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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears

1. What we learn in history classes and by watching movies is often misleading, generalized, or “incomplete.” How much did you really know about Italy and Sicily during and after World War II? Did this novel teach you something about that time and location?

2. What did you learn about Sicilian culture, attitudes and mind set? Do you think any of these might be typical of other “island” cultures? Why or why not?

3. Most of the movies and books available in English dealing with the Mafia are more contemporary and set in the United States. What was different about the Mafia in Sicily during this era? Why do you think the Mafia developed as it did and how has it changed since World War II?

4. The protagonist, Angela, was brought up by Sicilian parents and surrounded by Sicilian culture. Why didn’t she fit in with the culture she married into?

5. What attitudes and teachings in Angela’s upbringing did she have to overcome to accomplish her ultimate goal? How do her goals change over the course of the novel? Why?

6. Was the antagonist, Santino, a truly evil man or were there reasons for his actions?

7. What were Santino’s goals? Did they change during the course of the novel? Why or why not?

8. Did Antonio act honorably?

9. What were some of the “restrictions” on women during this era? How do you think those may have changed in the last fifty years?

10. Do men today still feel the same necessity to have a son? Generally, what differences do you see between the relationship between father and son and father and daughter, in that era and today? Are those relationships universal or cultural?

11. In what way are Angela’s emotions and reactions universal?

12. What role does Sicily itself play in this novel?

13. What do you believe is the “Moral of the story”?

14. Do you believe the title fits the novel? Why?

Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears
by R. A. Siracusa

  • Publication Date: February 29, 2008
  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press
  • ISBN-10: 1432715909
  • ISBN-13: 9781432715908