Lying in Wait (Nugent) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. From the start of the book, we know respected judge Andrew Fitzsimons and his wife, Lydia, have murdered Annie Doyle. How does this narration style, starting with such a shocking event, affect your understanding of the story? How did you react to the first chapter?

2. Would things have turned out differently for Annie if she had been the pretty sister? Why or why not?

3. Lydia often says that everything she does is for Laurence, for his protection and his benefit. What are Lydia’s true motivations?

4. Consider each of the parent-child relationships in the book. Which parents are good parents in your opinion? How would things have been different for Laurence if his parents acted more like Bridget’s parents, or like Karen and Annie’s parents, or Helen’s mother?

5. How is Laurence’s sense of self affected by the way he views his father and his father’s death? How does this affect him as an adult?

6. What does Lydia's mother's red lipstick mean to her? Why does she put it on after Laurence tells her about Karen?

7. Dessie is obsessively protective of Karen; he tries to explain this as he fears that Karen will end up like Annie. How does Annie’s reputation continue to haunt her family?

8. How is marriage depicted in the novel? Are any of the marriages happy? Which marriages are affected by divorce being illegal in 1980s Ireland?

9. How is Lydia shaped by her sister’s death and her mother’s downfall? Why are reputations and appearances so important to Lydia?

10. Compare and contrast the two sister dynamics in the book: how are Lydia and Diana similar to Annie and Karen? What does being a sister mean to Karen? What does it mean to Lydia?

11. Lydia assumes all children are closest to their mothers. How does the novel prove or disprove her assumption?

12. What role does class play in Laurence's relationships? How much of that influence is inherited versus learned?

13. Laurence is very self-aware, but it takes him a long time to see his mother clearly. Why do you think that is? Why is it difficult for adult children to see their parents' flaws?

14. How did you react to the scene after Laurence and Karen's dinner with Lydia, the final events of the novel, and Part Three? Were you surprised by the final revelations?

15. Does Lydia get what she wants? Does she get what she deserves? Does anyone else? Why or why not?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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