Reading guide for Unconfessed by Yvette Christiansë

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Unconfessed

By Yvette Christiansë

Unconfessed
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  • Hardcover: Nov 2006,
    360 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2007,
    360 pages.

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Why do you think the author chose to shift from third person to first person narrative? What does this shift achieve?
  2. Do you have any mental image of Sila? What kinds of detail emerge from her deeply introspective voice?
  3. Do you have any mental images of the places that Sila lived in? Are there any small details help create these images in the absence of the kind of description that third person narrative would provide?
  4. Can we trust Sila's account of everything? Or are there moments when we believe her and moments when we doubt her?
  5. What do you think Sila keeps secret, and why?
  6. What does Sila say to her friend Lys that she does not say to her son, Baro?
  7. What kinds of things does Sila say to Johannes that she does not say to Lys or Baro?
  8. Why do you think Sila says nothing about the father or fathers of her children? Does it matter that she says nothing about them? Or are there clues as to who he/they might be?
  9. Is Sila's life ever open to something other than grief and rage?
  10. What kind of humor does Sila have?
  11. How and when does the tone and style of Sila's language change?
  12. Does Sila's story make you want to know more about this moment in South Africa's early history, and about slavery?
  13. Do you perceive any differences between what you know of slavery in, say, the Americas, and the world that unfolds in Sila's story?
  14. Why would we be interested in yet another slave story? What does this book have to say that is different?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Other Press. 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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