"I’d decided there was nothing creepier than the ringing phone of a deceased individual. It meant someone didn’t know. "
Three Miles of Eden
In June of 2016, I was staring at my best friend's corpse floating face down in Lake Sequoia. I had lost my wife and little girl only a month before. I clung to the hope that Morgan and Ava would return before Morgan’s habit got the better of her.
There was no hope for Rob Erwin. Murders did not happen in Seven Lakes, North Carolina. Folks left their doors unlocked there. I was devastated.
To manage grief, I ran. Actually, I drank and also ran around the lake each day. One morning, vintage vehicles blared the music of my childhood. There were empty spaces where houses should have been. Then I met my neighbor. That was strange because I had buried him two years prior.
My name is Ray McCarthy, and I slipped into my adolescent self in the summer of 1984. My time slip was confined to the three-mile loop around Lake Sequoia. In 1984, my best friend was alive, and I meant to alter his fate using the anomaly.
Hello old friend.
I hope this letter finds you faster than we found the time capsule. Rob unearthed it last month, and he held on to it…wanted to make it a surprise. I see you kept your promise. I knew you would. I wish after all this time I had better things to say, but here goes.
Rob is gone. It’s just you and me now...
"Next, I made a list of things I needed to accomplish within the next twenty-four hours. It was a pretty messed up list: buy Scotch, research opioids, and write Rob’s eulogy."
Three Miles of Eden Discussion Questions
I. Music plays a considerable role in this book. Quotes are introducing whole sections of the story. Music is playing in multiple scenes. I'll tell you that in the time-travel sequences, I purposely used only the music that was on the charts in June of 1984. I was dying to use something off Prince's Purple Rain album, but it was not-yet-released. Does anyone remember where I did sneak in a Prince reference? Discuss how I employ music in the novel and what it represents symbolically to the characters and the story overall.
II. Ray has a particular theory about why the time anomaly appears. There is an adage, "Nature takes its course." It does. If we quit mowing, trimming, driving, and paving, then nature slowly retakes the places where it once belonged. What else can nature do? Does nature have an intuition? Do places have feelings? Can nature be inspired to take action? Explain.
III. There are themes in this story ranging from friendship and adolescence to life and death. Examine the symbolism carried by Lake Sequoia and the time capsule and how it contributes to the themes.
IV. Ray often dreams. Some of those dreams are unsettling, but they all seem to provide for Ray a useful perspective. Discuss.