Reader guide for ISLAND?

Now, most of you won’t have even glimpsed an ARC of Island of the Mad yet.

But Random House would like to do a discussion guide at publication, and since some of you will have scored an early read, I thought you might help me crowd-source the guide.

So: as you read, did anything in particular catch your eye that you wonder about, that you’d like to talk about, that left you curious for more…?

(And maybe avoid any actual plot spoilers in your suggestions, both for Mutterings readers and because we wouldn’t use those, anyway.)

Thank you!





  1. Karen Buys on April 13, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Things I’ve looked up: Cole Porter, Linda Porter and their relationship; Benito Mussolini and Ida Dalser; geography of Venice; histories of insane asylums and plague asylums; architecture of Venice

    Themes to be explored: Masks and masques – both literal and figurative; Music of Cole Porter; queer history; rise of and appeal of fascism/nationalism; exploration of marriage/partnerships

  2. MarjorieofConnecticut on April 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    There are so many possible themes to explore, but I am not sure that any them wouldn’t create spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. (And they should read it because it’s so very good.) But for post-reading I agree with what Karen suggests. Venice is a very important character in the book.

  3. Elisabeth on April 24, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    How did Fascism come about/why did people support it
    How did Mussolini succeed
    The Scopes trial
    Rights and visibility of women and LGBTQ in society

  4. Dawn Smith on May 14, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    How do the different social classes alleviate boredom?
    What empowers the courage to speak up?

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