February book for I Should Have Read That:
I keep flipping to the photos in the front to attach faces to names.
There are a number of book reviews available. I've flagged two and also include a link to a reading guide from the publisher (MacMillan/Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)
NY Times review
"Crises of faith are the dominant theme of Héctor Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark,” the story of 33 men who were buried for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine in 2010. Crises of faith are the dominant theme of Héctor Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark,” the story of 33 men who were buried for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine in 2010. "
"Miners have a rule: Nobody walks anywhere alone. A slab of rock can peel off suddenly and imprison a man for days. Or a miner can step, without the warning of a shadow, into a fatal crevasse. The buddy system is an expression of the profession’s perils and, ironically, also the limits of its safety: What happens when every man’s life is in danger?"
FSG Reading Guide
As I've been reading and preparing for the book group, I thought I'd pose questions to consider as a group. These are not the only discussion points, but I'll usually include a few going forward to consider based on these reviews and the guide.
I think the question of faith is important. What does it mean to have faith and for those who are atheist and do not look to a higher source or supernatural support, what does it mean to have faith? Where do you find solace? What do you think of the men's continued push/pull with their faith?
The story could have been told without the voice of the women, but it isn't. Tobar includes them. What were your initial impressions as the men were leaving their families behind to go into the mines (some on lengthy bus rides)? What about the absence of women. I suspect that there was a western, why aren't there women? prickling going on. What do their perspectives add to the story? Speculate: how would it have been different if it had been men and women below? All women?
Did Tobar writing pull you in? Did it feel like he developed a strong narrative? What was he narrator's voice like to you? Does the story work? How so?