May 2017 - The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, by Hannah Tinti


(Jennifer D.) #141

as soon as i have more specific details, i will share the plans for the book club!

i will say that i am so happy to see such enthusiasm for this new feature -- it's truly been such a pleasure so far, and i hope you have all been enjoying our first group read!!


(Jennifer D.) #142

@Penny_Kollar, @Jane_Dixon, @Kim, @Elizabeth_M_Nosal:

GOOD NEWS!! :blush:

I am happy to let you know that we will be running the book club in June... and our read for next month will be:

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We will take a summer pause during July and August, but will be back to book club in September. (And I will let you know which book when that is finalized.)

Thanks to the generosity of the publisher, we have 5 copies which we will be giving away to Riffle members. Kate will be sending out an announcement email next week on how to enter the draw.

I will get the new discussion thread set up, probably over the weekend, so we will be good to go for June 1st.

I am so excited about this next book club selection and I hope you are too!!

(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #143

Oh nice!!! Perfect - I bought this one a few years ago (but haven't read it yet!) -- awesome that it will be one read through our book club lens! This will be a nice one to discuss and chew over!
Thanks for the news @Jennifer_D!

(Jane D) #144

Fabulous news!!

This one has been on my radar for a while. In fact, I think I suggested it for my 'in-person' book club, but they chose another book. So, yippee!! I am so excited for this read.

Thanks again for organizing all this!

(Kim@Time2Read) #145

Oh...I've heard a lot of good things about that one! This will give me the
incentive I need to bump it to the top of my list. I'm so glad we are
continuing with book club!

(Kim@Time2Read) #146

Looking forward to tomorrow's discussion!

(Jennifer D.) #147

Welcome to our third week of open discussions!! I hope you are really liking the novel, and enjoying our first outing with the book club!!

Here's what's on the schedule today:

Week 3 - Summary and Discussion Points

May 14th - 20th: Chapters "Bullet Number Five" through end of "Fireworks"
(HC pgs 163-241; PB pgs 206-307)


Chapter 11: “Bullet Number Five”

  • Lily and Hawley -- Mabel Ridge is supposed to arrive on the 10am train… they wait until near 1pm, then Lily decides to leave and go back to the woods
  • Lily rolls a cigarette; Hawley never liked the smell of smoke before Lily
  • They had spent the morning shooting rifles at a range. Says Hawley about Lily’s aim: “She’d get caught up in the details instead of feeling her way through, and Hawley wasn’t sure how to fix this.” (p. 207 PB)
  • Lily is very anxious about her mother’s visit. Lily’s “Old Me” is like her father’s Gus’s “Drunk Gus” -- Lily has had alcohol poisoning; DWIs; left college; no friends; fired from job. Mabel had Lily: to hospital for stomach pumping; to rehab; to mental hospital; arrested (though later dropped charges) - none seemed to work. But Lily goes to AA, though relationship between mother and daughter changed.
  • Lily has odd sneezing fits, 20 - 30 sneezes. Lily embarrassed by them. Hawley notes that when Lily’s eyes get watery during fits, closest she comes to crying
  • As they are sitting in the truck (bad rain storm going on), a kid knocks on the window. His name is Charlie and he’s lost his dog ‘Charley’. Lily and Hawley get out of truck to help with search.
  • Hawley circles back to truck and sees kid has smashed window and is trying to hotwire the vehicle. Hawley punches and kicks Charlie, breaking his jaw
  • Lily shoots at them, hitting Hawley in the leg - grazes leg, but punctures tire
  • Hawley teaches Charlie how to change a tire (and there was never a dog - Charlie’s father ran it over a year ago)
  • It’s 3:30 -- they go back to train station as there was a 3pm arrival. Mabel waiting there
  • She’s hard
  • They go to hospital - both Charlie and Hawley receive treatment
  • Lily meant to shoot Hawley -- she notes the new scar will always be hers. Hawley tells her “They’re all yours.”
  • They go back to the train station. Lily and Hawley have each given Charlie money - he wants to get away. They also send Mabel back home
  • Lily promises to never shoot Hawley again

Chapter 12: “The Net”

