Questions for Book Club Discussions

Spoiler alert! Some of these questions reveal important plot points, so if you haven’t finished the book, you may want to come back later, once you’ve finished…

  1. The story is told from many characters’ points of view. In what ways did this enhance your enjoyment of the story? Why did the author choose to do this?
  2. Identity is an important question in the novel. For example, Edie changes her last name when she arrives in Florida. What are some of the different  identities assumed by the characters? Do some characters seem to  contradict themselves or surprise you by their actions?
  3. Did you find that the book challenged any preconceived notions you had, or made  you view something in a different light? Did you find yourself feeling sympathetic toward a character that surprised you?
  4. The novel opens with Edie’s arrival on a rainswept highway and ends with Evan bicycling home. While Edie is literally trying to escape the FBI, every character in the book is on the move—you might say every character is looking to escape on some level. Discuss how this theme of  escape/reinvention plays itself out. What characters succeed? What characters fail?
  5. Edie and the Balinese have opposite ideas about the best way to effect social change. There seem to be no limits as to what Edie will do to protect the envrionment, while the Balinese draws the line at using force or violence. Who do you think is right?
  6. Toward the end of the book, we discover that Pastor Reginal Dancer has a very interesting, secret collection. What do you think about this habit of his?
  7. Mae and Vester have complicated relationship. In the end, she decides to kick him out—even though he is dying. Is she right for doing this? Or heartless?
  8. Is there morality in the book? If so, consider who, at the end of the book, escapes, and who dies. Is justice served? Does everyone “get what they deserve,” even those that ultimately get what they want?
  9. If justice is served, is that always neccessarily a good thing?
  10. Who is the Maharajah, and where does he come from?
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