Follow Me to Ground

Follow Me to Ground

by Sue Rainsford

Hardcover

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Overview

A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982133634
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 01/21/2020
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 226,540
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sue Rainsford is a fiction and arts writer based in Dublin. A graduate of Trinity College, she completed her MFA in writing and literature at Bennington College, Vermont. She is a recipient of the VAI/DCC Critical Writing Award, the Arts Council Literature Bursary Award, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. When it was first published, Follow Me to Ground won the Kate O’Brien Award and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Award and the Republic of Consciousness Award.

Read an Excerpt

Henry Law


It was easy to forget they’re not like us.

You could be looking at Miss Ada and talking to her simply, and then she’d say something like

Take into account the evenings are getting long, Mr. Law.

Her father too. We’d be talking easily enough and then all of a sudden I’d remember he knew my pop and all my uncles from the day they were born till the day they died.

I suppose it was easy to forget because they made it easy. They had to, to get by.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Follow Me to Ground 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.
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Introduction

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. In the beginning of Follow Me to Ground, Rainsford sets out the rules of this magical universe: Cures, The Ground, the process of healing the townspeople. How do you understand the dimensions of Ada and her father’s work?

2. The novel is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of the townspeople. What purpose do these passages serve?

3. How does Ada’s relationship with Samson begin?

4. When Olivia comes in to be cured, does she reveal anything to Ada?

5. How did Ada come to be? She believes that she “hadn’t gone quite to plan” (page 56). What does this mean?

6. Ada’s father believes that it’s Samson’s “sickness that makes [him] want [her]” (page 81). What do you think Samson’s “sickness” is?

7. How does Ada come to a decision about her relationship with Samson? How do her father’s wishes, and Olivia’s interference, influence her choice?

8. Describe Ada’s interaction with Miss Gedeo, and then with Lorraine Languid. What do they seem to want from her?

9. Do you believe that Ada and her father are helping the townspeople?

10. What’s the result of Ada’s final conversation with her father, and why?

11. The novel ends at a moment of transformation and uncertainty. What do you think happens to Ada after the last page?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Explore other works of magical realism, like Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

2. For more information about Sue Rainsford, visit www.suerainsford.com

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