The Sandpiper Discussion Questions

  1. How does the prologue’s opening with the Viet Nam War affect you?
  2. Do you find any foreshadows in the prologue? If so, what?
  3. Water plays a thematic role in The Sandpiper. Can you give some examples?
  4. Why do you think Chapter 1 begins in April? And why in the desert? Does it remind you of anything from Chaucer? T.S. Eliot?
  5. Sibling rivalry is accepted as a normal fact of human behavior. Could you relate to any of the conflicts between Kate and Jamie?
  6. How much did Jamie’s PTSD have to do with her alcoholism? Would she have become an alcoholic/addict had that not happened?
  7. Politically and personally, abortion is a highly sensitive and divisive topic. How did you feel it was dealt with in the novel?
  8. Do the literary allusions enrich the novel or distract from the story?
  9. If someone asked, what would you say The Sandpiper is about?
  10. How important is the setting?
  11. Do any of the main characters change through the course of the novel? If so, who? How do they change?
  12. Why did the writer tell the story from the two sisters’ points of view? Why not from Aunt Nina’s?
  13. Did you learn about anything you didn’t know before you read The Sandpiper? If so, what?
  14. What does Pogo contribute to the plot?
  15. What did you think about the ending?
  16. Would you be surprised the author is writing a sequel?
  17. Would you want to read it or did you like the ending as it is?
  18. What is the significance of the novel’s title?
  19. Did The Sandpiper affect your attitude toward people who have alcoholism and/or addiction? If so, how?
  20. What did you find out about infertility you didn’t know before?