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The Margot Affair Reader’s Guide

By Sanaë Lemoine

The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine

READERS GUIDE

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The Margot Affair is a novel of intrigue and betrayal that explores many themes, including family, friendship, romance, and trauma. Which theme takes center stage for you and why?

2. How would you characterize Margot’s relationship with her father? She specifically recounts a weekend they spent together a few years ago, including a dinner they had together. What is the significance of this trip? How does this weekend inform Margot’s perception of their relationship?

3. What role does Margot’s friendship with Juliette play in Margot’s life? In what ways are their lives similar and in what ways are they different?

4. After meeting David Perrin, a journalist, at the afterparty of a play, Margot begins writing to him. What do you think motivates her desire to write to him?

5. Margot’s father’s death is sudden and unexpected. How does this impact the people in his life? Who do you think is most impacted by this tragedy?

6. How does Margot’s understanding of Madame Lapierre change throughout the novel? What moment marks this transition?

7. How does Margot and Brigitte’s relationship develop beyond that of a journalist and subject? What does Margot seek in her friendship with Brigitte? What does Brigitte seek in Margot?

8. What are your thoughts about Margot’s affair with David? In what ways does this brief yet intimate and intense relationship influence Margot?

9. The fragile and potent power of secrets is a returning theme throughout the book. Having been in the shadow of her parents’ secret her whole life, how has this shaped the way in which Margot understands boundaries and relationships?

10. Romance is an essential aspect of one’s coming of age. How do romantic relationships and sexual discovery play a role in Margot’s growth and transition throughout the novel?

11. Put yourself in Margot’s shoes: What would you have done with the secret of your family? Why?

12. Female relationships play a crucial role within this book, especially in Margot’s life. What are the various female relationships she has? Compare and contrast these relationships and the impact of them on her life.

13. What are some ways in which Margot is influenced by her mother? Does she aspire to be like her mother or is she motivated to differentiate herself from her mother?  

14. Towards the end of the book Margot receives her birth certificate in which she sees that her father gave her his last name, Lapierre—how does this make Margot feel? In what ways does this change her perception of her identity? Do you think she chooses to take his name (Lapierre), to keep her mother’s (Louve), or to adopt both?

15. Margot and her mother have a tense and at times violent relationship. Would you consider this a factor in why Margot decides to share the story of her family with the world without telling her mother?

16. The revelation of her parents’ affair not only results in Margot’s life shifting from private to public, it also frees Margot from a burden she no longer has to carry. Do you think Margot really feels liberated by the end of the novel? Why or why not?

17. Anouk is a successful stage actress but in her personal life she has remained invisible as the “other” woman. How do you feel about Anouk’s performance at the end of the novel? Did you expect it? Does it change the way you view the rest of the story?

18. What are the different spaces we encounter in the novel, both private and public? How is Margot shaped by those spaces?

19. The characters of this novel often tell each other stories, such as Brigitte’s story about the chef and her daughter, Anouk’s story about being pregnant with Margot and the disappearing girl at the wedding, David’s story about Brigitte’s roommate, Anaïs, and so on. What is the role of storytelling as a form of communication in the novel? How do these stories advance relationships, and what does Margot learn from each story she’s told?

20. Film is another recurring theme in the book, from Margot watching films with her father to Brigitte’s obsession with Trouble Every Day to Juliette’s own attempt at filmmaking. What do you think the author is trying to explore with this theme? What did you make of the stark similarities between Trouble Every Day and Juliette’s film?

 
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