Dialogues by Stephen Spignesi

When Bantam first published my novel Dialogues in hardcover in 2005, it was described as a “reinvention of the psychological thriller.” Told mostly in dialogue, I wrote Dialogues as a compelling drama about a young animal shelter worker named Tory Troy who one day murders her six co-workers in the animal shelter gas chamber used to euthanize sick and unwanted animals.

Tory took a job at the animal shelter to help unwanted animals find good homes. She ended up being trained for, and working as an animal euthanasia technician. One day, after the deadly gas had done its job, she opens the chamber door and sees … a kitten who didn’t die. This begins a journey for Tory that ultimately results in a decision she alone can make: whether to live or die.

In addition to writing, I am also a Practitioner in Residence and Professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. A few years after its initial publication, I began assigning Dialogues to my English Composition and Literature students as a novel to read for the semester. I also gave them Dialogues assignments, some culled from the “Reader’s Guide to Dialogues,” written by Bantam for reading groups when the book was first published. The most important Dialogues-related assignment was a 1,000-word analytical essay in which the students had to analyze the symbolism, foreshadowing, word choice, style, tone, and all the other literary elements of the novel they had studied during the semester. (more…)

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