Passenger (Lutz) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. Did you initially believe Tanya when she states that she had nothing to do with Frank’s death, and that he died simply after a fall down the stairs? How does your perception of Tanya’s innocence or guilt change throughout the course of the novel?

2. Did you find Tanya to be a reliable narrator? At which points in the novel did you trust her account of events, and at which points did you feel she was hiding all or some of the truth?

3. What techniques does the author use to ratchet up the tension and suspense throughout the novel? Discuss specific moments that were unnerving for you as a reader, and how the author kept you on edge. How did the author use humor to lighten the mood periodically?

4. Why does Amelia decide to trust Blue? Do you think that Blue ever trusts Amelia? Would you have trusted Blue if you were in the same position?

5. How much of Blue giving Debra Maze’s identity to Amelia is altruistic, and how much is malicious? Do you believe that Blue’s gift is intended to be a way out or a trap?

6. How do the emails between Ryan and Jo inserted throughout the novel help you to understand their relationship and what happened ten years ago? Why does Jo continue to communicate with Ryan, and why does she seem to trust him?

7. What does each new identity or potential identity represent to Tanya? What does Tanya’s ability to shift identities so easily say about her personality and her motivations, and in what ways does taking on a new identity change her? Discuss in particular the changes Tanya makes to her hair and makeup to make herself alternately more attractive or less attractive, and how these changes make her feel.

8. In Recluse, Wyoming, Debra comes close to making a life for herself as a small-town schoolteacher. What do you think would have happened if Jack Reed hadn’t appeared on her doorstep? Could Debra have ever lived a relatively normal life in Recluse? How do her actions there alter the course of her journey and her self-perception?

9. Violence toward women is a major theme of the novel. What sort of statement is the author making by presenting so many relationships where women have been abused or wronged, and what does it mean for these women to get revenge?

10. Discuss Tanya’s relationships with the men in her life: Frank, Domenic, and Ryan. Is she truly in love with any of them? Who does she reveal herself to, and why? How does Tanya use men and her sexuality to get what she wants?

11. Why does Tanya decide it’s so crucial for her to tell the police about Reginald Lee? Does her attempt to stop Reggie from committing a crime absolve her of any of her own transgressions?

12. Did you feel empathy for Tanya or any of her many alter egos? How did your feelings toward her fluctuate over the course of the novel? Did you ever feel that she went past redemption in your eyes, or did you root for her to succeed?

13. Why does Nora ultimately decide to go home? Were you surprised by what happens when she gets there?

14. What do you think happens to the characters after the novel is over? Do you think Nora will finally find peace?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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