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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Postmistress of Paris

1. THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS has at its heart the story of a Chicago heiress who, instead of fleeing France after Hitler invaded, chose to stay. What do you think motivated her? Can you imagine doing what she did yourself?

2. Another main story arc in this novel is that of prominent artists and writers who were interned by the French even before Hitler invaded the country. Was that a surprise to you?

3. The French interned these artists and writers on the excuse that they might be spies for Hitler even though they were Jewish refugees who had had to flee the Reich? Do you think this excuse was sincere? Do you see any parallels in today’s immigration policies in the U.S. or elsewhere?

4. THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS takes readers from Paris to Amboise, Dinard, Chenonceaux, Marseille, Sanary-sur-Mer and the Pyrenees. Which would you most like to visit?

5. Did you love Dagobert?

6. THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS is told from three points of view: Nanée, Edouard and Luki. Did you like any of these narrators better than the others? Why do you think the author chose to use three different points of view, and why these three?

7. The story is inspired by the efforts of Varian Fry and those like Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with him, to rescue prominent artists and writers from Nazi-occupied and Vichy France. Why do you think the author chose to tell a fictionalized version of the story rather than a straight history?

8. The novel is rich with Surrealist art, and especially surrealist photographs. Which did you find the most fascinating? The most evocative? Which, if any, would you like to own?

9. The novel raises the question why any one life --- like that of an artist --- ought to be valued above any other. What do you think?

10. Edouard and Luki are forced by circumstance first to flee Germany for Austria, then Austria for France, then France for the United States. If you put yourself in their shoes, what do you think would be the hardest part of leaving your own home?

11. Edouard’s single photo called Nude Bending, The Ghost Wife and Salvation echoes again and again throughout THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS. What did you see in it, and did you think of it as one or the other?

12. Several other physical things pop up every now and then throughout the novel: Nanée’s fur cuff bracelet, her suit, and Luki’s baby Kangaroo, which goes missing. What did you make of these?

13. Did the ending of the story ring true? What do you imagine happened in the years that followed?

The Postmistress of Paris
by Meg Waite Clayton

  • Publication Date: October 11, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062946994
  • ISBN-13: 9780062946997