The following discussion questions for A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
1. A Fortunate Age
chronicles the lives of a group of friends in their late twenties struggling to carve out careers in the arts and stay afloat financially while feeling an unexpected pull to get married, have children, have some of the comforts with which they’d grown up. Talk about some of the pivotal moments in your own starting-out years and how Joanna Smith Rakoff captures similar moments in the novel.
2. How does the time period in which the novel is set affect the lives of the characters? Describe the shift that happens after the fall of the dot-coms and after the 9/11 attacks on New York City.
3. Discuss how the New York setting, particularly Brooklyn, shapes the novel. What was happening in Brooklyn at this time? Do you think this story is unique to New York or is it universal?
4. Do you think Smith Rakoff was influenced by the great Victorian novels? If so discuss the books, the writers, and the ways in which their influence is apparent in Smith Rakoff ’s work. What are some of the common themes?
5. While the main characters are all in their starting-out years, the parents of the characters play a significant r