Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss the symbolism of the herons.
2. Devanna becomes devoted to the study of medicine. How does Devanna's love of science benefit him and his loved ones? How does it hurt them?
3. People pay their respects to Goddess Kaveri, whose free spirit is embodied by the Kaveri River. They are duty-bound and devoted to something that represents freedom. Discuss other ways in this story in which the land frees characters and restrains them.
4. Just when Devi seems about to give up on life, she is inspired by the phrase "One must fight for happiness." How did Devi interpret this statement? Do you agree with her interpretation?
5. Machu wonders "Who truly is the hunter and who the hunted?" Discuss the ways each character is both hunter and hunted.
6. What do you think of the Reverend's relationship with Devanna?
7. How does Devi's differing attitudes towards her sons affect them?
8. Baby feels out of place with Appu's contemporaries and would rather stay home than attend the soirees at the Club. How does Baby and Appu's relationship mirror India's changing political and cultural landscape?
9. After years of searching, the rare bamboo flower is discovered, but Devanna decides not to claim it, realizing, "Some things were better left unspoiled." What does he mean?
10. It took Devi a lifetime to forgive. Do you think she should have done so earlier? Why or why not? How did this impact her life?