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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

1. What did you most connect with about the book?
2. Let’s start at the beginning. The story of how Ernest journeys from China to the U.S. is pretty incredible. What did you think about his mother’s decision and do you think she could have made a different choice?
3. Ernest’s daughter Juju, a reporter, discovers that Ernest was the child she’d read about who was auctioned off at Seattle’s World’s Fair. What do you think it must have been like for Ernest to revisit those memories and get honest about his past?
4. This book shows us how families and friendships can blossom in all environments. Ernest finds his family in a brothel. Why do you think he’s happy there?
5. The book describes a familial world that existed among the prostitutes and staff who worked and lived at the Tenderloin. Is there an intersection between prostitution, personal agency, and feminism? Or are these mutually exclusive concepts?
6. The early suffrage movements in the U.S. all took place in what were regarded as frontier territories in the west. Why do you think the trends of suffrage and vice emerged at the same time, in the same places? (Like Wyoming, where women first got the vote in 1869).
7. At the Tenderloin (and in the character of Turnbull) we see wealthy, successful men breaking rules and social conventions. Is there a modern analog? Are wealthy men today able to live above and beyond the margins of law and civil discourse and if so, who, and how are they able to get away with such behavior?
Madam Flora and Miss Amber have a unique relationship. Do you see this as one born of love, of shared business interests, or a bit of both?
9. Speaking of business interests, do you see Madam Flora and Miss Amber as two people exploiting young women, or benefiting them?
10. This book is about the power of friendship and love. Ernest falls in love with both Fahn and Maisie and for much of the book, the reader is wondering whom Ernest will ultimately end up marrying. Did he make the right choice? Why or why not?
11. This book is also about finding your place in the world. Do you think Ernest, Fahn and Maisie ultimately find themselves? And are they happy with their choices in the end?
12. Can you see this book being made into a film or TV show?

Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford

  • Publication Date: June 19, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0804176779
  • ISBN-13: 9780804176774