Bound by Antonya Nelson
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
1. Bound begins and ends with Max, Misty and Cattie's dog who survives a car crash and finds a new life in Arizona. What does Max's dog's-eye view add to the novel? How are Cattie, Randall, Catherine and Elise changed by dog ownership over the course of the novel?

2. News of the serial killer BTK winds through Bound. Although we never meet the BTK in the novel, how does his reappearance in Wichita pull all the characters together?

3. Misty dies in the first chapter of Bound, but her life becomes clearer as the novel continues. What first impression does Misty make before her fatal car accident? How does Misty's character come into focus, as we learn more about her early years in Wichita and her midlife successes in Houston?

4. Discuss how Cattie handles the loss of her mother. How does she manage her grief, and at which moments is she overwhelmed with emotion? Consider the feelings of guilt that Cattie expresses when she declares, "the fact remained: her mother had been alive, and sober, when they lived in the same place" (page 30).

5. Consider Oliver's attitude toward the women in his life, including his wives, daughters and "Sweetheart." What is Oliver's philosophy of love and fidelity? Why does his affair with the Sweetheart eventually fizzle? Of all the women from his past, who continues to have the strongest hold on him today?

6. Discuss Catherine's attitudes toward her hometown. Is it surprising that Misty left Wichita instead of Catherine? Why or why not? How does Cattie's move to Wichita help Catherine see Wichita in new ways?

7. Consider the circumstances of Cattie's cross-country road trip with Randall. How does this unlikely pair come together? How does Cattie feel when Randall disappears after they run out of gas? What reasons might Randall have had for leaving Cattie?

8. Oliver and the BTK are both "Wichitans to Watch" in the local newspaper. How does Oliver react to this public link to the serial killer? Why does Oliver feel a private "shiver of troubling recognition" when the BTK is finally caught (page 223)? Which of his own secrets does Oliver recognize within the BTK's rise and fall?

9. Catherine eventually realizes that Cattie "had not been running away, she'd been running home" (page 191). What does "home" mean to Catherine and to Cattie? Does either of them find a true home by the end of the novel? Why or why not?

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