Chris Fabry
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Interview, Excerpt

In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and "do life" the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved--only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin's past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn't survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.


 Dogwood Discussion Questions: by Chris Fabry


1.     The setting for Dogwood is West Virginia. In what ways is the setting a



2.     One legend says Christ was crucifi ed on a dogwood tree, which at one
time grew straight and tall; then he promised it would never be used
for executions again. “Slender and twisted it shall always be, with crossshaped
blossoms for all to see.” What signifi cance does this legend have
in the themes and characters of the novel?



3.     Will Hatfi eld is a Christ fi gure. In what ways does his life parallel the life
of Jesus? To what lengths does he go to pursue his love? Conversely,
what are Will’s flaws?



4.     Karin is a character who, in a sense, cannot respond to Will’s love. How
does her life parallel the spiritual condition of every person?



5.     Ruthie Bowles is a fi gure fl oating between Will and Karin, piecing
together their history as she probes their past. In what ways is Ruthie
the catalyst to the changes these two experience? Have you known a
“Ruthie” in your own life?



6.     Describe Will’s relationship with his brother, Carson. How does Carson
refl ect the feelings of the community?



7.     Will has a special relationship with his father. In what ways does Will’s life
mirror his father’s? How does his father’s love help mold and shape Will?



8.     At the end of the novel, we see a change in Karin’s life. What circumstances
aid in her turnaround? What kind of future do you think she
has? Has seeing the truth ever helped you change in some way?




9.     Danny Boyd is a plaintive voice throughout the book, giving a behindthe-
scenes look at the pain his family has experienced. How did you
respond to his counseling experience?



10.     How does Karin’s brother, Bobby Ray, escape his fate at the end of
the novel?



11.     One theme of the novel is sacrifi ce. What would you say to a person
who sacrificed for you and pursued you as Will did Karin ?





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