer of 1990, Trevor Riddell recalls the events surrounding his fourteenth birthday, when he gets his first glimpse of the infamous Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have separated, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with Aunt Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, and divide up the profits.

But as young Trevor explores the house’s hidden stairways and forgotten rooms, he discovers secrets that convince him that the family plan may be at odds with the land’s true destiny. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

Spellbinding and atmospheric, A Sudden Light is rich with vivid characters, poetic scenes of natural beauty, and powerful moments of spiritual transcendence. “Garth Stein is resourceful, cleverly piecing together the family history with dreams, overheard conversations, and reminiscences…a tale well told,” (The Seattle Times)—a triumphant work of a master storyteller at the height of his power.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439187043 | 
  • September 2015
List Price $19.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Sudden Light includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Garth Stein. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

When fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell and his bankrupt father arrive at Riddell House on Puget Sound, Trevor knows little about his father’s family or the history of the spectacular, decaying mansion. He knows only that his parents have separated and they must convince his grandfather to allow them to sell the house if there is to be any chance of reuniting his parents. But he soon learns that the Riddell family secrets are as numerous as the house’s secret rooms, and that there is something—or someone—in the house with an agenda counter to his father’s. It becomes clear to Trevor that generations of Riddells are in in need of redemption before the family can be lifted from its collective guilt. Trevor may be the only one who can save them and, in turn, save himself from this oppressive cycle.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. The novel is narrated by Trevor as an adult looking back on his time at Riddell House. How does his adult point o see more

About the Author

Garth Stein
Susan Doupé Photography

Garth Stein

Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain, and two previous novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon. He is the cofounder of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Northwest authors working to foster a passion for the written word. He lives in Seattle with his family. Visit him online at GarthStein.com.

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