  • Loo is working at the Sawtooth: Marshall comes in for breakfast -- he orders the meat lover’s special, no meat.
  • It’s been two weeks since their arrest
  • Whale Heroes episode has aired, featuring Marshall’s stepfather. Mary cut out of it in production
  • Agnes notes to Loo that Loo seems to have a lot of misunderstandings, and that the Gunderson brothers want to fire Mary because of her petitioning/the TV show -- Jeremy and Pauly Jr. are menacing Marshall
  • Loo brings Marshall home with her and they have sex again
  • Marshall tells Loo that his mother thinks Loo and Hawley are both crazy
  • Marshall wants Loo to promise not to hurt Mary again, but Loo responds that Marshall should be glad he even has a mother. Marshall’s father also drowned and her tells Loo that “a dead parents doesn’t make you special. It just makes you sad.” (p. 246 PB)
  • Loo’s thoughts go to the details of the lake being dragged for Lily’s body
  • Loo notices healing bruises on Marshall’s body and arms, from Hawley throwing him into the wall at the police station
  • Loo gives Marshall a Beretta, to “keep those guys from screwing with you.” and she adds “Never try, never win.”
  • Marshall leaves; Loo has a bath; Hawley comes home
  • Loo answers the phone -- it’s Mabel. She tells Loo the Firebird is stolen again, for good this time.
  • Mabel also tells Loo that “He killed her. Your Father. I know and now you know it too.”

Chapter 13: “Bullet Number Six”

  • Alaska - Hawley and Lily
  • Lily is pregnant - she’s quite smoking, and is now keeping a dream journal
  • Hawley feels jealous of the baby “upsetting their lives”; doesn’t go to ultrasound appointment with Lily
  • Hawley takes a job with Jove - tells Lily he’s going hunting
  • Lily packs food for his travels, and includes a note with “It’s a girl”
  • The job is a straight exchange - money for a clepsydra (an 3000yo ceramic bowl/clock); there’s only 7 left and the rest are in museums
  • During the exchange, the whole face of the shelf of the glacier breaks off and the river explodes. The force of the water flooding the beach catches Hawley who is pulled under and tossed about
  • Hawley escapes and gets up to the vehicles -- engines flooded. Hawley has lost the clepsydra during the flood. He wants his money back. Steller refuses and give him the count of 5 to leave or she’ll shoot him. She shoots him.
  • Man helps Hawley… Hawley thinks it’s his father, who died when Hawley was 15yo
  • Hawley realizes he’ll have to run from King - no money and no goods
  • Hawley remembers back to Arizona - “There’d been roadkill there too. It had felt like he was driving past his own mangled body. And here he was, shot in the chest, bleeding out again. Only the landscape had changed. It was like he was skipping on some kind of record of his life. But he wasn’t the same man he had been out in the desert. Now there was somebody waiting for him and it mattered whether he died or not.”
  • Hawley calls Lily and tells her he’s happy it’s a girl

Chapter 14: “Fireworks”

  • Loo can’t stop thinking about Marshall
  • It’s been one week since the phone call from Mabel. Each night, after Hawley goes to bed, Loo goes over the scrapbook of her Lily’s death
  • Loo tells Hawley she and Marshall broke up
  • Hawley gives Loo a $2000 telescope - a gift that is one month early for her birthday. Loo thinks Gunderson helped select it
  • Pinned to her graduation dress, Loo is hiding her envelope of money and other things she doesn’t want Hawley to know about
  • Loo’s been working on Marshall’s petition - has forged 3678 signatures, with 1322 to go
  • Jove shows up, has a duffel bag full of watches
  • Hawley returns home, gets into a tussle with Jove before he realizes who it is. Jove’s knife goes into Hawley’s arm.
  • Jove stays the night - tells Hawley about his plans for his new boat. He’s got a job… Hawley isn’t interested
  • Hawley rolls a cigarette
  • Down at the beach for fireworks, Jove and Hawley go swimming
  • Hawley’s back looks like it’s caught fire as the red and orange lights from the fireworks reflect off his wet skin

Discussion Questions:

