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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Tiare In Bloom

1. Tiare in Bloom is a novel built around relationships — between husbands and wives, fathers and children, family members near and far, and friends. Which relationship did you find the most compelling? Were any reminiscent of the relationships in your life?

2. We watch many men transform and mature throughout the novel. Can you identify a turning point for each male character? What made Tamatoa take responsibility for his daughter, or Ati reclaim his life? Why did it take a grandchild to make Pito see the error of his ways?

3. Tiare, the author tells us, is Tahiti's national flower. What is the significance of Tamatoa's daughter's being named Tiare? Why do you think the author chose the title Tiare in Bloom?

4. How would you describe the author's writing style? Did you find anything striking or unusual about the way the story unfolds? Can you think of any moments in the book where the voice is deceptively simple?

5. Tiare in Bloom is told from both Materena's and Pito's point of view. Talk about the differences and similarities in each character's attitude and voice. How do Pito's chats with his male friends differ from Materena's conversations with the women on her radio show? Whom do you identify with more?

6. At one point in the novel, Materena and her friends confess the crazy things they've done for love — dyed their hair blond, walked twenty kilometers to see a man, sneaked out of a bedroom window at night, given up a favorite pastime. What's the craziest thing you've done for love? Was it worth it?

7. What lessons do you draw from Pito in the novel? And from Materena? Think of these characters in terms of both their individual qualities and the ideals they represent.

8. In the chapter "Breathing like you want," Materena speaks about what it means to be a Tahitian. Did you find any of these things surprising or, in your opinion, particular to a Tahitian way of life? Are these qualities you had expected Materena to point out? How would you describe your heritage or culture?

9. What do secondary characters such as Leilani, Ati, and Lily bring to the story? What do you think the author is hoping to show through each of these characters?

10. What did you know about Tahiti before reading Tiare in Bloom? How does the novel change or shape your understanding of Tahitian culture?

Tiare In Bloom
by Célestine Vaite

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2007
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316114677
  • ISBN-13: 9780316114677