MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for De Potter's Grand Tour by Joanna Scott

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De Potter's Grand Tour

by Joanna Scott

De Potter's Grand Tour by Joanna Scott X
De Potter's Grand Tour by Joanna Scott
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2014, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2015, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. What does the novel reveal about the nature of marriage? How well can we ever know another person, even a life partner?

  2. What were your theories about Armand's disappearance? How did your impressions of him shift?

  3. What is at the heart of Armand's financial woes? Does he crave elevated social status because he's an illegitimate grandson of Louis de Potter, or is it simply part of his personality?

  4. What motivates De Potter's customers to travel abroad, despite the potential hazards and discomforts? What do vacationers seek when they choose to visit a foreign country?

  5. How were you affected by the photographs that appear throughout the novel? What realities do they capture in this work of fiction?

  6. In his dealings with Professor Hilprecht and Mrs. Stevenson, what does Armand discover about the way antiquities are valued? What would he say about recent controversies over whether museums in Britain and America should return antiquities to their countries of origin? What ordinary objects from your home could be of interest to an archaeologist a thousand years from now?

  7. Why was Amy Beckwith willing to transform herself into Aimée de Potter? As a widow, what new purpose in life does she find?

  8. Discuss Armand's experiences in North Africa when he traveled with the photographer Alexandre Bougault. As Armand grew older, did he become more world-wise, or more naïve?

  9. What does Armand try to teach his son, Victor, about becoming a successful man? When Aimée takes Victor to visit Armand's brother (also named Victor), what do we discover about the legacies of the de Potter men? How has your family history shaped your life?

  10. In some ways, De Potter Tours is in the business of theater, with guides who dramatize history and a founder who impersonates a scholar. What does the novel say about the roles we all play as a part of everyday life?

  11. What did the villa in Cannes mean to Armand, and to Aimée? What is your own ultimate symbol of success?

  12. What is unique about Joanna Scott's approach to homelands and history? How does De Potter's Grand Tour enhance your enjoyment of her previous novels and short stories?

  13. If you were to book a De Potter tour, where would you want to go? What would you want to learn from the guides?


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