This reading group guide for In the Shadow of the Cypress includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Thomas Steinbeck. The suggested questions 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. Introduction
The mysterious discovery of ancient jade artifacts on California’s Monterey Peninsula indicates an Asian presence in the New World much earlier than previously thought. The idea is breathtaking, and dangerous, as three disparate people find when attempting to bring this information to light across the course of a century.
Beginning with the 1906 journals of a Stanford professor of Marine Biology and ending with the high-tech, deep sea search of a brilliant and determined student in present time, Steinbeck vividly depicts the tense confrontation of science and tradition against a vibrant backdrop of Chinese-American life throughout the twentieth century. Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Which narrative style did you feel was most effective in relaying the mystery of the jade artifacts: Doctor Gilbert’s first person journal entries or the third person Dr. Lao-Hung and Luke’s stories are tol