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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

A. D. 62: Pompeii: A Novel

1. Why does Miranda feel so out of place in the modern world? What is she looking for at the beginning of her journey?

2. If you could escape to another time, or another place - what era, or what culture, would you choose? Why?

3. Early in the story, Demetrius becomes Miranda's informant and guide. Did their relationship develop in the way that you expected?

4. Why is the cutting off of Miranda's hair significant? How does this event help to establish her status in the household, and her relationships with other women in the household?

5. Miranda struggles with two issues in her relationship with Marcus: the slave/ master relationship involves intimacy, but it also involves an extreme inequality of power. How does she feel about this inequality? What other kinds of relationships involve inequalities of power along with intimacy? What relationship problems arise when there is an inequality of power?

6. Did you feel that this story ignored or minimized many of the problems of slavery? (Another time travel novel about slavery is Olivia Butler's "Kindred"; the heroine of that novel has much more painful experiences as a slave).

7. In many respects this novel is a "fairy tale for grownups", that is, it uses storytelling conventions that are familiar from childhood fairy tales. What features of this story reminded you of fairy tales?

8. There are numerous stories within this story. How does the story of Dick Whittington's Cat foreshadow events in Miranda's own life? What messages does Miranda try to convey when she tells her master the Hans Christian Anderson story of The Nightingale? The legend of the Selkies? Is Marcus always receptive to these messages? Could you think of other stories that might have served Miranda's purposes better, or perhaps guided events in different directions?

9. What thematic repetitions occur in the story? (For example, what types of rings are used throughout the story to symbolize different types of relationships? In what ways is Miranda a "daughter of Neptune"?)

10. In the end, did Miranda find what she was searching for? Is she ambivalent about her decision? Did the end of the story seem natural to you? Why or why not? What choice would you make, if you were in Miranda's situation?

A. D. 62: Pompeii: A Novel
by Rebecca East

  • Publication Date: February 7, 2003
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: IUniverse
  • ISBN-10: 059526882X
  • ISBN-13: 9780595268825