Reading Group Discussion Questions continued...
- What do you think of Daniel and Jo's marriage? Would Jo's betrayal of Daniel have been more profound if she'd actually had an affair with Eli? What do you think the author thinks, and why?
- At the end of the novel, several people are confronted by revelations they find shocking about people they thought they knew: Sadie discovers the murder in her mother's past; Jo discovers that her father had a pervious marriage; and Daniel, of course discovers his wife's near infidelity. I her letter to Sadie, Jo writes, "Now there's a different message, I guess something having to do with our inability to know or guess at the secret depths of another person." Later she makes reference to a similar feeling on Daniel's part -- "The momentary possibility that he didn't know me at all" -- and she recalls her mother's words after her mother's confession: "We're the same, aren't we? It hasn't changed us in your eyes to know this." Is it possible to ever really know another person? Should all secrets be told?
- Using Jo's reflections after her mother's confession ("It seems we need someone to know us as we are -- with all we have done -- and forgive us...") and, most particularly, her reflections in the novel's closing pages ("Perhaps it's best to live with the possibility that around and corner, at any time, may come the person who reminds you of your own capacity to surprise yourself, to put at risk everything that's dear to you. Who reminds you of the distances we have to bridge to begin to know anything about one another. Who reminds you that what seems to be -- even about yourself - may not be. That like him, you need to be forgiven."), discuss the theme of forgiveness in the novel.
Published on August 26, 2008