Synopses & Reviews
While her family thinks she is vacationing in Greece, Francesca Woodbridge, disguised as an elderly woman, checks into a local hotel just blocks from her home. Her motivation: to step outside of her life and discover who shot and seriously wounded her husband months before.
Reading Group Guide
1. Reviews of My Russian
have praised McNamer's portrait of Francesca as being one of "the most original" explorations of a woman's mid-life crisis in recent fiction. What are some of the elements that make her such an original creation?
2. "Who shot Ren?" is one of the central questions that carries the plot forward. Were you surprised to learn who did it?
3. Look back and examine the passages in which McNamer alludes to the possible culprits who shot Ren. How does she lead you to think it is someone other than the person it turns out to be while not technically "deceiving" the reader?
4. By the end of the novel, we learn who shot Ren and whether Francesca will assume a new identity or embrace her old one. What does Francesca learn by the end of the book?
5. What roles do the elements and the natural world play in this novel? How are they woven into the plot and themes of the book?
6. Many of McNamer's characters mark time with historical events; their lives and perceptions are changed significantly by some of these events. In what ways have the events she describes--or any of similar magnitude--altered your life or your outlook on life?
7. If Francesca decides to fake her death and assume a new identity, she will have to forfeit her role as a mother. Can you recall other novels, recent or historical, in which women entertain the possibility of "unbecoming" mothers, or in which women actually abandon their children?
8. Though Francesca's Russian gardener has a relatively small role in the actual text, why is My Russian an appropriate title?