Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD, MAN BOOKER PRIZE, PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE, AND ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE • AN ALA NOTABLE BOOK • Library Journal • Booklist • NPR • Kirkus Reviews • Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Literary Hub • Powell’s • Indie Next List

Hailed as “masterly” by The New York Times Book Review, “a brilliantly constructed debut set in the aftermath of catastrophic loss” (2015 Man Booker Prize Judges).

The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy.

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is upended when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. June is the only survivor.

Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.

From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town—everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.

Elegant and heartrending, and one of the most accomplished fiction debuts of the year, Did You Ever Have a Family is an absorbing, unforgettable tale that reveals humanity at its best through forgiveness and hope. At its core is a celebration of family—the ones we are born with and the ones we create.
  • Gallery/Scout Press | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476798189 | 
  • May 2016
List Price $16.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Did You Ever Have A Family includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Bill Clegg. 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

On the eve of her only daughter’s wedding, June becomes the sole survivor of a catastrophic house fire that consumes her daughter, her daughter's fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone. In the aftermath of this unthinkable tragedy, we are introduced to a series of characters whose lives are forever changed.

From Rebecca and Kelly, the couple running the motel where June seeks solitude, to Rick the wedding’s caterer, to Lydia the town’s black sheep and mother to Luke—everyone touched by this tragedy is transformed and connected through shared heartbreak as they learn to cope with their loses and find solace in the least expected of places. At its core, this novel is the ultimate celebration of family—the ones we are born with and the ones we create. 

 

Topics and Questions for Discussion 

1. After June has had an argument with her daughter, Lolly, the see more

Articles About This Book

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About the Author

Bill Clegg
Photograph by Brigitte Lacombe

Bill Clegg

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. He has written for the New York Times, Lapham’s Quarterly, New York magazine, The Guardian, and Harper’s Bazaar.

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