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The Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing

A Novel

  • reading group guide
As a child, the flamboyant, brooding, and beautiful Rozzie was always the star of her family -- especially in her younger sister Jemma's eyes. So when Rozzie takes up acting and, as a teenager, wins a part in a major motion picture, life changes irrevocably for both sisters. Rozzie is catapulted into the chaotic adult world of celebrity while Jemma travels to movie sets and relishes her sister's fame -- never seeing the strain that the spotlight puts on Rozzie. Soon Jemma develops her own artistic ambitions as a photographer, and Rozzie is forced to reveal the secret she has kept from her family for years -- a rare eye condition that threatens her vision. Only then does Jemma begin to see the truth about her sister and herself -- a reality that threatens the delicate balance of their relationship.

A moving and profound story about family, celebrity, envy, and ultimately love, The Art of Seeing is a brilliant exploration of the powerful and enduring connection between sisters.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743228367 | 
  • May 2007
List Price $14.00
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Reading Group Guide

The Art of Seeing by Cammie McGovern
Reading Group Guide
Summary:
The Art of Seeing chronicles the intricately woven lives of two sisters: plain and responsible Jemma, and flamboyant, brooding, beautiful Rozzie. Their complex dynamic is tested and strained when Rozzie is suddenly thrust into a career as a Hollywood actress. Self-doubting Jemma toils as a fledgling photographer, drifting in and out of school and often accompanying Rozzie on exotic film shoots. As Jemma struggles with her work and relationships, Rozzie is gradually forced to reveal a secret she has kept from her family for years -- she is losing her eyesight. Finding herself in an unusual position of power, Jemma begins to take charge of her life and Rozzie's with a series of actions that threaten to undo their already fragile bond.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Why does art play such an important role in the novel? In what ways does art define life for Jemma and Rozzie?
2. Jemma says: "Anecdotes about the rich and famous make people cough into their fist or refold a napkin, staring into their lap. For a while I couldn't figure out why..." (p. 22). What is it that makes these people uncomfortable? How does society respond to fame in the novel?
3. How does Rozzie's fame affect the way Jemma sees herself and others? How does fame diminish those who are famous and the people around them? How does it build them up? Matthew's father is a famous writer. He see more

About the Author

Cammie McGovern
Photo Credit:

Cammie McGovern

Cammie McGovern was a Stegner Fellow and received the Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. Her fiction has been published in Redbook, Seventeen, Glimmer Train, TriQuarterly, and other journals. She is the author of a second novel, Eye Contact. Please visit www.cammiemcgovern.com.

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