Heart Spring Mountain (MacArthur) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for HEART SPRING MOUNTAIN … then take off on your own:

1. Heart Spring Mountain considers the extent to which our ancestral past determine many of our actions and beliefs, basically who we are. As Aunt Deb says, our ancestors' lives form "blueprints for how to be in the world." Do you agree? How powerful is our heritage in forming who we are?

2. In the wake of hurricane Irene's devastation, Deb wonders what other natural catastrophes lay in wait for us in the coming years. Vale asks, "what, then, is the cure?" Does the novel provide an answer? Are there cures?

3. Deb comes to Vermont after having lived on a commune and filled with 1970s idealism. Now years later, is that idealism in any way flawed?

4. What does the novel suggest that we owe, if anything, to the land?

5. Were the shifts in time and voice difficult to follow for you? Does the author succeed in weaving together the disparate narratives into a whole?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: Describe the various characters—their quirks, personalities and challenges. Do you have a favorite section or character? Are some more compelling than others?

7. As Vale uncovers some of the family secrets, she wonders whether any of that knowledge, especially the family's Abenaki ancestry, might have made her mother less vulnerable to drugs. What do you think?

8. Consider Robin MacArthur's use of the storm—not just as a plot point but as a metaphor.

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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