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Questions for Book Club Discussion or the Reader's Consideration


  1. Does the novel sound like a book that could have been written at the time in which the story occurs?  In what way?
  2. Being mere mortals, the novel’s three main characters—Sam, Emilena and May—are each flawed in different ways.  How so?
  3. In what way does Summerland figure as a character in the novel and how does it reinforce the story line?
  4. Why, in Ch. 12, does May say to Sam that “the circumstances that brought her guests to Summerland are all the same”?  What does she mean?
  5. Why does Mac refer to May as “La Doña Quixote”?  In what way is she like Cervantes’ noble knight?
  6. Why does Emilena wear a rubber band around her ear?
  7. What do the books that Sam sees in May’s office tell us about her?
  8. How does May’s nature religion differ from other religions with which you are familiar?
  9. In Ch.  30, when the Sister faints, Sam asks May, “Don’t you ever question your own assumptions?”  Do you believe it is important to do so and why or why not?
  10. In this novel, the author sometimes writes earth and sometimes Earth. Why do you think that is?
  11. Discuss why May doesn't offer her personal history, saying instead, “I live forward.”
  12. When May explains to Sam how it was that she and Mother Superior got along so well, she says, “With a big enough perspective, opposites reconcile.”  What does she mean and do you agree?
  13. After Sam’s dinner date with May, he has a dream. How does his dream envision May’s New Myth?
  14. At the beginning, the end, and in the book’s middle, Sam mentions going fishing. What did going fishing mean to him at these points in the story?


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