Bitter Orange (Fuller) - 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 BITTER ORANGE … then take off on your own:

1. Discuss Frances as a character. How would you describe her when we meet her 20 years earlier?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: Frances recalls visiting the public restrooms at King's Cross just to be shocked by the graffiti on the walls. What does this say about her? Can you point to other details that illuminate Frances's character for readers?

3. Follow-up to Questions 1 and 2: What is it about Frances's personality and her past that make her particularly vulnerable to Cara and Peter?

4. Why might the author have decided to have Frances tell us the story twenty years away from the actual events? What difference does this narrative hindsight make?

5. What do you first make of Cara and Peter? At what point does your opinion of them change as the novel progresses? Talk about the past trauma that binds the couple to one another despite the fact that Peter is married to someone else.

6. Consider Cara and Frances. How, for instance, do Cara's younger years in Ireland, and her love of Italy as an expression of escape, fit together with Frances's experience of having her own potentialities clamped down?

7. Why does Frances fear her growing attachment to the couple? What makes her so apprehensive? And how is her worry ironic—given our own understanding (as readers)?

8. In what way are all three characters unreliable narrators? Who can you believe … or to what extent?

9. Talk about the supernatural elements in the novel. What do they add to the story?

10. Bitter Orange takes place in a crumbling country estate. Talk about how the house serves as a symbol for the larger society—or even, perhaps, for Cara and Peter themselves. Consider, too, the long-ago summer heat wave and its metaphorical role in the events of the novel.

11. Does Bitter Orange provide enough suspense to keep you turning pages? Were you prepared for the ending?

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

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