Questions for Discussion
1. The author uses different narrators to piece the story together. How does this technique affect the reading of the story?
How would the story be different if Jen was a narrator? What if Ellen was a narrator?
2. Kay narrates the prologue, telling her version of what happened that night on the bridge. Does this add to our sympathy for her?
Does this become the "true" version of the events that transpired?
3. David is idealized by almost everyone in the story in different ways. How do the characters see him?
Do we ever get a clear view of him?
4. Michael says, "Both of us wanted her from the beginning." Is Kay aware of Michael's desire? Is this sibling rivalry limited to their
relationship with Kay? There are many stories of destructive sibling rivalry, beginning with Cain and Abel. Discuss the types of
conflict inherent in sibling relationships.
5. At certain points in the story, Michael explodes with rage. At one point Michael asks, "How could you want someone that much and
hate them all at once?" Is this the reason he lied to his father and then at the trial? Are there other reasons?
6. As his sons enter adolescence, Kevin begins to view Kay as a threat. Jen doesn't see it that way. How and why do their reactions
differ? Why is Ellen also seen as a threat?
7. Kevin says, "My lie supported a greater morality." How does Kevin's idea of what is moral differ from Jen's? Is Kevin's lie
8. How have the events surrounding David's death affected Kevin and Jen's relationship? What causes a family to break apart rather
than draw together after a tragedy like this?
9. Michael and Kay come together years later and Michael tells her what really happened on the bridge. What is her reaction? How
would this knowledge have helped Kay?
10. All of the narrators feel terrible guilt for what happened to David. How does each of them deal with it? Do they ever find peace?
Award Winning Novelist