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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

A Secret Kept

by

A Secret Kept Cover

ISBN13: 9780312593315
ISBN10: 0312593317
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
Book club questions

1) Discuss the different narrative structures employed in A Secret Kept.  What do you think the author intended to achieve with each? Do you prefer one over the others? 

 

2) How does the author describe the classic, wealthy 16th arrondissement of Paris-where Blanche Rey's apartment and the avenue Kleber one are located-as opposed to where Antoine lives, on the Left bank?  What does this tell you about the Rey family?

 

3) Part of the novel takes place on Noirmoutier Island which is connected to the west coast of France by the Gois Passage.  Why is Antoine so attached to Gois Passage?  Do you see any parallels between the author's descriptions of this place and the story as a whole?

 

4)  What was your impression of Antoine at the beginning of the book?  What about at the end?  Over the course of the novel, how does he change and what does he learn about himself?

 

5) Discuss the different themes and imagery of death that come up in the novel and that Antoine has to face. Did you find them morbid? Or realistic?

 

6) Did you like the character of the sexy, streewise mortician Angèle Rouvatier?  What makes her different from other heroines and what do you think she represents?  In what ways does she have a hand in the changes in Antoine's character?

 

7) François and Antoine Rey are two opposite personalities, as fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.  Discuss specific differences you see.  Do you believe Antoine will ever get through to his father?  What exactly do you think François knows about Clarisse, her life, her death?

8) Clarisse Rey is the invisible woman of this book.  Yet her letters, photos, and the film that Antoine watches at the end, as well as Gaspard's confession, gradually expose her. What kind of woman was she?  What do we learn about her? Compare her to Angèle, Melanie, and Astrid.

 

9) How do Melanie and Antoine react differently when they discover the truth about their mother and her death?  Why do you think that Melanie chooses not to remember?  Do you think you would react more like Melanie or Antoine?

 

10) This novel explores taboo subjects and family secrets in a conservative French bourgeois society.  Discuss those subjects and whether they would be taboo if the novel were set in the USA.  What do you think really happened the day Clarisse went to confront Blanche?

 

11) Do you personally believe that family secrets should be revealed or hidden forever? In cases like the novel's, do you think the truth is more painful than lying?

12) If you have read Sarah's Key-also by de Rosnay-can you point to any themes that are found in both books?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

booklover58, January 15, 2011 (view all comments by booklover58)
I loved this book. It is rich with betrayal and sexuality. Even though the ending was not a complete surprise,I savored every word until I reached the end.
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readersrespite, September 23, 2010 (view all comments by readersrespite)
This was a lovely story, really. Antonio and his sister Melanie embark on a personal journey to discover family secrets surrounding their mother's death when they were young children. Interlaced in this primary plot is Antonio's personal journey as he recovers from a faithless wife, resultant divorce and angry teenage children.

The book, however, could have easily been a hundred pages shorter. Antonio's angst over his divorce and his resultant low self esteem were reiterated at least a hundred times (over and over and over) throughout the book. The plot itself was quite intersting and kept me very involved in the story....it just got tiring having the same ideas (Antonio's midlife crises, the Rey family money and ego, etc, etc) pounded into my head.

This author really is quite talented, though and her plots are always consistently interesting for each of her books.

I'd recommend this only if you a big fan of this author (Sarah's Key was a lovely story, too) or don't mind repetitive ideas. Perhaps a decent read for a longer plane ride would be a good plan.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312593315
Author:
Rosnay, Tatiana De
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Author:
Vance, Simon
Author:
de, Tatiana
Author:
De Rosnay, Tatiana
Author:
Carr, Jane
Subject:
Contemporary Women
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20150428
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
7 Cds, 9 hours
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

A Secret Kept Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312593315 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The long-delayed resolution of a French family's mystery electrifies de Rosnay's (Sarah's Key) glimpse at the crushing cost of keeping secrets. Parisian architect Antoine Rey and his sister, Mélanie, celebrate her 40th birthday on the island where they vacationed as children with their mother, until she died there in 1974. Upon returning, Mélanie is gripped by a shocking repressed memory and loses control of the car. After a brief spell of amnesia, she tells her brother what it was she remembered: their mother had been in love with a woman. As a skeptical Antoine investigates this twist in their mother's past, an upsetting chain of events unfurls: his daughter's best friend drops dead of a heart condition at only 14 years of age; his teenage son is arrested; and he learns that his father is dying of cancer. Antoine gets support in his quest from a new lover, a Harley-riding mortician who teaches him how respecting death helps one to embrace life. This perceptive portrait of a middle-aged man's delayed coming-of-age rates as a seductive, suspenseful, and trés formidable keeper. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , Already an international bestseller, the latest novel by the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "Sarah's Key" plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present. By turns thrilling, seductive, and destructive, "A Secret Kept" is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.
"Synopsis" by ,
This stunning novel plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present.
"Synopsis" by ,

Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanies birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island , where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach.  It had been too long, Antoine thought, since theyd returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased.  But the islands haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer.  When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.

Trapped in the wake of a family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children.  How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself?  Suddenly fragile on all fronts - as a son, a husband, a brother and a father - Antoine Rey will soon learn the shocking truth about his family and himself.

By turns thrilling and seductive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family and the invisible ties that hold it together.

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