Map of Ireland
In this ambitious and arresting novel, Stephanie Grant's searing prose, powerful storytelling, and richly drawn characters bring tumultuous moment in American history into perfect focus.
Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
Map of Ireland opens with an epigraph by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “Geography is fate.” How does this apply to Ann Ahern? Is she able to escape her geography or her fate in the novel?
- Ann says, “If I was a certain kind of person, I’d blame my troubles on the desegregation itself. I’d blame my being stuck here on those stupid yellow buses and the violence they seemed to bring” (4). Which characters in Map of Ireland would blame their troubles on desegregation? Do you think Ann takes personal responsibility for her crime? Why or why not?
- Consider Ann’s family situation. What kind of example does each parent set for Ann? Who, if anyone, in Ann’s life serves as a positive role model?
- Ann rants silently, “The sixties are over… you missed it, don’t you realize?” (42) How does the year 1974 influence Ann’s attitude? What about Rochelle’s? If the revolutionary energy of the 1960s continued into the 1970s, when did the 60s really end? Is there a particular moment in American history that signals or represents that end to you?
- Ann explains to Mademoiselle Eugenie, “‘They say I have a face like the map of Ireland…. You can tell where I’m from just by looking at my face’” (60). Why do you suppose Gr