Reading Group Guide The Land of Women
1. Consider the language in the first paragraph. What do you learn about the characters and about the story?
2. Look at the opening quote, "Begin a voyage across the clear sea, / If you would reach the Land of Women." Recount the story of the Land of Women. What does it mean to you? Discuss whether it's a man's fantasy. Why do you think Regina McBride uses it here for her title?
3. What are your early impressions of Fiona? Think about her life story and discuss what kind of person she is. How does her relationship with her mother define her?
4. What are your impressions of Jane? What kind of relationship do mother and daughter have? Consider the openness of their relationship, and discuss which one is more maternal.
5. What is significant about the story of "the bog girl"? What was she holding in her hands? Why does the story fascinate Fiona? Do you think there is a connection, symbolic or otherwise, among "the bog girl," the orphanage, and Fiona.
6. Discuss McBride's use of memory. For example, consider the smell of Jane on the first page, Fiona's abandonment when Jane left to be with Ronan in Chapter 2, and Fiona's tactile feeling of sex in Chapter 15 -- "It amazes her, how love remains, hiding in her skin, flooding up from the cells..." How do these memories inform and enhance the story? Share some of your memories that bubble up from nowhere when you smell, hear, o