Reading Group Discussion Questions
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The questions that follow are intended to enhance your, or your group's, reading of Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife
, an enormously gripping and powerfully wrought novel of loss, mystery and betrayal.
Does Shreve's use of flashbacks to Jack and Kathryn's marriage reveal the changes occurring between Jack and Kathryn? In what way did Jack and in what way did Kathryn each contribute to the marital problems? How did they each react to the difficulties?
Was Robert's betrayal the worst of all, as Kathryn thinks to herself? Who betrayed whom in this novel? Can you ever love someone who has betrayed you?
When Kathryn throws her wedding ring into the ocean, she thinks to herself: To be relieved of love is to give up a terrible burden. Do you agree?
Regarding Jack's religion or lack of it, he appeared to be quite divided. Was he assuming religious beliefs just to please the women he was with? How does his religious division give us clues to his character?
How do the memories and thoughts Jack and Kathryn each have about their respective mothers influence their views of marriage?
The theme of disaster is central to the story. Not just the physical disaster of the crash, or even the disaster to the family that Jack's death produces; but the disaster that unfolds as Kathryn learns the truth of Jack's double life and many secrets. How does the passage from the bottom of page 12 relate to the disasters?
"and she thought then....such a thing of beauty."
Could this passage also be used at the end of the book? Is there beauty in disaster?