His Favorites

A Novel

His Favorites

From the highly acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award finalist and author of A Short History of Women, a searing and timely novel about a teenaged girl, a charismatic teacher, and a dark, open secret.

They were on a lark, three teenage girls speeding across the greens at night on a “borrowed” golf cart, drunk. The cart crashes and one of the girls lands violently in the rough, killed instantly. The driver, Jo, flees the hometown that has turned against her and enrolls at a prestigious boarding school. Her past weighs on her. She is responsible for the death of her best friend. She has tipped her parents’ rocky marriage into demise. She is ready to begin again, far away from the accident.

Taut, propulsive, and devastating, His Favorites reveals the interior life of a young woman determined to navigate the treachery in a new world. Told from her perspective many years later, the story cooly describes a series of shattering events and the system that failed to protect her. Walbert, who brilliantly explored a century of women’s struggles for rights and recognition in her award-winning A Short History of Women, limns the all-too-common violations of vulnerability and aspiration in the lives of young women in this suspenseful short novel. From the publisher of the classic A Separate Peace, His Favorites is an urgent book by a “wickedly smart writer” (The New York Times Book Review) whose work is “fascinating, moving and significant” (The Washington Post).
  • Scribner | 
  • 160 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476799391 | 
  • August 2018
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for His Favorites includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. 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

Taut, propulsive, and devastating, His Favorites reveals the interior life of a young woman determined to navigate the treachery in a new world. Told from her perspective many years later, the story coolly describes a series of shattering events and the system that failed to protect her. Walbert, who brilliantly explored a century of women’s struggles for rights and recognition in her award-winning A Short History of Women, limns the all-too-common violations of vulnerability and aspiration in the lives of young women in this suspenseful short novel.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. How is the epigraph from Willa Cather’s My Mortal Enemy, “But you may have a past already? The darkest ones come early,” a fitting opening for His Favorites?

2. Jo describes the golf course as “all of it designed for entrapment“ (page 10). What other places and situations in the novel seem built to ensnare? How so?

3. What do you think Jo’s mother is feeling after the accident? And af see more

More Books from this Author

The Sunken Cathedral
The Gardens of Kyoto
A Short History of Women
Our Kind

About the Author

Kate Walbert
Photograph by Deborah Donenfeld

Kate Walbert

Kate Walbert is the author of His Favorites, and five previous books of fiction: The Sunken Cathedral; A Short History of Women, a New York Times Book Review ten best books of the year and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Our Kind, a National Book Award finalist; The Gardens of Kyoto; and the story collection Where She Went. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize stories.
 

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