margaret coel
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Winter's Child

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The Silent Spirit: Readers Guide

The Silent Spirit
  1. This is a novel about stories. Norma, the retired movie actor, says, "We are in the story business. We live on stories." Discuss the way in which stories drive different characters: For example, Kiki, his great-grandfather, Charlie, Will Redman.

  2. What are the ways in which the past influences the present, especially for Vicky and Father John? Are they free of the past? If not, why not?

  3. Discuss the title, The Silent Spirit. What are the possible meanings of the title within the story?

  4. Discuss the relationship between Father John and Vicky. How do they work together? What is it that makes them compatible and capable of solving a murder, both in the present and in the past?

  5. There are many characters in this story, both in the past and in the present. Did you find them realistic and believable? In what ways?

  6. Discuss the social mores portrayed in 1920s Hollywood, especially regarding the treatment of Indian people. How did they differ from those in the present?

  7. How does the landscape and the weather play into the story and affect the actions of various characters?

  8. Discuss the power of stories within the novel and the way in which stories can become real or predictive of what may actually happen. Do you think the power of stories is recognized more by the Native characters than by the white characters? If so, why?

  9. Discuss the relationship between Vicky and Adam? What do they have in common. Is it enough to sustain their legal or personal partnership?

  10. Discuss the way in which the elders are regarded in the story? How does the regard for the elders drive various characters' actions?