Discussion questions: The Homecoming

  1. The title HOMECOMING holds significance for Jess’s story. Does it have meaning for any other character’s journey?
  2. “Home, she’d realized, wasn’t a place or a time or a person, though it could be any and all of those things: home was a feeling, a sense of being complete. The opposite of ‘home’ wasn’t ‘away’, it was ‘lonely’. When someone said, ‘I want to go home’, what they really meant was that they didn’t want to feel lonely anymore.” Do you agree with this statement?
  3. What did you originally think happened to the Turner family? Did your theory change as the story progressed?
  4. If you could ask a question of any of these characters, what would it be and to who?
  5. Motherhood is an ongoing theme throughout the book. Did you judge Isabel, Meg, Polly or Nora based on your own opinions on what it means to be a mother?
  6. Who was your favourite character and why?
  7. Do you believe that Nora was justified in keeping secrets from Polly and Jess? Did you understand her motivations?
  8. Do you believe keeping secrets from your family is ever a good thing?
  9. Many characters in the story feel guilt over their actions following the Turner family tragedy. Are any of those characters guilty of a crime?
  10. “Reading shapes a person. The landscape of books is more real, in some ways, than the one outside the window. It isn’t experienced at a remove; it is internal, vital. A young boy laid up in bed for a year because his legs refuse to work and a young girl on the other side of the globe, sent to boarding school because her parents had both died, had led completely different lives --- and yet, through a mutual love of reading, they had inhabited the same world.” Do you agree that reading can shape a person --- perhaps more than the world in which they live?
  11. “Percy had observed that Polly was shy. He knew nothing about the rest of her life, but he wondered whether her tendency to blush, the diffident way she had of speaking, the nervous habit of playing with the pendants on her necklace, were consequences of having grown up, even unwittingly, in tragedy’s shadow.” Do you think Percy was right in his assumption that tragedy had shaped Polly’s life?
  12. The secret of the Turner family tragedy is finally revealed. But after so many years, is it too late, or can it change things for those left behind?