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|The questions that
follow are intended to enhance your group's reading and discussion of
THE MIRRORED WORLD by Debra Dean
1. The novel opens with a striking dream. What is its portent?
2. Talk about Xenia as a child, a wife, and a widow. What adjectives
would you use to describe her? Was she too sensitive for the
difficulties of the material world? How does Xenia compare to her
sister, Nadya and her cousin, Dasha?
3. Talk about Xenia's relationship with her husband, Andrei. Can someone
love too much? Is love itself a form of madness?
4. What about Dasha and Gaspari's relationship? What are the most
important components of a successful marriage? Is passion necessary?
5. What are your impressions of life in eighteenth-century Tsarist
Russia? How does Debra Dean bring this time and place to life?
6. After Andrei's death, Xenia tells Dasha, "I have let people starve
that I might wear that lace. But I shall be naked before God." Was Xenia
right to feel guilty over her privilege while so many of her fellow
7. Is Xenia blessed by God, or is she mentally disturbed, driven mad by
inconsolable grief? Is it "crazy" for a person to give up all material
possessions as she did?
8. Was there anything that Dasha or anyone could have done to help Xenia
or was her transformation the true purpose of her life? Do you think
Xenia found peace in her transformation?
9. Compare the Tsarist Russia of Xenia's time with our world and our own
society. Despite the obvious differences, do you see any similarities?
10. How would a person like Xenia be viewed today? Is most of the modern
world too cynical to believe in miracles? Do you believe in miracles?
Xenia has become one of Russia's most revered saints. What makes someone
a saint? What do you think of Xenia?
11. What are the challenges and rewards of long friendship? Have you had
a friend who changed dramatically, and how did you handle that?