“We try to teach them Greek tragedy,” thought Amelia, “we restage The Trojan Women and they have their own references, imbibed with mother’s milk: the victim/survivor flanked by spokesman/handler, surrounded by a supportive crowd of witnesses, all addressing themselves to some camera somewhere, and yet to themselves.”
FAQs to get your group talking
Who is the Truth Teller? Is there more than one? How does she come by her insights?
What is eccentricity and why can we not accept it?
Are the Dead Ladies really dangerous? What makes them act the way they do? Is girl violence different than any other kind?
Where are the parents? Why don’t they figure in the story?
More ideas to consider
“The Greeks needed their myths. And so do we. Reality is too complicated, and there is too much of it.”
— Francesca Morrow
What myths do students at the Manor believe in, and what myths do they blow up?
The novel examines a long passionate partnership and its collapse. “What did one do when a marriage, when the postures … that had so defined one’s life, collapsed?”
Such marriages are rare. Are they to be desired? Or do the partners become victims of the bond itself? Will Francesca reinvent herself after the loss of Dugald and the Manor?
What role does Meryl, Dugald’s first wife, play in the novel? What differences exist between Dugald’s two marriages?
The Truth Teller is an ode to dedicated teachers who we love, despite their flaws. There are other fictional examples, for instance, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. Did a particular teacher help shape you in the way Dr. Laird and Miss Morrow did their students? Do schools like the Manor still exist? If not, what prevents them?
What do you think?
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