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Poorly Written,
Addictive

2 reviews

Poison: A Novel
by Galt Niederhoffer

Published: 2017-11-21
Hardcover : 304 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland ?a new ...

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Introduction

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland ?a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

ONE


It’s Thursday night, just after six, and Cass does the things of a mother. She decapitates a head of broccoli and drops it into a pot of boiling water. She opens the lid on a vat of rice and nearly burns her face off. She kneels to check the chicken, sweating in the oven. She hacks an onion with a knife, achieving, in three swift blows, a painless execution. She balances a call for work with the needs of her toddler, who is feet away on the floor, demolishing a wooden tower. She mutes the phone and calls upstairs to the older kids to please come down for dinner. She unmutes the phone just in time to utter something useful. The kids tumble down the stairs, enmeshed in their own struggle. The sitter, at six on the dot, abandons her post at the tower and makes her evening exit, the speed and precision of which sometimes feels to Cass like a jailbreak. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. What kind of a father is Ryan? Is it an open-and-shut question because of what he does to Cass, or is father a very different role for him than husband? Can fatherhood justify its own moral code?

2. Niederhoffer writes specifically from Cass’s point of view? How does this closely aligned narrator affect your experience of the story? Does it contribute to the confusion surrounding her perceptions? Is Cass the ultimate unreliable narrator or the most accurate reporter? Somewhere in between?

3. Identify a moment in the book where you thought Cass might be paranoid, and another where you thought she was in mortal danger. How does the author craft a book that is open to multiple interpretations? How does this create tension? How does this implicate the reader in the bias that is Cass’s greatest antagonist? How does Niederhoffer’s treatment of Cass’ perceptions create tension in the book?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Great Story, Writing Not So Great"by Betty56 (see profile) 11/21/17

Another “perfect” family on the outside story. Ryan and Cass seem to be the perfect family. Cass has two children from her late first husband. Then she marries Ryan and they have a child... (read more)

 
  "Poison"by Silversolara (see profile) 11/21/17


A whirlwind romance opposed by her mother, a marriage made in heaven, and a move across the country. Was the move part of Ryan’s plan to have no family around for Cass?

A second chan


... (read more)

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