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The Ghost Orchid Reader’s Guide

By Carol Goodman

The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Mythology and classical allusions abound in The Ghost Orchid. What is their effect? How do these references highlight the dra­matic action of the story?

2. Deterioration is a key trope in the novel. How does it operate? Who or what deteriorates?

3. How did Alice’s treatment at Bosco compare to that of the other Latham children? Exactly what might Aurora have suspected about Alice’s parentage?

4. Why does Bethesda take an immediate dislike to Ellis? What similarities do you see between their relationship and that of Au­rora and Corinth?

5. Water is another central theme throughout this novel, especially as represented by the fountains. Why do you think Goodman chose this element?

6. How convincing is the metafiction, or fiction-within-the-fiction, of The Ghost Orchid? Whose project evokes the strongest response in you? We know how Ellis ends her book, but do you wish you could see the end results of all of the characters’ projects?

7. What parallels exist between Violet Ramsdale’s relationship with Tom Quinn and Bethesda’s relationship with Nat? What do you think Violet and Bethesda’s intentions are with these men?

8. Each character in this book has his or her own agenda, but who is the most selfish? The most selfless?

9. Aurora admits she was not the best mother, yet she does not try to be a better mother to the one child she has left. Why?

10. Do you believe in extradimensional contact? How would you use such power? Is faking this ability necessarily immoral, or simply opportunistic?

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