Discussion Guide

Themes for this Discussion Guide have been suggested by the author and readers.  Please contact me to suggest additional topics and Click here  or go to Amazon.com to order copies for your book club.

  1. Why do you think the author chose to call this book called Come From Nowhere?  What do you believe is the significance of that, and do you think it suits the story? If you had to choose a title, what would it be?
  2. In The Odyssey, Odysseus meets a series of obstacles in his quest to return home to country and family after the Trojan War.  How are the women of Come From Nowhere struggling to make a similar journey?
  3. Where do you think each of these women would end up if the blackout hadn’t occurred? Do you believe that some of them might have come to the same realizations through other means? How important is that moment in the greater scheme of each of their lives?
  4. The character of Rat has only four short sections, each one designed to represent a significant aspect of her life.  What do you think these are?  The author has called Rat “the heroine” of the story.  In what ways do you find her heroic, or would you choose a different character as the heroine?
  5. The writer Natalie Danford has called New York City “a character, and a beacon in the darkness.”  How does the city seem like another character in this story?
  6. There are several languages represented in this story.  What effect do they have in creating the characters and the setting?
  7. The setting plays a large role in Come From Nowhere, not just the place, but also the year. In what ways might these women’s lives be different today?  In what ways are their dilemmas timeless?
  8. Along with the theme of Home, there is a strong theme of light vs. darkness in this book.  Where do you find that, and what do you feel is its significance?
  9. What do you think the meaning of Althea’s story about the goat, Tragos, is? Why does Celia like that story? Children often like to hear the same story repeatedly. Why do you think that is?
  10. The blackout is a catalyst in the trajectory of each of these characters.  Is there a moment in your life where an external event caused you to have great realizations or make major changes in the direction of your own life?
  11. Which character was the most relatable for you? Why?
  12. Each of the women in the book is an “immigrant” in one way or another. Who do you think has traveled the farthest? Why?
  13. Water is very important to the story. Where did you see water coming into play?
  14. What do you think happens next for these characters? Can you imagine what the day after the end of the book is like for any of them?
  15. Have you ever experienced a blackout? If so, how did the lack of light change your perception of your surroundings? Could you find your way around a familiar place, such as your home, if you were unable to see?