Sunday, May 27, 2012

"An Episode of Sparrows", Discussion

Writing prompts for An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden.

Please share your answers and thoughts in comments.

Who was your favorite character in the novel, besides Lovejoy?

Along the same lines, what is the most interesting 'couple' in the novel? The book revolves around relationships. Which relationship spoke strongly to you. 

Do you have a favorite passage? If so, please share, and explain what touched you.

What did this book teach you about joy?

Do we all see a bit of ourselves in Lovejoy? What of her character reminds you of yourself as a child?

While the book isn't about parenting, what of the novel may help you be a better mother, aunt, and/or grandmother to children in your life?

Or, write about whatever struck you! Thanks for sharing!


  1. So many parts of this novel impress themselves upon me. But, I must say that the one part of the book that keeps coming back is this passage, where Vincent and Mrs. Combie are discussing Lovejoy:

    "Ettie, should a child be as silent and still as that?" Mrs. Combie had not thought about it. "She's no trouble," she said uncertainly.
    Vincent thought vaguely that a child ought to be a trouble."

    That last line stands out at me like it is in 24 point bold type. Vincent, in all his weaknesses, arrogance, temptations and audacity, he still has the ability to see the beauty of a child.

    Later in the book, he comes across Lovejoy asleep on the staircase, late at night. Her mother is up in the bedroom with a 'guest'. The author simply has Vincent gently carry Lovejoy to the couch and then firmly knock on her mother's bedroom door. We need no more paragraphs, we can only imagine the words that came out of his mouth.

    In these subtle ways, Rumer Godden doesn't 'explain' to us how Vincent loves this little girl. She simply shows us.

  2. Determination. If only I had Lovejoy's determination and will in all that I do! I had orginally planned not to read this novel. As you all started An Episode of Sparrows, I was behind in reading our first novel, Lizzie's War. Tim Farrington wrote, "Her mother-in-law always reminded Liz of a bird: a sparrow, maybe, nothing but bones and air, with the will of quiet steel. Mike's mother ran her traditional household in the traditional way, almost invisibly. But at moments like this, there was no doubt that she ran it. No one was going to be happy until she officially lightened up." For some reason this passage stuck in my head as I read Rumer Godden's book. Lovejoy most certainly had a "a will of quiet steel". I enjoyed reading the parts where Tip and Lovejoy worked together for her Italian garden and how their relationship gradually developed.

    "Don' they care how late you are?" he asked. "No," said Lovejoy briefly and worked on. Tip began to think there were advantages in being Lovejoy; she could stay out as late as she liked, she was free of church; he began to look at her with a mixture of disapproval and respect."

    "They worked on; he had to admire the way she did it, soundlessly moving and clearing the stone and glass. "Keep any little bits that will do for edging," she said, but to almost every bit Tip found she said, "No, that won't do." It was hard work. Tip's back began to ache when at last she stoppped. "You've got spunk, I'll say that for you," said Tip, when she stood stiffly up."

    "He was soon to learn his mistake. Lovejoy was a tyrant."

    This was where I fell in love with Tip. It made me laugh and think of relationships between husbands and wives.

    1. You're so right, Jessica. Leave it to you and Terri to find that common thread that ties all our novels together! I loved that description of Mike's mother in Lizzie's War. Fragility and strength. And then, we have it again in Sparrows! Thanks for noticing that for us all!

      And, who doesn't fall in love with Tip!? :)

  3. "While the book isn't about parenting, what of the novel may help you be a better mother, aunt, and/or grandmother to children in your life?"

    Okay...don't laugh, but I had to share what was going through my head. : )

    I couldn't help but think of Lovejoy's scarlet shoes as I looked down at our five year old's Spiderman sneakers. His little feet were peeking through the tops of both, the lights were out, the soles were peeling back, and the Velcro no longer stayed together. Normally, we dig through the hand-me-downs or wait until the start of the school to buy a new pair shoes if needed. The kids usually go barefoot or wear flip flops in the summertime. I couldn't help but think of Lovejoy. I couldn't resist and bought him a new pair of his favorite Spiderman sneakers at our most recent trip to Target. To honor of Lovejoy : )

    1. Aw, Jessica - I so love your comments! Those shoes! Perfect. I laughed out loud. I think I woke up my kids. I think Lovejoy, fashionista that she is, would LOVE spiderman sneakers! And I bet, once they married, Tip bought Lovejoy as many pairs of scarlet shoes as she wanted.


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