Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
This book involves a series of mysteries. Are any of the characters
still a mystery to you at the end of the book? Which mysteries are left
unsolved or ambiguous? Why do you think this is?
One of Maisie's talents is communicating with the dead. Who are the
other ghosts in this novel besides her nuns?
A. E. Housman wrote, "That is the land of lost content,/I see it shining
plain,/The happy highways where I went/And cannot come again." In this case,
the "land of lost content" is Suffolk, but it could be anywhere. How
important is the setting of Suffolk, and why? What about London?
Though the novel centers on three female characters, much of it is
written from Dan's point of view, and the women are immortalized by Lucass
painting. How do these male perspectives affect your view of the three
Maisie and Dan, the first two narrators in the novel, are both
outsiders, each of a different sort. How does the outsider perspective
inform the telling of this story?
Did you find Julia unsympathetic in the early parts of the novel? How
does this change when she becomes the final narrator? Is she an outsider, as
Maisie and Dan are, in any way?
Lucas's drawings of Dan become the triptych Trinity Daniel. What are the
three components of Dans character?
In the course of the novel, several characters appear blind to their
true feelings and those of others.Toward the end, Dan says of Finn that he
has "loved a woman who never existed." Is Dan right, or is he still denying
a different truth, one thats apparent to readers? What about Julia?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Grand Central Publishing.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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