Upcoming Appearances

March, 2023 No Name Book Club, Lexington, MA

April 22, 2023 The Speakeasy, Cambridge, MA

May 2023 Married Ladies Reading Club, Owensboro, KY

May 30, 2023 Brown Bag Series - Rainbow Life Long Learning Institute, Boston, MA

July 2023 Artist Workshop International, Assisi, Italy

July 2023 Blue Moose Cafe, Hebden Bridge, UK

August 2023 Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro, KY

Book Club Questions

1. One theme of the book is that art is for everyone. Do you agree or disagree, and why? What are some other themes of Chopin in Kentucky?

2. Marie narrates her story in first person. Do you think it would be more, or less, effective, if Marie's story were told in third person? Why do you feel this way?

3. Marie says she can't tell who is more liberated -- the successful, beautiful, entreprenurial Mrs. Swan, or her pioneer-woman, history-interpreting mother. What do you think, and why?

4. Chopin tells Marie, "In the end, our story is all we have." Do you think this is true? Why or why not? If true, how does this color the negative things that happen to us in life?

5. Marie is off to Paris, Kentucky at the end of the book. Are you happy with this resolution, or not? Why?

6. Marie describes Chopin as being "kind of like the Elvis of 150 years ago." What do Chopin and Elvis have in common? How are they different?

7. Who do you think will be happier in life as an adult, Misty or Marie? Why?

8. Are you glad when Chopin returns at the end? Why or why not?

9. Do you think Marie will succeed as a ballet dancer? Why or why not?

10. Marie's father is a difficult man who is at times abusive; he also has a traumatic brain injury that was never properly treated. Despite his character flaws, he teaches Marie about art, poetry, and classical music; he also re-connects Marie to Mrs. Swan toward the end of the novel. Do you think his character is redeemed in the end? Is he a sympathetic character overall? Why or why not?

11. Chopin in Kentucky explores a specific time and place as well as the lives of its characters. How is the setting also a character? How might the story be different if it were set in a different time and place?

12. This novel explores short form, as did Chopin with his preludes. Do you think the short chapters worked well for this story? Why or why not?

13. Do you think Chopin was real, a ghost, a shade, an anachronism, or simply a metaphor in this novel? Why?

14. Who is your favorite supporting character, and why?

15. Chopin in Kentucky contains excerpts of correspondence from both Chopin and several main characters in 1970's Kentucky. How were Chopin's letter's different than the others? How would correspondence excerpts be different if the novel were set in today's world?

16. Marie grows up listening to records on record players. What is your opinion on whether vinyl or digital recordings are better?

17. Why is Marie's future taking such a different direction than Misty's? How much does Marie's success rely on luck?

18. Marie feels guilty for leaving her siblings at home to fend for themselves. Do you think she does the right thing in returning to Roanville to live with Mrs. Swan?

19. What advice would you give to Marie, if you could?

20. Had you heard of Chopin before reading this book? If so, how did the book inform your impression of him? If not, did you or will you listen to his music?

21. What is your favorite scene in Chopin in Kentucky, and why?

22. Chopin in Kentucky has been called a "cross genre" book. What different genres are represented in the book? Which do you think is the primary genre of this book, and why? Is this book in your usual genre, or is it a departure for you?