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The Invisible Woman Reader’s Guide

By Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

READERS GUIDE

Reader’s Guide:
The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

Discussion Questions

1. What most moved you reading The Invisible Woman? Which character will stay with you the longest?

2. Identity is a central theme in The Invisible Woman. Discuss how Virginia changes as she moves through each part of her journey—from Artemis to Diane to la Madone to Virginia.

3. Virginia’s life would have been extraordinary on its own, but adding the fact that she had a prosthetic leg takes it to another level. Discuss what most struck you about her condition and how it made her more vulnerable in some ways and stronger in others.

4. In wartime, to advance their causes, soldiers, spies, and resistors sometimes engage in unsavory practices or behaviors that would be considered immoral under normal circumstances. Which of Virginia’s or her associates’ actions disturbed you? Did the ends justify the means?

5. Even decades after the war, Virginia Hall would not grant interviews. Not only was she still operative in the CIA, but she said she’d seen too many people die for talking. Similarly, the villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon did not wish for any special recognition. They thought they were simply doing their Christian duty. Discuss whether you think Virginia and the villagers would give their blessing to this book and other works about their contributions to the war.

6. In Robuck’s research on Virginia’s personality changes over the years, and in speaking with veterans of war, post-traumatic stress rose as a central theme. Though contemporary understanding has greatly evolved since Virginia’s time, it’s still a major problem. Discuss how PTS—its effects and instances of healing—is shown in the novel.

7. What roles do the statue of Our Lady of Le Puy and references to la Madone play in the novel? Why do you think Robuck included them?

8. The women in the novel are very different from one another, but all show their own kinds of strength. Discuss the women most important to the story and how they contributed to the Resistance in their own ways.

9. At the beginning of the novel, reinforcing SOE/OSS training, Vera Atkins directs Virginia not to get attached to those in her network. How does Virginia obey and disobey this order? How does this help and hinder her efforts on both a personal and a global level?

10. What will you take away from having read The Invisible Woman? What aspects will resonate and linger for you?
 
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