This reading group guide for Nora Webster includes an introduction, 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.
Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín’s superb eighth novel introduces the formidable, memorable, and moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, iron-willed, clinging to privacy in a tiny community where everyone knows everyone else’s business, Nora is drowning in her sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons. Even so, Nora finds moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, and a haven. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. The novel opens with Nora discussing her intrusive visitors with her neighbor Tom O’Connor (p. 1). How does this set the tone for Nora Webster
? What is your first impression of Nora?
2. What motivates Nora to sell the house in Cush? Is she just taking advantage of Jack Lacey’s off