Reading guide for The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

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The Mirror Thief

by Martin Seay

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay X
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 592 pages
    Apr 2017, 592 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. The Mirror Thief takes place in three different locations, all of which are named Venice. This seems to indicate that in addition to being a setting for the plot, the concept of "Venice" animates the novel as an idea in itself. What is this idea?
  2. The word "Venice" never actually appears anywhere in The Mirror Thief, despite the fact that it is quite obviously set in three different places named Venice. What could be the significance of this? Why would the author refrain from using the name of the locations?
  3. What is the role of magic in the novel? Is it actual magic, or just implied? Is the magic – whether the sense of magic, or actual magic --- limited to the part of the story set in 16th century Venice setting, or is it in the two more modern-day settings as well? How might it function in each?
  4. In Las Vegas, Veronica tells Curtis that "the eye that tricks itself" is "the beginning of modern art." What does Veronica mean by this? And how might this idea inform the novel, if at all? (p. 274)
  5. In the hands of Stanley, card counting seems like an act of magic. What is the significance of card counting in the novel? Is it magic, craft, both—or is it something else altogether?
  6. Early in the novel, the author writes that "calling a thing by its name gives you power over it." (p. 88) What is an example in the book of a character naming something to achieve power over it? Is this related to the "mirrored" naming of each location in the book as "Venice"?
  7. The Mirror Thief features three distinct storylines, each in its own time and place, that eventually come together. Each of these narratives have a specific tone, language, and ambiance of their own. How does the author establish a unique sense of time and place in each narrative?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Melville House. 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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Beyond the Book:
  Sixteenth Century Venice

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