Book Club Questions for So Many Partings
So Many Partings
Q. Was the story of the illegitimate child, Thomas, and his expulsion from the Hartington’s aristocratic world, strictly fictitious or based on a family memory?
Q. Mary had to reinvent her life story to survive. Would you have done the same? And would you have been able to stand the guilt of it better than she did?
Q. Andrew Furuseth was a real-life hero, who created the Longshoreman’s Union to protect seamen and dock workers. Why have we heard so little about him when he was such a giant of the early Labor Movement?
Q. The Potato Famine sent thousands of Irish to the shores of New York and Boston. How did they ever survive and even prosper in an alien, impoverished world, where “No Irish Need Apply” was a sign hung on every workplace?
Q. Diamond Jim Mulvaney is an old-school Irish Pol. How did men like him and Diamond Jim O’Brady, or the Daly Dynasty in Chicago, gain so much political power?
Q. Barnacle Billy, the Madam who loves both Tom and his wife, owns what was called a “Disorderly House” on the waterfront of New York. How does her story reflect the tragic plight of the immigrants in turn of the century Manhattan… and especially of orphaned children?