  1. The water continues to have a strong presence in this story, and now seems to be joined by time as a motif. How is time being portrayed in the novel, so far? Would it be fair to say that most fiction deals with the idea of time in some way or another?
  2. How did you feel reading the revelations about Lily’s past, and her struggle with addiction? Do Lily’s personal challenges affect your thinking about Loo and Hawley?
  3. Why do you think Hawley believes it is his father who has come to help save him when Steller shoots him in the chest?
  4. Are all of the characters in the novel emotionally and physically damaged? Is there any character, so far, who has escaped being deeply wounded?
  5. Why do you think Tinti keeps noting cigarettes being hand-rolled and smoked? Would it make a difference to the story, so far, if the cigarettes were just regular, already rolled out of a pack?
  6. Hawley’s past is filling in more and more, the further along we read. Do you think you know where the story is going? Can the past ever be completely overcome from someone’s life?
  7. Do you believe it was fair of Mabel to tell Loo she believes Hawley killed Lily?
  8. In an earlier chapter, Maureen had valuables pinned inside her wedding dress. Now Loo has her valuable pinned inside her graduation dress. What significance do these dresses have. Given Hawley was directed to Maureen’s hiding spot, do you think he will discover Loo’s?
  9. Given the way “Fireworks” ends… this feels like some pretty serious foreshadowing - Hawley’s back lit up like it’s on fire. Have you thought ahead to the coming bullets?
  10. Given all of the violence In Loo’s own life, and through the legacy of her parents, do you think she can look forward to a calmer life… or do things feel doomed for Loo?

Edited to add:

11.Have you made the Hercules/Heracles myth connection while reading? Are you familiar with 'The Twelve Labors of Hercules'?

Please feel free to talk about, or pose questions about, any aspect of the novel up until the end of the Fireworks chapter. The points and questions provided here are really only to help serve as prompts for our discussion, and should not be causing you to feel limited or restricted in any way.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!!


(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #148

Yes, the water theme is very strong in this part of the story!
And didn't you think it neat that the next two bullets are again linked to women like @Elizabeth_M_Nosal mentions earlier in the thread. After mentioning it I totally tuned into how the bullets were again connected to women. Interesting!

This was my favourite section of the book. There is plenty going on here, revelations, Loo's awareness,...I do have to say though that my feelings for Hawley started to tank in this section.

One thing I will admit to - I was confused about that part with Hawley and his father helping him in Alaska. What happened there?

(Jennifer D.) #149

hmm, well my interpretation was it was just a stranger who happened upon him. but in his wounded state, hawley imagines it's his long-deceased father. i was confused for a bit too... then there was that moment where the war services were different - his dad had been in the marines, and this person was in the air force. and when hawley asked why he hadn't told him that before, the man replied that he didn't even know him. so as i was reading, that clarified for me that hawley was hallucinating, versus some sort of magical realism, convening with ghosts thing. (i am totally prepared to be wrong on my interpretation, but that's how i took it! heh!! :blush:)

(Jennifer D.) #150

oh -- i also finished reading the book this afternoon. i was finding it too hard to take the pauses and just wanted to be finished with this story/see how it turned out. :slight_smile:

(Kim@Time2Read) #151

I agree; Hawley was hallucinating. I can't really remember the background with his father, but it seems to me that maybe Hawley was always wanting more from his father; more caring, more protection. So in his state of hallucination, he was fulfilling his longing for a loving, protective father.

(Kim@Time2Read) #152

For me, too. I've been wanting to think Hawley is a good guy getting caught up in circumstances beyond his control, but it's getting harder and harder to reconcile that with the facts in the story!

(Kim@Time2Read) #153

That is really an interesting observation and one that had not stood out to me until now. I'm sure there must be something significant about it. Guess I will just have to keep reading!

(Jennifer D.) #154

this is so true, isn't it?? i am with you and @Penny_Kollar both!

i found myself making allowances for some of the earlier circumstances/bullets... but that got much harder in this section of the story.

(Kim@Time2Read) #155

I don't know if it was fair. I thought at the beginning when I first learned about the drowning that Hawley may have really killed her and the drowning was a story he told Loo. But then the scrapbook with its newspaper articles convinced me that Lily really drowned. Now I am wondering if maybe Lily was 'under the influence' of alcohol and/or drugs, and that impaired her ability to save herself. And if maybe Hawley supplied the substances and was indirectly responsible for her death. Maybe he holds himself responsible, and so does Mabel, and that is why she says he killed Lily. She obviously didn't like Hawley from the git-go.

(Jennifer D.) #156

I OOPSed while transcribing again, and omitted one kind of big question... so have added it in to the summary/questions already posted above, but will share it here too:

Edited to add:

11.Have you made the Hercules/Heracles myth connection while reading? Are you familiar with 'The Twelve Labors of Hercules'?

