Dune Road: A Novel

Dune Road: A Novel

by Jane Green

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452296251
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 310,916
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

A former journalist in the UK and a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York, Jane Green has written many novels (including Jemima JThe Beach HouseFalling, and The Sunshine Sisters), most of which have been New York Times bestsellers, and one cookbook, Good Taste. Her novels are published in more than twenty-five languages, and she has over ten million books in print worldwide. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her husband and a small army of children and animals.

Hometown:

Westport, Connecticut

Date of Birth:

May 31, 1968

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

"Managed to drop out of Fine Art Degree at University."

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

Kit Hargrove is trying to reinvent herself. Following her divorce, she is shedding the skin of her former life as the wife of a Wall Street high-roller and embracing both a new home and a new job as assistant to world famous novelist Robert McClore, all the while remaining close to her children and friends in the affluent Connecticut town of Highfield. Her transition seems to be going well until a series of events dramatically reminds her that nothing is ever quite as it seems.

Kit’s friend Charlie and her husband lose everything as they become victims of the recession, the ambitious entrepreneur Tracy conceals the rekindling of her relationship with an abusive ex-lover who has eyes on Robert McClore’s wealth, and Kit’s life is turned up upside down when a long-lost sister she didn’t know she had has an affair with her ex-husband. Secrets and lies force this once tight group of friends to question not only who they can believe, but who they can trust.

Dune Road is an exploration into the facades we all build around us, the extreme measures to which we go in order to maintain them, and the importance of having those we love and respect support us when it all comes toppling down.


ABOUT JANE GREEN

Jane Green was born and brought up in London. After abandoning a Fine Art degree and a stint in journalism, she went into public relations and worked for a time on This Morning. Jane then went back into the newspaper world and became a popular feature writer with the Daily Express, before going freelance and starting her first novel. A string of international bestsellers and marriage to an American later, Jane now lives in Connecticut – but flies home to London as often as four children and lots of animals allow.

Jane's hugely successful books include; Straight Talking, Jemima J., Mr Maybe, Bookends, Babyville, Spellbound, The Other Woman and Life Swap. Her latest novel is Second Chance.


A CONVERSATION WITH JANE GREEN

Q. Kit Hargrove is arguably the main protagonist of Dune Road, yet you seem to give the same level of detail to all of the characters. How do you tackle juggling so many stories? What’s your process for sculpting a three dimensional character?

Characterisation is everything, and I have always tended to create my characters first, with only a rough idea of the story, and then let them tell their own stories. I create them, often first from a snapshot of someone I don’t know, and then let them live in my head for a few weeks, scribbling notes. I love writing ensemble pieces, someone I wasn’t always confident enough to do, but the characters, when done well, feel so real to me they do tell me where they want the story to go.

Q. The people of Highfield seem to be plucked directly from reality. How much of your writing comes from your personal experiences? Where do you normally look for inspiration for your stories?

Of course I draw from my own life and that of my friends, but I never write about one person, despite what people may think. I have heard of many people who think they are in my pages, but that, I think, is what makes my book popular: not that I do write about real people, but that I write about them with a realism that makes you feel as if you could know them, or indeed, you do.

Q. What made you want to write this story in particular? Which characters were most exciting to write about? Which characters were you most interested in exploring?

I wanted to try my hand at a mystery, a genre I enjoy reading but had never attempted. To be honest, it was all rather more complicated than I expected… I loved writing Kit’s sister, she felt very real, and I am always fascinated by women who have the sort of magnetism that draws everyone to them; it is a rare, and sometimes dangerous, trait.

Q. The recession plays a big role toward the latter half of the novel. What role do current events play in your writing?

Living in an affluent suburb in the midst of a recession, I couldn’t not write about it. It affected everyone, and particularly those who are caught up in the materialism trap, without having the real means to support that lifestyle. I was interested in how life can turn on a dime, and by appearances, mostly that things are not quite how they seem.

Q. Do you envision a continuation of this story for these characters? What are you working on now?

I may revisit Kit at a later date, but I have just finished Promises to Keep, which I am passionate about. It was written during a year of nursing a friend with cancer, who asked me to write about it. It is not her story, but has a theme of breast cancer, and is the story of two sisters. Emotionally it was the hardest book I have ever written, and my friend died during the course of the writing. So of course it is for her, a book written with an angel at my shoulder.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. The home is a powerful symbol throughout this book. To what extent does each characters’ idea of “home” affect her actions? How does it reflect who they are? How does your idea of home differ from those in the book?
     
  2. Dune Road offers a wide range of characters at different crucial moments in their lives. With which characters do you most identify? Which characters do you find most provocative?
     
  3. What significance does the idea of feminine identity have in this book? In what ways does the book stray from female archetypes we see in other literature and media? In what ways does it agree with them?
     
  4. The community of Highfield seems as much a character as any of the protagonists in the book. What role does social status play in Dune Road? How much pressure does it put on each character, if at all, and how does it drive their actions?
     
