Reading Group Guide

    Slaves of New York
    Tama Janowitz

    The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for discussion for Tama Janowitz's Slaves of New York. We hope that these ideas will enrich your discussion and increase your enjoyment of the book.
    Many fine books from Washington Square Press include Reading Group Guides. For a complete listing, or to read the Guides on-line, visit
    1. In "Modern Saint," how does the narrator's relationship with her wealthy father affect her decision to become a prostitute?
    2. In "Engagements," what is the connection between Ray's fetish for women's shoes and the apartment renovation?
    3. What statement does "You and the Boss" make about pop culture?
    4. In the story "Life in the Pre-Cambrian Era," Marley is very egotistic. Is this relevant to the content of his an, or just contingent on his being an artist?
    5. What does the cat symbolize in "Snowball"?
    6. Eleanor, the narrator of "Who's on First" states "more than ever, I realize everyone I know is just playing at being a grown up, I have to include myself." Explain this in relation to the story.
    7. In "Turkey Talk," what is the connection between art and food?
    8. In the story "Physics," how do random events lead the narrator to the decision to have a baby?
    9. Is the cat in the story "In and Out of the Cat Bag" the same as the cat in Snowball? What does it symbolize in this story?
    10. What characters in Slaves of New York interest you the most? Why?
    11. What themes connect these stories?
    12. Are relationships in New York more complicated than in other places? Why or why not?

About the Author