Saturday, June 20, 2009

Discussion Questions for The Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin

1. Several of the main characters in the novel are said to be on a pilgrimage – how is that reflected in their stories?

2. Why do you think the author decided to tell Elizabeth and Anthony's stories in two different voices?

3. What is the significance of the title of novel – discuss the role of Alchemy in the book

4. 'I loved you because you were the nearest thing I ever had to a son.' Discuss the role of uncles and surrogate fathers within A Secret Alchemy.

5. What do you think of Una's realization that there's only one way to get at the real, human truth of Elizabeth and Anthony?

6. How does the ancient Greek myth of Jason work within the story?

7. Discuss the ideas of storytelling, myth, fact and fiction in A SECRET ALCHEMY. Marriage and relationships are central to A SECRET ALCHEMY. Discuss the ways in which such partnerships are portrayed.

8. Discuss the idea of unrequited love in the novel.

9. How does the interplay of fact and fiction enliven the novel?

10. What did you think of the ending? Would you have liked it to end differently?

11. What other books would you compare this to? What books would you recommend to other readers who have enjoyed this book?

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