Across a Narrow Strait Book Club Discussion Questions
WARNING!!! DO NOT READ THESE IF YOU HAVEN’T YET READ THE BOOK! They’re full of information you’ll want to discover for yourself.
- When Anna is twenty, she goes to France for the summer and happens to meet Alain. Then she goes back home to Vancouver and marries her fiancé, Jim. Why doesn’t she stay in Marseilles with Alain, as he asks her to? Is the decision credible, given who Anna is?
- Who is your favourite character? Why?
- How does being Katie’s older sister change Anna’s life?
- Anna and Alain are very different people. What draws them together? How does being with Alain “change” Anna?
- After Alain dies, when Anna is 55, she starts thinking about moving to Kingfisher Island. Her biggest concern is: What about Katie? What do you make of this?
- Discuss the theme of coincidence/destiny/free will that runs throughout the novel. Do you agree with Owen Meany that coincidence is “a stupid, shallow refuge sought by stupid, shallow people who were unable to accept the fact that their lives were shaped by a terrifying and awesome design—more powerful and unstoppable than The Flying Yankee.” (John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany.)
- “Sam watched his feet move in the calm water, slowly, from side to side, creating tiny ripples that radiated out, farther and farther, until they were no more. The water was a light cerulean blue by the dock, but became much darker in the distance, with more variation, because of the impurities dissolved in the deeper water. He thought about that, about how things look different farther away.” Discuss how perspective changes things in the novel, or in your own life.
- On Kingfisher Island, Anna becomes enthralled with wild birds and has several encounters with individual birds that verge on the mystical. What do you make of these?
- How much impact does place have on who we become? How does living on Kingfisher Island change how Anna’s experiences the world?
- Ironically, Anna feels freer than she’s ever felt as she lies on her cot in the Rosetta Harbour jail cell after the GreenGate Pipeline protest. How would you describe what’s happening to her?