Reading guide for Vandal Love by Deni Y. Béchard

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Vandal Love

A Novel

by Deni Y. Béchard

Vandal Love
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    May 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How does Vandal Love explore movement and what it does to people? What values are lost - or cemented - in migration? How do the novel's characters variously distance themselves from the past or try to recreate it?

  2. Why does Isa-Marie take to her bed after Jude attacks her young friend? Do you think Jude felt guilt over her death? In what ways do love and destruction co-exist in this section? What other patterns of love twinned with destruction can you trace within the novel?

  3. Characters within Vandal Love are frequently renamed or rename themselves. How important is reinvention and renaming in Vandal Love? What is involved in an act of naming? What historical, cultural, racial, and ethnic baggage is being abandoned, hidden, borrowed, invented, or hoped for when choosing a name? When various characters within Vandal Love change their name, how does their choice reflect or interact with the historical and cultural moment in which they find themselves - or wish to lose themselves?

  4. Why do you think Bart leaves Louise? And, what is the significance of Bart crushing the owlets before leaving Louise and taking their baby? Later, why does he refuse to tell Isa anything about her mother, save that she was autre chose - "something else"?

  5. Many characters in Vandal Love seem to be chasing a mythical American Dream: a prosperous, yet easy America that always seems to exist elsewhere, for someone else. How do various characters' class, ethnicity, race, language, and size keep them as outsiders? How do some characters resist this mythical America?

  6. Who do you think achieves the most success in the story and why? What constitutes success for this character?

  7. Various characters within Vandal Love drink heavily. How does alcoholism figure in Vandal Love, a novel so focused upon memory, pain, loss, and forced forgetting?

  8. Why do you think the novel closes with Harvey, now calling himself Juan Elhuésped, living within the underground Mexican community in the US? Are there parallels between the struggles the Hervé family - and the French-Canadian diaspora generally - faced as they immigrated to the US during the French-Canadian exodus, and the struggles Mexican immigrants face in the contemporary United States?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Milkweed Editions. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Le Grand Hémorragie

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

There is no science without fancy and no art without fact

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.