Book Club

Discussion Questions

  • The book starts out with two good mothers and two bad mothers. How does your opinion change as the story progresses?

  • The natural landscape plays an important role in this book. What is the significance of the setting and what feelings did it evoke in you?

  • The novel begins with Evelyn's return to Cormorant Lake after running away fourteen years ago, and we later learn that Nan and Clara also left and returned when they were younger. Why do they all return to a town they find stifling?

  • Evelyn and Nan both grapple with feelings of fraudulence as mothers. Are they fraudulent? 

  • Jube doesn't struggle with guilt and uncertainty the way Nan and Evelyn do. Is her tendency to blame others for her mistakes what ultimately keeps her sane?

  • Jamie's pregnancy fetish (also known as maiesophilia) seems to be what draws him and Evelyn to one another. What is the parallel between the pregnancy fetish and the larger story about motherhood? Did you find Jamie sympathetic or predatory?

  • What actually happens in Ursula's bed when Evelyn and Jamie spend several days together and Evelyn seems to be living in a dream space? Did you feel like that dream space was restorative or dangerous?

  • What do you think was happening at the end and how did you feel about it?