Roxanna Slade

A Novel

Roxanna Slade

Not since Reynolds Price's award-winning, bestselling novel Kate Vaiden has he told a woman's story in her own voice. Roxanna Slade is this woman.
Roxanna begins her story on her twentieth birthday -- a day that introduces her to the harsh realities of adulthood and changes the course of her life forever. From this day on, Roxanna is quick to share with the reader the intimate details of ninety years of life in North Carolina. Her beguiling tale is one that boldly reflects the high and low moments in the development of the modern South and the nation as well as the inner strength of a woman possessed of a piercingly clear vision, forthright hungers and immense vitality.
  • Scribner | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684853734 | 
  • April 1999
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Reading Group Guide

  1. Discuss how Reynolds Price captures the voice of Roxanna Slade through his economical, yet expressive use of language; his ability, as a man, to recreate the voice and manner of a woman from a wholly different time; and RoxannaÕs use of anecdotes, tangents, and colorful phraseology. Identify other ways in which Price makes Roxanna's story so authentic, it is easy to forget it's fiction.
  2. Roxanna only knew Larkin for a few hours, yet she feels disloyal to him in marrying Palmer. Why is Roxanna so devoted to the memory of someone she knew so briefly? Do you think it's possible to form a more lasting bond with one person in a single day than you can form with another over the course of a lifetime? In the end, who was a more important influence on Roxanna's life: Larkin or Palmer? Discuss the different ways in which each one touched Roxanna's life.
  3. Compare the attitudes and character of Roxanna's mother, Muddie, to Olivia Slade. Who had a stronger hand in shaping the woman Roxanna becomes? Who do you think Roxanna respects more? What does Olivia teach Roxanna that she can not learn from her mother?
  4. Roxanna begins her story by asserting that she is by no means a saint. But later she says, "a saint by most folks' meaning is just a person who never blocks your path but grins and yields to your will." (106) Do you agree? By that definition, is Roxanna Slade a saint? Why or wh
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About the Author

Reynolds Price
Photo Credit: Sara Barrett

Reynolds Price

Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.