Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Misfortune: A Novel

1. Could the events narrated in Misfortune happen in the present day? The world described in the novel is an exaggerated one, but would it have been any easier to bring a boy up as a girl in the nineteenth century than it would be now?

2. Are Geoffroy and Anonyma sympathetic characters? Could/should they be?

3. “The message of the book is the radical notion that we should empathize with others, however odd, and that this would make the world a better place.” (This statement is drawn from Monica Kendrick’s review of Misfortune in the April 8, 2005, issue of the Chicago Reader.) Do you agree? What might our world look like, in that case?

4. Of what other works does Misfortune remind you? How do you react to the mixing of postmodern devices, contemporary mores, and Dickensian style that characterizes this novel?

5. While Rose’s experience of adolescence could not be called typical, Misfortune makes much of self-discovery and the glory of a person coming into her own. In what ways is this story familiar? What observations does this novel make about adolescence, and about self-realization?

6. particular writer is referenced in the name of the second section: I Am Reborn. Who is this and why?

7. How would Misfortune be different if it weren’t, in part, a rags-toriches story? In what ways would the drama of the story change?

8. How did you react to Misfortune’s full-circle ending?

Misfortune: A Novel
by Wesley Stace

  • Publication Date: April 10, 2006
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316154482
  • ISBN-13: 9780316154482