Book Club Questions

1) How has the Greek mythology of the Pleiades been woven into the narrative? How many of the anagrams and astronomical references did you spot throughout the story? Do you think it adds another dimension?


2) One of the themes of ‘The Seven Sisters’ is celebrating humanity’s great cultural achievements. In this instance, Heitor da Silva Costa with the design and construction of Christ the Redeemer. Do you think mixing historical fact with fictional characters brings these events to life?


3) How did gaining insight into Gustavo’s perspective change your opinion of him? How did it compare to Laurent’s perspective?


4) Bel’s father is socially ambitious to an extreme. How much of a driver do you believe this is in human nature in general?


5) Why do you think Paris in the 1920’s became the hub of art and literature, and the bohemian population flocked there from around the world? What kind of freedoms do the female characters enjoy in the Old World compared to the New?


6) Maia, like all her sisters, is adopted. Discuss the nature versus nurture aspect of the book, eg; are our personalities formed from birth, and if so, how much does our childhood environment impact on us?


7) Do you think it was morally correct for a single man to adopt six daughters from different parts of the world? In your opinion, are men as capable as women when it comes to nurturing and taking care of young children, especially females?


8) Has learning about the construction of Christ the Redeemer, and the hidden stories behind it, inspired you to learn more? Did you find history an interesting subject at school? Do you believe the way it is taught is effective?


9) The statue provides an important link between the past and present. How do this and other artefacts link Maia to the characters of the past? What kind of imagery and sensation does this evoke?


10) What similarities do you see in Maia and Bel’s characters? How has their upbringing affected the way they make decisions? What choices would you have made?


11) Pa Salt’s words, ‘Never let fear decide your destiny,’ hit a chord with Maia. How does she take on this advice during her time in Brazil and her relationship with Floriano?


12) 1920s Rio de Janeiro is marked by many class and racial tensions. How are the characters, such as Bel, Gustavo and Loen, trapped by their circumstances?


13) Duty is an important theme in the novel – how do you feel the characters negotiate with their sense of duty versus their own aspirations?


14) Maia eventually discovers the truth about her own past. Do you think in doing so she has achieved closure and is able to move on more effectively? In general, do you believe it is a healthy thing to know the truth of your birth? Or can it be damaging?


15) How do the characters express themselves through art and music and what kind of atmosphere does this create?


16) What kind of freedoms do the female characters enjoy in the Old World compared to the New?


17) ‘Even though we’d lived at different times, in different cultures, the underlying dilemmas had not changed at all, especially for women...’ How do you feel Maia and Bel’s stories reflect this?


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