A profound and intense story with deeply resonant depictions of urban African American life, Crystelle Mourning is a triumphant, lyrical beginning to a bright new talent in fiction.
Reading Group Guide
Crystelle has a seemingly great life and a bright future. She lives in gentrified Brooklyn with a well-employed fiancée; who wants to make her his wife, and she suspects she might be pregnant. The prospect of becoming a mother and wife, however, along with her recurring dreams of her murdered childhood sweetheart, send her emotions over the edge, and she heads back to her old inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood to face her past.
READING GROUP DISCUSSION
1. The prologue has a second-person narrator, yet the rest of the book has a third-person omniscient narrator. Why does the author employ a different point of view in the opening pages? Did this affect your involvement in the story?
2. Dreams dominate this story, and a ghost plays a major role. What literary techniques are used to differentiate between dream states and reality, living characters and Jimmie's ghost? Why is Crystelle's spirit such an overwhelming aspect of her characterization?
3. The following appears on page 11: " 'Remember this' her disconnected self said out loud in her head. 'Life feasts on death.' " What does Crystelle mean by this? Would she say this at the end of the novel?
4. On page 53, Crystelle talks about the moths bumping into the light. Who do you think, besides the moths, Crystelle is referring to when she theorizes about why it happens?
5. How do you interpret the actions and dialogue of the homeles see more