Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
An historical epic that tells an unusual love story, The News from Paraguay offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of 19th century Paraguay, a largely untouched wilderness where European and American figures mix with the Spanish aristocracy of the capital and the indigenous peoples from the surrounding areas. The Irish courtesan Ella Lynch, courted in Paris by the future dictator of Paraguay, follows him to Asuncion where she reigns as his mistress. Isolated and a bit lost in this new world, she embraces her lover's ill-fated dream -- one fueled by outsized imperial ambition and heedless arrogance, and with devastating consequences for Paraguay and all its inhabitants. The urgency of the narrative, the imaginative richness of its intimate detail, and the wealth of characters whose stories are skillfully layered and unfolded recall the epic novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Should Ella have stayed so loyal to Franco all those years or should she have returned to France? What made her stay?
What modern parallels do you find to Franco's thirst for national grandeur? Is it necessary for there to be war and bloodshed for a country to find its independence?
BookBrowse note: Most reading guides have at least half a dozen questions, so I checked with Lily Tuck's publisher to be sure that this was the full reading guide for this title, and was assured that it was.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial.
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