kristina McMorris

The Edge of Lost

Discussion Guide

  1. Love, forgiveness, redemption, loyalty, and sacrifice are among the most prominent elements in the book. In your opinion, what was the main theme of the story?
  2. At a young age, Shan learned to quickly adapt to his surroundings, much like a chameleon. How did this ability both help and hinder his personal growth?
  3. Who were your favorite and least favorite characters, and why? Were there any you disliked at first but grew to care for later? If so, what altered your opinion?
  4. Early on, Shan became dependent on humor to survive and later recognized how trust and likability are often cultivated through making people laugh. Discuss how different each segment of his life would have been without this skill.
  5. From Uncle Will's exchanges with Doc O'Halloran, Shan observed, "When a person had something you needed, it was best to show you were worthy." How did this belief translate into Shan's relationships with each member of the Capello family?
  6. From Irish pubs to Bronx supper clubs, and burlesque shows to prison cells, The Edge of Lost features several diverse parts of history. Did you learn something new from the story? What was the most interesting?
  7. In recalling his late parents, "Shan felt the weight of their absence, as heavy as stone on his chest." How did this traumatic childhood loss influence his future choices?
  8. Not only Shan, but Mr. Capello, Nick, and Josie all sought a form of redemption. Do you think each one fully achieved that? Is it possible to right a wrong with an unrelated act?
  9. In hindsight, much of life could be viewed as ripples set into motion by a handful of pivotal events. How different would Shan's life have been if he had never left Ireland? How would this have affected the lives of the other major characters?
  10. The deeply held secrets of many characters were revealed throughout the story. Do you agree with their reasons for keeping those secrets? Is withholding the truth the same as lying? Is it always best to be forthcoming?