1. as Richard been well served by his belief "in the topsy-turvy in life?" (p. 57) Do you think March appreciates this quality in him? Why or why not? At the end of the novel, do you believe Richard will accept March back into his life? Do you think she has changed enough through the course of the novel to be happy in a life with him?

  2. Susie Justice is presented as a character who has had many relationships with men, but few long-lasting, meaningful ones. Do you think her parents' marriage and March's relationship with Hollis have affected her relationship and, if so, how? How would you evaluate the quality of her relationship with Ed? How is it different from the affair of March and Hollis? Do you think Susie and Ed will find happiness in the future?

  3. In what ways does the author employ the desolate, New England setting to elaborate on her characters inner lives? What is the symbolism of the Marshes? Why is it significant that March and Gwen's "other life" is in California?

  4.  It is clear that Alan's life has been a terrible waste. In your opinion, is Hollis right when he tells Hank, "Your father got what he deserved?" (p.231) Or do you agree with Hank, who thinks, "No one gets what he deserves. ... Things happen, and sometimes it goes wrong. An entire life can become a dead end"? (p. 231–232) Does the novel's conclusion lead you to believe that Alan will be able to change his life? Why, or why not?

  5.  When Richard comes to Jenkintown to convice March to return home, Gwen realizes that "It's not the lie that's the problem; it's the distance the lie forges between you." (p. 183) What are the lies told by the major characters in the novel, and how do they each create the "distance" to which Gwen is referring? Which are more hurtful: the lies that are told or the truths that the characters leave unsaid? Can any relationship survive, in your opinion, when one person conceals the truth from another?

  6.  What enables Louise Justice to keep her knowledge of the Judge's love affair with Judith Dale a secret for 32 years? Would you have done the same in her position? Why does she choose the moment she does to communicate this knowledge to her husband? What do you think will happen to their marriage from this point forward?

  7.  Do you believe that one can love two people at the same time? What sacrifices does such an arrangement require? Did Bill Justice truly love both Louise and Judith, in your opinion? Why do you think he was unable to make a choice between them?
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