This reading group guide for Follow Me to Ground includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.Introduction
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Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.Follow Me to Ground
is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground
lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In the beginning of Follow Me to Ground
, Rainsford sets out the rules of this magical universe: Cures, The Ground, the process of healing the townspeople. How do you understand the dimensions of Ada and her father’s work?
2. The novel is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of the townspeople. What purpose do these passages serve?
3. How does Ada’s relationship with Samson begin?
4. When Olivia comes in to be cured, does she reveal anything to Ada?
5. How did Ada come to be? She believes that she “hadn’t gone quite to plan” (page 56). What does this mean?
6. Ada’s father believes that it’s Samson’s “sickness that makes [him] want [her]” (page 81). What do you think Samson’s “sickness” is?
7. How does Ada come to a decision about her relationship with Samson? How do her father’s wishes, and Olivia’s interference, influence her choice?
8. Describe Ada’s interaction with Miss Gedeo, and then with Lorraine Languid. What do they seem to want from her?
9. Do you believe that Ada and her father are helping the townspeople?
10. What’s the result of Ada’s final conversation with her father, and why?
11. The novel ends at a moment of transformation and uncertainty. What do you think happens to Ada after the last page?Enhance Your Book Club
1. Explore other works of magical realism, like Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread
and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.
2. For more information about Sue Rainsford, visit www.suerainsford.com