Twenty starting points.
- Why are birds so important in the book?
- There have been a number of comments about men being the suppressors of women in the book, but what about Dr Griffiths at St Andrew’s or Dr Delmas, whom Lucia repeatedly mentions? What about Lucia’s mother or other female – or male – characters in the book? Also, Augustine is dressed as a man. Why?
- What did you think about the way that Violet and Lucia spoke?
- As it asks in the book, ‘Did any of this really happen?’ Could it have? Aside from the facts!
- Why is imagination so important in the book?
- Did you believe that Lucia Joyce left St Andrew’s (if you didn’t know the facts of the story)?
- What picture of families does the book paint, do you think?
- Who did you think was most mad?
- Why does Violet do what she does in giving voice to Blanche and Violet and asking Lucia to be her scribe in her last days?
- What links would you personally make between the lives and treatment of the four women in the book and attitudes surrounding mental health problems and mental illness today?
- What did you like most about the book and what least?
- Did you recognize lines from works of literature woven in – lots of Joyce and some Beckett, but lots of others too?
- Did the book make you feel hopeful – or perhaps sad?
- If you are reading the book during lockdown, did you find anything in it to sustain you? For example, Violet’s idea that ‘those who are confined have the best imaginations’?
- Did you have any thoughts on the depiction of Violet’s religious faith?
- In what way is Lucia, ‘saved’?
- Do we have the right to retell – even as historical fiction – others’ stories, especially when those people have had their stories partly or fully hidden or silenced?
- Did you think Saving Lucia was funny?
- Why was Bertha Pappenheim – Anna O – included? She is not incarcerated like the other three women.
- Who was your favourite character and why?
Feel free to let me know your answers if you would like to share them.