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A Partisan's Daughterby Louis de Bernieres
Reading Group Guide
1. What are the major themes of this novel? How does the idea of storytelling play into them?
2. How much did you know about Britain's Winter of Discontent (1978-79) before reading A Partisan's Daughter? Why do you think de Bernières chose this period for his setting?
3. We readers see Chris's wife (The Great White Loaf) only through his eyes. How do you imagine she would describe him?
4. Did you believe all of Roza's stories? Which, if any, strained your willingness to believe? Which one do you think is the centerpiece of the novel?
5. Discuss the notion of trust as it figures into the novel. Which characters are trustworthy? Do you trust either narrator?
6. What is the significance of the library scene? How did it change your understanding of Roza's actions?
7. Chris believes he's in love with Roza but acknowledges that his obsession is mostly sexual. Does Roza love Chris? Whose motives are clearer?
8. How does the narration, with its shifting time frames, contribute to your reading experience? Why do you think the author chose to allow both Chris and Roza to speak in Chapter Sixteen but kept their voices separate everywhere else?
9. In what ways are the novel's two father-daughter relationships similar, and how are they different? Which relationship seems stronger: the one between Roza and her father, or the one between Chris and his daughter?
10. Compare Alex, Francis, and Chris. How are their relationships with Roza similar, and how are they different? What does Roza expect or demand from each?
11. Along the same lines, compare Roza's relationship with Tasha with her relationship with Fatima. How do these two friendships shape Roza's personality?
12. On page 137, Chris finally tells a story of his own, about his uncle. What purpose does it serve? How does Roza's response show us how she feels about Chris?
13. What role does the Bob Dylan Upstairs play in the novel?
14. Why do you think Roza gave Chris and the Bob Dylan Upstairs different endings to the Big Bastard story? Which do you believe?
15. Discuss the last chapter of the novel. What were you expecting? What was most surprising to you? Were you satisfied with the ending?
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