- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Other titles in the Ballantine Reader's Circle series:
Monkey Hunting (Ballantine Reader's Circle)by Cristina Garcia
Reading Group Guide
1. What drives Chen Pan to leave China? What is he
2. How do the characters, particularly Chen Pan and
Lucrecia, navigate questions of identity and race?
What about Domingo? Does he end up trapped by his
3. What role does the fantastic play in the novel?
How do the various characters—Chinese, Cuban,
4. Why does Chen Pan buy Lucrecia? Does his buying
of her make him more or less sympathetic?
5. Why does Chen Pan go off to war to defend Cuba?
What are his feelings toward his fellow Chinese?
6. Why does Domingo go off to war? Discuss the
ironies of his being an Afro-Cuban-Chinese man fighting
for the U.S. against the North Vietnamese.
7. Compare and contrast how the fallout from the
Cuban Revolution and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
affects the characters lives.
8. Do you see an analogous colonialist relationship
vis-à-vis Cuba and the U.S. and Vietnam and China?
9. What effects do the shifts in character, setting, and
time period have on your experiencing and understanding
10. Why does Chen Pan tell his grandson to always
choose the difficult path? (Page 193.)
11. Does Chen Pan ever assimilate into the Cuban
culture? In what way is he a part of it? In what ways
does he remain an outsider?
12. Compare and contrast the ways that Chen Pan,
Pipo Chen, and Domingo ultimately are betrayed by
the promises of other homelands, and how they reconcile
themselves to this betrayal.
13. The author seems to be challenging fixed notions
of identity. How is this shown throughout the novel?
How have your thoughts regarding identity been
14. The women Chen Pan and Domingo love are
extremely disadvantaged in their relation to the men,
one being a slave, the other a prostitute. Discuss this.
15. How is sex depicted in the novel?
16. The middle part of the novel is titled, “Traveling
through the Flesh.” What does that signify, particularly
in the relationship between Chen Pan and
17. Do Chen Pan and Domingo change significantly
as a result of their life experiences? If so, how?
18. What happens to Chen Pan in the end? What
gives him immortality?
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like