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1. How do past and present events shape Carey Halpern's identity? How does the alternating past/present structure affect your perspective as a reader?
2. How are cultural differences significant in the novel? What are some of your experiences of cultural difference or sameness?
3. Do you empathize with Ben Williamson's actions in Mexico? Why or why not? What about Mike Gibley's role?
4. Which character is the most sympathetic? The least?
5. The main characters -- Carey, Mike and Ben -- deceive one another at some point. Why? What are the consequences?
6. Guanajuato is like no place Carey has ever been before. What was most striking about the city to you? Have you ever traveled to such a different place, and what was it like?
7. The novel explores the unreliability of memory. What prevents Carey from fully understanding what happened to Ben?
8. How do Carey's parents help and hinder her recovery from Ben's death?
9. How are different methods of communication significant to the story?
10. What role does photography play in the novel?
11. What are the similarities and differences between the experience of the Americans in Mexico, and the Mexicans in Indianapolis? What about the relationships between Americans and Mexicans? Consider Carey's interactions with the Alarcón family in Mexico and the Morales family in Indianapolis. Also consider Ben's involvement with Mexicans, as well as his mother Lida's work in the Latino community.
12. Carey realizes that memories are difficult to maintain, and that we reconstruct them. What memories does she share that you begin to question? What about your own memories?
13. Thinking about citizenship, who has access to which places? How easy or difficult is crossing borders for different people?
14. Carey's grief transforms her. How so? What events in your life were transformative?
15. The novel is set on the cusp of the digital revolution. What are the advantages and disadvantages of email vs. letters, or digital photography vs. film/print?