Reading guide for The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips

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

The Lost Child

by Caryl Phillips

The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips X
The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2015, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2016, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. As The Lost Child unfolded, how did the opening scene affect your reading? How is the image of Heathcliff's mother echoed in subsequent chapters?
  2. The quest for social status and the pain of alienation drive much of the plot in Wuthering Heights. What might Emily Brontë have thought of the Johnson family?
  3. What is at the root of Monica and Julius's attraction to each other? In what ways are they both "foreigners"?
  4. In part IV, "The Family," Phillips provides a moving portrait of the Brontë sisters and their life with their brother and father. How did their fates influence your perception of the other characters in The Lost Child?
  5. What is at stake for Ronald Johnson in his career and within his household? Why is he willing to turn his back on Monica? Does he abandon her, or does she abandon him? If you were Ronald's daughter, would you have complied with his wishes?
  6. What aspirations and obligations shape Ruth's and Monica's approaches to motherhood? How do their experiences compare with those of Tommy and Ben's foster parents?
  7. Discuss the title. In what ways are the novel's adult characters just as lost as the children? Do any of the characters truly find their way home?
  8. Do Lloyd Samuels and Julius have a realistic chance to transform their worlds? Why isn't Julius able to extend his quest for equality to women, acknowledging the hypocrisy in his treatment of Monica?
  9. What role does education play in the characters' lives, from Ronald's pride when Monica is admitted to Oxford to the struggles Ben and Tommy face as schoolboys?
  10. In part VI, "Childhood," the point of view shifts to Ben's. How does his narration change the tone of the novel? If you were going to create a sound track for your life's turning points, which songs would you choose?
  11. Is Monica's relationship with Derek very different from her marriage to Julius? In part VIII, "Alone," what truths emerge about love and survival? Are Ben and Mandy the exception to the rules?
  12. What cultural revolutions are captured in the novel, from Britain's colonial era through the aftermath of the 1960s? Do the characters illustrate the growth of freedom, or does liberation continually evade them?
  13. What makes Tommy more vulnerable than his brother throughout his life? Does Ben wisely protect himself when he rebuffs Ronald, or does he miss an opportunity to receive comfort and security from his grandfather?
  14. How does The Lost Child expand on the notions of identity and ancestry explored in Caryl Phillips's previous novels? How did The Lost Child enhance your enjoyment of Wuthering Heights?


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.

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:
  Emily Brontë

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Courting Mr. Lincoln
    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard
    19 out of 21 of our First Impression Reviewers rated Louis Bayard's latest novel, Courting Mr. ...
  • Book Jacket
    Transcription
    by Kate Atkinson
    Over her two-decade-plus career, Kate Atkinson has reinvented herself as a writer several times by ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhalation
    Exhalation
    by Ted Chiang
    Exhalation is an assemblage of nine short stories and novellas written by Ted Chiang, a computer ...
  • Book Jacket: Disappearing Earth
    Disappearing Earth
    by Julia Phillips
    On the remote peninsula of Kamchatka—tucked away on the far eastern corner of Russia and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake

    "An American epic in the truest sense…"
    Entertainment Weekly
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Women Rowing North
    by Mary Pipher


    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Miracle Creek

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I T S Form O F

and be entered to win..

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.