Mariel Hemingway’s Book Club Pick!


  • Place is an outsized character in Loving the Dead and Gone. How is sense of place conveyed in the novel? Recall a scene where you felt it most.
  • How does rural insularity shape the novel and the choices available to its protagonists?
  • The stories we don’t tell people about ourselves often matter even more than the things we do say. What does this mean for the characters in Loving the Dead and Gone, in your own life?
  • Sometimes characters have to move backward in order to move forward. How did each character’s processing of their past shape their break from the bonds of the past?
  • Forgiveness and acceptance—of the self, of others—is a theme. How do they play out in the lives of the characters?
  • In some ways Aurilla is very much of her time; in other ways she seems quite progressive. How would you characterize her, and why?
  • Aurilla tells Darlene “Death can make you over if you let it.” What does she mean by this, and how does the advice relate to both of their lives?
  • How did accessing the inner lives of each character help explain their actions and path?
  • What surprised you most about the novel and why?
  • Are there lingering questions evoked by the book that you are still thinking about?