Forgetting Tree (Soli)

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Soli named her novel "The Forgetting Tree"? How does the meaning of the title relate to the characters in the book?

2. How does the Baumsarg citrus farm shape the characters in the novel?

3. How does the loss of Josh Baumsarg affect the family? Forster and Claire react differently. How do you feel about the way they chose to live their lives afterwards?

4. Describe Minna. What is it about her that makes such an impression on Claire and her daughters?

5. How does Claire view herself as a mother? Did this perception change after losing Josh? As her daughters have grown into adults? In what ways did Claire’s relationships with Gwen and Lucy evolve throughout the novel? What particular dynamics between parents and their adult children does Soli seem interested in exploring?

6. Describe Claire's relationship with her mother, Raisi, and her mother-in-law, Hanni. What life lessons does she learn from them? How does she pass these on to her own children? To Minna?

7. The novel is structured in four parts. Why do you think Soli chose this way to tell it? What do you think of this technique? Does it change the way you experience the story?

8. In Chapter 17, Claire “could no longer tell the difference between her white and Minna’s black” What does she mean by this, and how does this suggest a theme of the novel?

9. Does knowing Minna’s past absolve her from responsibility to Claire? Do you think she overcomes these motivations by the end of the novel?

10. Jean-Alexi states that the “lost got to help the lost in this world.” In what ways are Claire and Minna lost? In what ways do they help each other out of this state? In what ways do they fail?

11. Why does Claire eventually let the farm go? Do you think this is a good or bad thing?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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