This reading group guide for The Night Swimmer includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. 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.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. At the beginning of The Night Swimmer
, Elly says that when she looks back at her time in Ireland she is ashamed. Why does Elly believe she is to blame for what happened? Do you think the blame should rest entirely on her? How do feelings of guilt and shame motivate the characters in The Night Swimmer
2. Elly reflects on the early days of her marriage: “By the time we were married I would begin to miss Fred almost the instant he would leave my sight. . . . Fred had such passion for me, for everything. I fed on it and became addicted to it” (pp. 98–99). Discuss the nature of Fred and Elly’s relationship. Do you think it is healthy? Why do you think their relationship is so intense? What ultimately draws them to each other?
3. What were your initial reactions to Fred? Do you find him sympathetic? Likable? When describing him in graduate school, Elly portrays him as being quarrelsome and grandiose. Can you understand why Elly fell in love with him? Why or why not? Discuss the change in his pers