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'Digging to America' by Anne Tyler

Book Club Discussion Questions


Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Digging to America by Anne Tyler is one of those books that becomes richer when you can discuss it with friends. These book club discussion questions will allow your book club to delve into the the characters and questions Tyler raises.

Spoiler Warning: These book club discussion questions reveal important details about the story. Finish the book before reading on.

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  1. What does the title, "Digging to America," refer to? Who is digging to America in this story?

  2. How do the characters define America and what it means to be American? The Yazdans never tire of hearing Sami talk about Americans. Do you agree with his characterizations? How would you define Americans? What does it mean to be an American?

  3. Maryam defines herself as an outsider. In what ways is she an outsider? Is her "outsiderness" her own doing or an inevitable part of living in a foreign country? Why does she resist attempts to be "brought in" by the Donaldsons?

  4. Which other characters are outsiders? In what ways do different characters attempt to belong? Do any of them purposely isolate themselves from others?

  5. Anne Tyler writes from many different perspectives. Why do you think she does this rather than telling the whole story from Maryam Yazdan's perspective or from a third person narrator?

  6. Why did Maryam break off her relationship with Dave? Did she love him? Did he make her happy? Do you think they ever got back together?

  7. Why was Maryam so careful not to impose on Ziba? Did their carefulness with each other help their relationship or keep them apart? Was Maryam a good mother in-law? Why did Ziba's family refer to her as "Her Highness?"

  8. Digging to America is built around the story of two families adopting Korean infants. What roles do Susan and Jin-Ho play in the story?

  9. Why does Jin-Ho ask to be called "Jo?" Why doesn't she like the Arrival Parties?

  10. How would you describe the Donaldsons? Maryam realizes she loves Bitsy and her manufactured "traditions" at the end of the novel. Do you love Bitsy or find her character frustrating? Would you want her as a friend?

  11. What did you learn about Iranian culture from Digging to America?

  12. Rate Digging to America on a scale of 1 to 5.
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