Reading Group Guide
1. The great American West is often romanticized in fiction. Did Love and Country change any ideas you previously held about this part of the country? Why does or doesn't the West appeal to you as a place to visit or to live?
2. One theme of Love and Country is how people learn, almost against their will, that they are not alone in the world. How do Kenny, Lenna, Roddy, and Cynthia come, each in his or her own way, to understand this?
3. Kenny's father, Kenneth Swanson, is largely absent from Kenny's life. Does Kenny think differently about his father after their shared hunting trip? How does Kenneth's death affect his son?
4. Discuss how changes in the weather and seasons emphasize—or counterpoint — the action of Love and Country
5. Roddy Moyers seems to have it all:a well-off family, local fame, freedom to be the "bad boy," and the admiration of women. Do you think he is satisfied with his life? Why or why not?
6. How is Lenna's love for her son revealed? Does her relationship with Roddy disprove her devotion to Kenny?
7. Why do you think Christina Adam's original title for this novel was Canada Geese? What do the geese flying overhead mean to Kenny (pages 13 and 206)?
8. Cynthia Dustin is a young woman yearning for escape from her family. How do you envision her future away from her community and from her father, Earl? What, if anything, will she miss about her former home?
9. How would you explain the intensity of the fight between Kenny and Earl? And why does Cynthia behave so tenderly toward Earl when he is in the hospital?
10. Christina Adam once said that Love and Country was a "group coming-of-age story." What do you think she meant?
11. Kenny dreams of being a great rodeo star. Many western communities enjoy showcasing ranch skills — and celebrating farm culture — during rodeos, but there are critics who claim that rodeos harm animals. Do you think rodeos are ethical and serve a purpose?
12. How does Love and Country speak to you of what Kim Barnes, in her appreciation of the novel, calls "the miracle of friendship across the boundaries of gender and age"?
Love and Country
- Publication Date: March 22, 2005
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books
- ISBN-10: 0316159409
- ISBN-13: 9780316159401