1. One of the themes of the book has to do with “moving on” in one’s life. Through Margaret, it explores the possibility of squandering a life, of never finding a purpose. Why do you think Margaret has stayed on in the town, on the street where she lives? How do you think her life changes over the course of her story?
2. When Ben tells Margaret he would like to believe in ghosts, that for the dead they might be a “kind of second chance,” she responds that she’d like to believe in second chances too. “But ghosts, Ben?” she says and gives him a pat. “Sometimes, you know, Ben, it’s too late.” What are your views on second chances? Do you think it’s ever too late for a second chance?
3. Do you believe Ben loved Margaret? Why do you think Margaret refuses his offer to go away with him? Do you think Margaret loves Ben?
4. Why do you think the author set the story in the early 1970s? What historical, technological, and cultural signs of that time can you find in the book?
5. Why do you think the author set the story in the Midwest? How does the physical landscape, the place in which a novel is set, affect the story? Are there passages in the novel that illustrate the relationship between story and setting?
6. What is the significance of the ghosts and Emmaline in the story?
7. How does the book’s structure, the way the story unfolds, affect the mood of the narrative? In what ways does the structure reflect the pervading themes?
8. Why do you think the book uses two narrators? What are the benefits and drawbacks of Margaret’s first-person narration? How do they compare with those of the book’s third-person narration?
9. What role does Margaret’s recurring dream play in the book? How does the dream evolve throughout the book? Is there a pattern to the changes?
10. What did you make of the ending? Were you surprised by it? Did it make sense, or did you find it too ambiguous? How do you interpret Ben's fate? What do you think will happen to Margaret after the book's story is over?