  5. Annabel says, during a discussion with Kit, that “we are either born addicts, or not.” Do you agree with this sentiment? What significance does fate have in the lives of Dune Road’s characters?
     
  6. Kit and Edie have a conversation regarding the nature of marriage in which Kit bemoans the imperfections of her marriage to Adam while Edie argues that “a lot of the time that’s all marriage is.” With whom do you agree? Do you consider, as Kit often worries throughout the book, her reconciliation with Adam as a “step backward?”
     
  7. How does Kit’s lonely childhood reflect in her adult life? How does Tracy’s experience with domestic abuse inform who she is? What role does these characters’ upbringing have in their lives?
     
  8. Charlie and Keith suffer great loss at the hands of the economic recession. How do you feel about Charlie’s anger toward Keith? Do you see Keith as a victim or as the guilty party? How important is it to you to share financial responsibility in a relationship?
     
  9. Two of the central themes of this book are loss and rebirth. How do you feel each of the characters handles loss? How important is the idea of reinvention to you?
     
  10. What are the moral implications of Adam and Annabel’s affair? Do you feel they were in the right to pursue each other or did they cross the line?
     
  11. One of the most surprising things about Tracy’s reconnection with Jed is that she sought him out on the Internet, despite a history of abuse. What does this say about the complex relationship between the abused and the abuser? What’s your opinion of Tracy’s actions throughout the book and how much control do you believe she had over her choices? Were they choices at all?
     
  12. How have these characters changed during the course of the book? What surprised you about the ending? What future do you see for each of the characters?

