Readers Guide LOVE NEVER DIES
(As with all Readers’ Guide Questions, it is strongly suggested you not read these until you’ve read the story.)
Warning! Contains spoilers about LOVE NEVER DIES.
1. Frank describes his feeling the first time Areila Leon enters the park as “I felt a vibration not unlike the dramatic, opening chord on a Spanish guitar.” Have you ever felt that type of instant connection to another person?
2. After hearing Cleardale’s backstory about his wife murdering their children because of latent mental illness, do you wonder how the homeless people in your area came to be to live on the street?
3. Frank blames himself for his failure to save a woman’s life before he was killed. Have you ever felt helpless and unable to save someone from a terrible situation? What would you have done differently if given the chance?
4. Because of his own death, Frank was unable to return to Sofia, the woman he loved, and for that he suffers eternal grief. Would you rather have a short time with the person you truly love, or a lifetime with another?
5. When Frank tells Areila about how he was killed, she offers to help him, and he says “You have helped. You allowed me to tell my story.“ When something terrible happens to you, do you feel better if you share it with someone? Do you have a regular confidante? Can you tell us who and why?
6. Areila seizes the opportunity to defeat the killer by using the weapon at hand — a shovel. Her quick thinking saves her own life and undoubtedly the lives of others. Yet many who face such violence are paralyzed by fear. Do you believe in the right circumstances you could also use whatever resources you have to fight for your life and the lives of others?
7. When Areila triumphs, Frank says, “You fought like a woman. You fought like a warrior.“ Do you believe a man of the early twentieth century would ever think/speak such a sentiment? What do you think of the changes in society in the last seventy years?
8. Kateri suffered traumatic injury during the tsunami and was on painkillers. During that time, she saw Frank Vincent’s ghost. Terrified, she ran away. Do you believe in ghosts? If not, why were you willing to suspend disbelief to read this ghost story? If so, have you ever had experience with a ghost or an otherworldly apparition? Were you afraid?
9. Of the quilting bee, Mrs. Golobovitch says “Kateri got the project rolling. I think she likes the conviviality of the group more than the work.” Do you feel that way about any groups you are involved with?
10. Eugene Park, the main setting for this short story, is based on Seattle’s Denny Park, which was in fact originally a cemetery. Does that make you wonder about your local landscape and what it might have been in the past? Have you done research or excavation that sheds light on your surroundings?
11. LOVE NEVER DIES tells the love story of Areila’s great grandfather and great grandmother. What stories of love or loss have been passed down in your family? Please share.
12. Frank Vincent said, “Her fingers closed around mine, warm, vibrant, alive in a way I could never have hoped or imagined. At last, at long last, I was able to step beyond the bounds of my prison and into her arms. Love had freed me.” Do you believe that love between two partners never dies, or is that simply a romantic affectation? Do you share or have hopes of sharing such a love?