September 1, 2020

Built on sis­ter­hood, a quin­tet of real-life writ­ers, who affec­tion­ate­ly call them­selves, The Inkslingers,” penned a nov­el, about fic­tion­al women. The diverse char­ac­ters trav­el to Upstate New York for a writ­ing work­shop and expe­ri­ence a life-chang­ing detour. Often humor­ous, at times haunt­ing, this cap­ti­vat­ing lit­er­ary work is tes­ti­mo­ny to the pow­er of the writ­ten word. This work has the essence of mag­i­cal real­ism but is ground­ed in wom­en’s rela­tion­ships with each oth­er and those they love. Detours demon­strates how women of vary­ing ages, reli­gious back­grounds, and fam­i­ly dynam­ics nav­i­gate life’s chal­lenges while sup­port­ing one anoth­er. With their dis­tinc­tive per­son­al­i­ties, each char­ac­ter expe­ri­ences their own detour. No amount of fore­shad­ow­ing could have paint­ed the twists and turns of their fic­tion­al jour­ney. This unique nov­el is a tes­ta­ment to the per­se­ver­ance, sis­ter­hood, and col­lab­o­ra­tion of five actu­al women authors who have bond­ed and birthed this endeav­or, Detours.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Rose­mary Gensler, Phyl­lis Hoff­man, Nan­cy Sims, Mar­i­on S. Phillips, Ellyn Zarek

  1. Which scenes have stuck with you the most?

  2. Why does Hazel repeat words three times?

  3. What was one thing about the plot you want­ed to know that wasn’t answered?

  4. Do you have any lin­ger­ing ques­tions to ask the authors?

  5. Were the char­ac­ters in DETOURS” believable?

  6. What unex­pect­ed detours have you taken?

  7. What would attract you a col­lab­o­ra­tive project?

  8. What do you think was the glue that held five authors together?

  9. How did you relate to the major themes in the book, i.e. female rela­tion­ships, love, mystery?

  10. Which char­ac­ters did you empathize with or relate to the most/​least?

  11. Did you think that the mag­i­cal real­ism is possible?

  12. What expe­ri­ences have you had that might be otherworldly?

  13. Did you relate to the Ebb and Flow chap­ter? Is there an expe­ri­ence you want­ed to relay?

  14. How did The Inn as a char­ac­ter work in the novel?

  15. Did the loca­tions (Hud­son Val­ley and The Berk­shires) peak your inter­est? Do you want to visit?

  16. Were the rasp­ber­ries magical?