Please find the discussion questions for our July 2023 pick, Memphis by Agatha Christie below! I’d love to hear what you thought of the book.
- You can the ongoing book club discussions in the Facebook group here.
- You can order your copy of the book here or you can buy all three of our quarter 2 book club picks (at a discounted rate!) here.
Memphis is full of cultural references, from historical events and figures to well-known music and literature. How did these details influence your reading experience? Which reference was your favorite?
The story follows four Black women of the same family throughout 70 years. Why do you think the author decided to feature such a long time span? Whose journey were you most engaged with?
Joan’s sections are told in first person, while the other North women are written in third person. How did this change in perspective affect your reading experience? Did it make you identify more strongly with any of the characters?
Why do you think Miriam brought Joan and Mya to live with August and Derek, despite knowing what happened to Joan years before? Do you think she made the right choice? Why or why not?
“Wars fascinated me,” Joan says. “How on earth could a sane man charge into a volley of bullets—say, at D-Day? Weren’t they terrified?” She later compares these feelings to her own experience walking into August’s house knowing Derek lived there, too. What do you make of this comparison? Do you believe personal traumas can be as damaging as war?
How do Myron and Hazel’s lives — and deaths — reverberate through the future generations of their family?
How do the people of Douglass support each other throughout the years? What do you think Memphis is saying about the value of community? Does this community support ever fall short? If so, where?
“I wasn’t sure if my burying that comb was what landed my cousin in prison,” Joan says, “but I thanked God — and Miss Dawn — for the magic of it.” Do you believe the magic worked? Either way, do you feel Joan got justice for what happened to her when Derek went to prison? Why or why not?
One of the themes of the novel is encapsulated in this quotation: “The things women do for the sake of their daughters. The things women don’t.” How do these lines describe the behaviors of the North women?
What did you think about the ending? What do you think awaits Joan in London?