Gone So Long (Dubus) - 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 GONE SO LONG … then take off on your own:

1. Did you find the number of Susan's flashbacks in the beginning of the novel confusing—perhaps trying to determine whether they were part of her novel or actual flashbacks? If so, did you finally settle in? Why might the author have used the technique—juxtaposing the two kinds of memories (some part of the novel and others in real-time)?

2. Have you ever experienced the types of flashbacks that Susan has, both in terms of the emotional content as well as the serial nature of them (one flashback leading to another)?

3. What do you think of Danny Ahearn? He's a murderer who killed his wife and the mother of his child. Does he deserve our sympathy? Does he deserve his daughter's and mother's-in-law sympathies?

4. It's forty years after Danny murdered Susan's mother. Talk about the lasting impact that trauma has had on Susan's life, both as a child and as an adult.

5. Follow-up to Question 4: Talk similarly about Lois, Susan's maternal grandmother and the mother of Linda. How has she dealt with her daughter's death over the years?

6. One of the primary questions this novel asks is whether redemption and forgiveness (is there a difference?) can ever come out of an act as horrific as Danny's?

7. Talk about the ending? What, if anything, is resolved? What is your opinion of how the novel ends?

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

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