Michelle Carter has issued a Book Club challenge!
If your Book Club chooses From Under the Russian Snow to read and discuss as a group, she will show up at your meeting to talk about the book with you. Even if she can't be there in person, she will join you using Skype, Facetime or conference call. (And don't be surprised if she does show up in person: Her husband is a private pilot!) Click here to send her an email with your date, time and place. (If you could offer a couple of possible dates, it would make life easier.)
Book Club discussion guide
• How is a memoir different from journalism in which the author made her career? Both genres are true, but a memoir falls into a category called literary non-fiction. Can you recall some examples where the narrative transcends journalism?
• The author writes in great detail about events that happened more than twenty years ago. Does that add depth and detail or does it cause you to suspend belief?
• The author was a fifty-year-old American woman living and traveling alone in Moscow. What kind of issues does that raise in you as a reader? Was she brave, foolhardy or perhaps just lucky?
• The author writes that the Russian press was flowering in that post-Soviet, pre-Putin bubble of freedom. How does that contrast with your understanding of the current situation Russia?
• The author shares her indecision about going back to Russia after her husband died? Can you understand why she did?
• At one point, the author characterizes her decision to accept the position in Russia as greedy and self-centered. Could you have made a similar choice? If not, why not?
• The author draws her title from the podsnezhnik, the first flower to poke through the snow in the early Russian spring. Is it an apt metaphor for this memoir?
• The author is fairly critical of the treatment of women in Russia. How does this differ from the way women are treated in the rest of the world?
• A number of different themes are woven through this memoir. How did they speak to you? Were they effective in advancing the narrative?
• How have your perceptions about Russia changed after reading the book?
How about having some fun with a Russian theme for your Book Club discussion!
You could serve White Russians (alcoholic or not) or shampanskoye (champagne) to drink and munch on deviled eggs with caviar sprinkled on top or blinis with sour cream. Or make some soup — authentic Russian borscht (with or without beets) or the author's favorite, solyanka — and serve with lots of dark Russian bread. Brew lots of strong black tea for the deep discussions to follow.