(Jennifer D.) #157

right?? i did feel like it was quite the burden to put on a 16yo.

this was one piece of the reading, so far, that i didn't quite get enough from, at this stage in the book -- mabel and hawley's relationship, or lack thereof.

when mabel visited lily and hawley... i mean, mabel was dropped into quite a bizarre situation with hawley and charlie both in need of medical treatment. and then we get more of lily's past revealed. so i can understand mabel's guard being up, as a parent, and her worry for lily and the situation. but didn't this scene start out in such a passive-aggressive way from mabel, supposed to be there on the 10am train, and then in a snit when they are late, at 3:30, for the 3:00pm train?? i was curious to get to more of the 'hardness' of mabel that tinti notes.

(Kim@Time2Read) #158

You are right. Mabel came in with a chip on her shoulder as far as Hawley was concerned. I'm not sure why. I get that after all of her work to 'save' Lily that she has her guard up. Lily doesn't have a good track record as far as making choices goes. But I also wonder about Mabel's relationship with Drunk Gus; how big a disappoint he was to her. It seems he has a bit of a criminal past, too. I'm wondering if Mabel looks back at her past with Gus with regret and feels that Lily is repeating her mistakes with Hawley.

(Jennifer D.) #159

i think that is a totally smart thought -- but i wonder: so did mabel's back just get right up when she took in the crazy situation that welcomed her? i don't feel like she would have had enough information to have judged hawley much before her arrival... though perhaps the impulsivity and quickness of the relationship between hawley and lily was enough. i mean, by the time mabel arrives, i think only 2 weeks have passed since H & L first met in the diner, right? and they are already married.

(Jane D) #160

There sure is a great deal of water and so many clocks everywhere in this past weeks reading.
Did anyone else have to google a clepsydra? Fascinating!

Also something just clicked with me - 12 that is how we measure time - 12 numbers on our clocks. 24 hours in a day (12x2) . Also 12 month's in a year. This lightbulb just came to me this past week!! So I am thinking that the passage of time is a big theme here.

I think that as Hawley was in shock and his mind probably evoked only thing that made sense to him in that state. His father was there to save him. As far as we know he never had any other father figure in his life. It likely was the only nurturing figure he ever had. (He taught him to fish and collect shell fish and knew he wanted Ring Dings. ) His time with his mother is hazy. He fell in with Jove at 15 and Jove was anything but a nurturing figure.

With Jove reappearing in "Fireworks" with his bag full of watches (more stolen 'time' here) I fear that Hawley's past really is catching up with him and there is the real possibility that Loo will be enveloped into it. Hawley obviously has a great deal of trouble letting go of the past as we see from the bathroom shrine (and now the stolen Firebird).

I think that Mabel dumping this on Loo was pretty harsh. She obviously really really dislikes Hawley especially given her introduction to him. She obviously has tread with a great deal of caution around Lily given her past behavious regarding addiction. I imagine she has had to practice her own kind of 'tough love'. Her ex-husband, Gus, sounds like he was extremely difficult. It must have been heartbreaking to have her daughter follow in his foot steps. But she also seems manipulative. So it appears that Mabel is very much trying to drive a wedge between Hawley and Loo in revealing her suspicions to Hawley.

So I have a few thoughts/questions:

Was anybody else curious why the meet up to exchange the money for the clepsydra took place in such a curious remote spot? I mean why take such a valuable black market antiquity to the wilderness and unbox it next to a glacier about to calve an iceberg? The whole thing struck me as odd and an unlikely venue for such an exchange.

Also, in 'Fireworks' we learned that Hawley did learn how to swim when Loo was little. Could it be that Lily really did drown and Hawley couldn't save her?

Also we learn that Lily drown in a lake in Wisconsin. Did we know this before? For some reason, I assumed it was the ocean.

Also, I am still grappling with what era this is all happening. The man who saved Hawley at the Copper River had an old portable phone from Vietnam and a stash of fentanyl lollipops leftover from then as well. So are we taking sometime in the mid/late 70s. Would that put 16 year old Loo and the time in Olympus is the early to mid 1990s??

Did anyone else notice that Loo and Hawley's first aide kit is in an orange toolbox just like the Hawley's Copper River saviour's was?

Also, I want to know how Hawley gets in contact with people for his jobs and how do they contact him. Is everything through Jove by way of King. I have a feeling King is going to reappear some how now that Jove has shown up with his bag o'watches. Or will he reappear in another Bullet chapter? (I guess those of you who have finished know. :grinning:).