Customer Reviews

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Dune Road 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
bookwormiamKW More than 1 year ago
Dune Road takes us in different directions, but not too unexpected. You have some interesting characters like Edie and Robert who have history and intrigue, but the others seem too familiar. The introduction of new friendships is too easy and fast. The job that falls into the protagonist's hands is too easy. The children are stereotypical. Real women aren't as stupid as the protagonist and don't allow sleek newcomers into their lives that easily without checking first. The happily every after ending really was too much closure too soon and tied everything up nicely. Still, it's an easy read that isn't painful.
LakeBooks More than 1 year ago
I had found Jane Green's books, "Beach House" and Second Chance" at least amusing on a summer book level of reading, but "Dune Road" left me feeling like I had wasted my time in a way no book has in a very long time. The author presented us with shallow, weak, brand-worshipping women. I couldn't believe how conniving and dishonest the characters were, only to have their best friends, family members and/or spouses, so very easily forgiven. A best friend of the main charater sets her up with an abusive con man and when she finds out, she's sympathetic towards her?! UGH!! None of the women, with the exception of the only likeable character, the 86 year old neighbor Edie, seems able to survive without a man, and will go to any extreme to hone in on their target as long as he's a handsome meal ticket. (What year is this?!) And the writer repeats herself several times throughout the book, to the point of thinking the reader may be experiencing memory loss. Do yourself a favor and skip this lightweight drain...find something with strong female characters. I'll not read another Jane Green book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was completely predictable and shallow. Towards the end, I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over, but it turned out the author repeated herself in a few chapters. I do not recommend this book at all.
FLARN More than 1 year ago
This book might be better stocked in the kiddie department. Once upon a time there was a book with a trite, predictable and sadly unoriginal plot. Kit, supposedly the enlightened woman is a self obsessed, immature and pathetic character. But not to worry - they all live happily ever after.
birdsam0610 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Jane Green books seem to have two distinct personalities for me: there¿s the funny and readable (mainly the earlier books) and then there¿s the annoying and predictable (her more recent books). I loved Bookends and still have the highly recommended Jemima J to read, but I think I¿ll stay away from her newer books in future.Dune Road is also known as Girl Friday in other countries. I like Girl Friday better, even though it doesn¿t really fit in with the tone of the book for me. You see, Kit is a famous author¿s `girl Friday¿ in that she makes him coffee, does office work for him etc. But the book is not really about the relationship between them. Kit is recently divorced and coming to terms with single mother life. There¿s also some aspects about her friends ¿ Charlie has to face the realities of the GFC (not every book written in the last few years needs a GFC crisis ¿ authors please take note!) and Tracey, looks like being a schemer ¿ or is she a victim? Throw in a sweet elderly neighbour, a new boyfriend, a mysterious relative and a distant mother and you have all the plotlines in the world to play with. The thing I found though was that Green doesn¿t make use of these plotlines, in particular, Tracey¿s situation. There was so much room for emotional blackmail, some serious arguments and near-misses. However, it is all glossed over sweetly and superficially without the players realising the seriousness of the situation. The ends are not only tied up, they¿re wrapped into a giant bow. So much more use could have been made of the lost relative storyline ¿ they were portrayed again without depth. This could have been a great book if a few less threads were dealt with and the characters broke out of the stereotypical moulds. Now I know why Borders had this on the bargain pile.Unfortunately, I¿ve read it all before and there¿s new reading ground for me to break, so I think I¿ll stay away from Green¿s new books for some time. I¿ll seek out Jemima J, but that¿s it. Am I too old to appreciate chick lit?
hammockqueen on LibraryThing 10 months ago
excellent read. Jane has produced a believeable and interesting story about a writer who's wife died after going overboard,Kit, who is divorced and moves to his town. She works for him, has a sister show up after many years, has an ex husband who seems to get better with divorce. Then there's Tracy who teaches Yoga but carries a disturbing past with an abusive guy.
scoutlee on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Early in the book, I found it quite difficult to follow the plot. The author flowed back and forth between the past and present, that I wasn¿t sure if the next scene is taking place now or had already happened. It was quite unsettling for me as I thought the storyline was very choppy.Around page 150 or so, I found my groove and plowed right through it. As I was reading, I thought the plot was very predictable (I knew how Kit¿s story would end within the first pages of the book) and I didn¿t find the ¿mysterious¿ characters to be all that mysterious.As Kit struggles with building a new life post divorce, she¿s also questioning the intentions of those who claim to have her best interests at heart. Ms. Green does an excellent job of reminding the reader that not everyone is as perfect as he/she may appear. Inviting someone new in your life may come with consequences. That being said, one must continue to move forward and not allow others to derail you from doing so.I¿ve been anticipating reading this book for awhile now, as I¿ve read and heard great reviews about Ms. Green¿s books. Although this was an okay read for me, I have added The Other Woman, Swapping Lives, The Beach House and Second Chance to my TBR List.
writergal85 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Dune Road is sort of predictable and also very familiar. Perhaps because my brother works in finance, lives in Easton, Conn. with four young children (two girls and two twin three-year-old boys) and is very successful. Or maybe because my family went through similar financial situations in the 90s. I also grew up in Westport, Conn (fictional Highfield) until my parents divorced. (My mom read the book after me and said: "I feel like I'm right back in Westport.") Instead of some of the simpler, romantic stories of past novels (Mr. Maybe, Swapping Lives), Dune Road has too many subplots at once. Recently divorced Kit (who used to be a dissatisfied ¿Wall Street Widow¿: I actually wish Green had explained this term a bit more because New York Magazine certainly does not) embarks on her new life in Highfield, a rather chic town on Connecticut¿s Gold Coast, as a working mom who still harbors feelings for her ex-husband Adam. She starts a new job as a personal assistant to famous mystery writer Robert McClore, who lives in a secluded home on Dune Road. Of course, he has a secret (a 30-something-year-old one). Kit¿s best friend Charlie and her husband Keith face the aftermath of Wall Street¿s bust when Keith loses his high-level finance position. Something that really bothered me about this is that although Keith works in the finance industry, his own financial advisor told him that he didn¿t need to have any savings. ¿So they have never quite managed to put anything away. They are only forty, after all, and his financial advisor said he has plenty of time to worry about that. They have small SEP IRAs, and of course he has had his stock over all these years.¿ Super financial advisor! Well done. As all this is going on, several mysterious people are charming their way into Kit¿s life. She¿s gullible and doesn¿t suspect that most want more than friendship. (¿Kit has always secretly longed to be the type of woman men bought flowers for, and having never been that woman, not really, she is starting to discover jus how seductive it is.¿) So much for that edginess she may have developed as the wife of a Wall Street financier. Throughout the pages of Dune Road, way too much happens simultaneously. I felt that much of the book was a re-tread of stories in the news or things I¿d heard before. Green is trying for a mystery and romance in one book and it just doesn¿t work very well. I had one `mystery¿ figured out at pg. 160 (I don¿t know if that means I¿m super smart or the writing is weak). Dune Road is not a page turner which is generally what you expect of a Green novel and what most people look for in a summer read. Green fails to create characters that you care about all that much in the end. Save your money on this one. Borrow it from the library or from a friend.
hklibrarian on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Starts off slowly with choppy writing, but then the plot picks up and gets interesting with a long lost sister thrown into the mix, a famous author, an abusive ex, and a couple of love stories thrown in. Not bad but I like her earlier efforts better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
I continue to read Jane Green’s books, thinking they have to get better. So weird, as feel she always sets up the books for a great novel and likeable characters. However, she continues to talk over and over about feelings from the characters as almost overboard, and then forgets the actual story? There is never much of a story or substance, it is more about what this one thinks and that one with lots of drama. I did like this one better than some of the others as listened to audio as Cassandra Campbell, is easy on the ears and enjoy her performance. All Jane Green’s leave you feeling frustrated with the storylines and unnerving at times. Maybe one day I will run across a real story!
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jp_reader More than 1 year ago
This book was a big yawn. This is the first of Green's books I have read, so i can't compare to her other novels. Ever wish you could get your money back after reading a disappointing book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really enjoyed this book
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Junipermom More than 1 year ago
It was good! Keep me wanting to keep to see what happens in the end.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gee, thanks, Barnes & Noble for the 3 PAGE ebook sample. How generous, especially when the ebook is $12.99. Sorry, I don't have enough information to buy this book...but you know that.
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