Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Why do you think the author chose to shift from third person to first
person narrative? What does this shift achieve?
- Do you have any mental image of Sila? What kinds of detail emerge from her
deeply introspective voice?
- 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?
- Can we trust Sila's account of everything? Or are there moments when we
believe her and moments when we doubt her?
- What do you think Sila keeps secret, and why?
- What does Sila say to her friend Lys that she does not say to her son,
- What kinds of things does Sila say to Johannes that she does not say to
Lys or Baro?
- 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?
- Is Sila's life ever open to something other than grief and rage?
- What kind of humor does Sila have?
- How and when does the tone and style of Sila's language change?
- Does Sila's story make you want to know more about this moment in South
Africa's early history, and about slavery?
- Do you perceive any differences between what you know of slavery in, say,
the Americas, and the world that unfolds in Sila's story?
- 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.