A touching story of an 85-year-old widower, a teenager who has lost her mother and lonely women who form an unlikely family. This feel-good book touches on issues of making the best of the life you are given. -The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur Truluv

By Elizabeth Berg


Critical Praise:


“Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—Booklist

“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart. I dare you to read this novel and not fall in love with Arthur Truluv. His story will make you laugh and cry, and will show you a love that never ends, and what it means to be truly human.”—Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking

“I don't know if I’ve ever read a more affecting book about the natural affinity between the young and the elderly than Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv. It makes the rest of us—strivers and preeners and malcontents—seem almost irrelevant.”—Richard Russo, author of Everybody’s Fool

“Elizabeth Berg reminds us of both the richness of any human life and the heart’s needed resilience.”—Jane Hirshfield, author of The Beauty: Poems
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*Discussion Questions



1. How would you describe Arthur Moses? Although many of us (are you one?) find graveyards somewhat disconcerting, even eerie, Arthur finds comfort in visiting Nora's grave. What is it about the cemetary that offers him solace?

2. What drives Maddy to the graveyard? How would you define Maddy and her father's relationship? What is it about Arthur that attracts Maddy, eventually inspiring her to coin the name Truluv?

3. Care to comment on Maddy's observation about love: "But the longer I live, the more I come to see that love is not so easy for everyone. It can get awfully complicated." Does it sadden you to realize that such a dark view of life and love comes from a teenager? Or is it preferable that young people attain wisdom or caution early on?

4. What does Lucille bring to the mix of personalities? How do you see her role?

5. "What is it that makes a family?" This question lies at the heart of the novel. Care to weigh in on it?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: Consider the quotation in full (from which the question above is taken):

What is it that makes a family? Certainly no document does, no legal pronouncement or accident of birth. No, real families come from choices we make about who we want to be bound to, and the ties to such families live in our hearts.

Consider the possible implications of that passage: perhaps blood families or legal families are not worth fighting for; it may be easier to walk away. Is the passage suggesting that, when family life falls apart, we should choose to opt out rather than attempt to work through painful relationships or deal with troubled family members? There is no right or wrong answer here: it's simply a question to spark discussion.

7. Do you find the ending satisfying? (Did you predict it?) Would you have preferred another? Why do you think Elizabeth Berg chose the conclusion she did?

8. Some have found this book schmaltzy and overly sentimental. Others find it deeply heartfelt and genuine. Where do you stand?

9. Can you see similarities between this novel and A Man Called Ove or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry?

(Discussion Questions by LitLovers)


Book Summary
“I dare you to read this novel and not fall in love with Arthur Truluv. His story will make you laugh and cry, and will show you a love that never ends, and what it means to be truly human.”—Fannie Flagg

An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them

“Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—Booklist

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

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