About Grace Summary & Study Guide

Anthony Doerr
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of About Grace.
This section contains 720 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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About Grace Summary & Study Guide Description

About Grace Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on About Grace by Anthony Doerr.

About Grace, a novel by Anthony Doerr, revolves around David Winkler and the profound impact his dreams have on his life. In the past, David had dreamed of a death that came to pass. So, when David dreamed that he accidentally drowned his infant daughter, he feared that it would also come true. To prevent the dream from becoming a reality, David abandoned his wife and infant daughter Grace. Now, twenty-five years later, he returns to apologize and make things right.

Indeed, David seems to have the gift of precognition, or clairvoyance. He is able to envision and dream things before they happen. Much of the early part of the novel weaves back and forth between the past and the present, blurring the lines between time, what is real, what is prophetic, what is memory, and what is a dream. As the novel begins, David boards a plane from his home on the island of St. Vincent to his former home in Cleveland. David spends much of the flight recalling memories, until the novel shifts into the past.

The story flashes back to the 1970s. David, a weather forecaster, meets a woman named Sandy, and he is instantly attracted to her. A married bank teller, Sandy gently rebuffs David’s romantic advances, but ultimately decides to begin seeing him. Sandy is married to a man named Herman, who is very work-oriented and enjoys garlic salt too much for Sandy’s liking. Still, she knows he is a good man and loves her. As time passes, David and Sandy grow closer, and begin sleeping together. Sandy becomes pregnant. She decides to run away with David, and the two leave Alaska by car for Ohio. There, they take up residence in a beautiful house on Shadow Hill Lane and soon have their daughter, Grace.

One night, David has a dream in which the house is flooded and his attempt to rescue Grace results in her death. Having seen in other dreams the deaths of others that later occurred, David worries this dream will also come true. During a bad storm, the river floods, and David refuses to stick around. After reporting on the weather, David flees to New York. He boards a ship to flee the country, and he disembarks in St. Vincent. David writes home frequently to explain what has happened. He tries to call, but he never receives a response. In St. Vincent, he befriends a local family. The family includes husband Felix, wife Soma, and daughter, Naaliyah. The family senses unhappiness in David, and they take him under their wing. David tries to contact Sandy to explain why he had to leave. He never makes contact. Eventually, David learns that Sandy has gone back to Alaska.

For the next twenty-five years, David lives and works in St. Vincent. While living with his new found family, he works to instill a love of science in their daughter, Naaliyah. When David dreams of Naaliyah's death by drowning, he intervenes in time in real life to save her. The family is very grateful, and David learns his dreams are not fate. They are by choice. Naaliyah goes on to study at a graduate school in Alaska, while David decides to return home to find Sandy and Grace. In the library, he learns Sandy has died a few years before of cancer. David is devastated. He travels across America, seeking out young women who have the name Grace and who also have either his or Herman’s last name.

After no success, David heads to Alaska to stay with Naaliyah a short time. While there, he learns from Soma where Herman now lives. David contacts Herman. Much to Herman’s surprise, David has forgiven the past. Herman helps David reconnect with Grace –and Grace’s son, Christopher. Grace is enraged that David has come back into her life so suddenly after abandoning her. However, David is determined to make things right. When he has a prophetic dream about Herman dying of a heart attack, David and Christopher rush to Herman’s office and save his life. Herman decides he will retire, while Grace decides to allow David back into their lives. In a dream, David is visited from Heaven by Sandy, who makes peace with David for the past.

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This section contains 720 words
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Buy the About Grace Study Guide
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