Reading Group Guide Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart
1. Lake of Sorrows
opens with a graphic scene: a young man sinking and eventually drowning in a bog. After reading the whole story, can you be certain of the young man’s identity, or is it still ambiguous? What does the opening chapter foreshadow about rest of the book?
2. The industrial bogs of the Irish midlands provide a most unusual atmosphere in this novel. The bog has played many roles in Irish history, as a place of spirituality, mystery, and commerce. What does this unique environment contribute to the story? What elements of the bog landscape can you see reflected in the psychological development of the characters?
3. The bog has often functioned as hiding place for secret treasure. Many of the characters in Lake of Sorrows
have hidden or buried physical objects, or intangible things such as their personal history or emotions. Can you think of examples? Which are revealed in this novel, and which still remain buried at its conclusion? What do the things people hide reveal about them as characters?
4. Sacrifice is one of the major themes in Lake of Sorrows
. The bog that was once a mysterious place of sacrifice in ancient times is being sacrificed in modern times to generate electricity. In what other ways do ideas about sacred offerings and sacrifice still resonate in the characters’ daily lives?
5. Nora wishes she could se