THE HYPNOTIST'S LOVE STORY

By Liane Moriarty
BerkleyJune 2013
www.us.penguingroup.com
www.lianemoriarty.com

Trade Paperback480 pages, $16.00, ISBN: 9780425260937
Subject: Intrigue / Mystery / Relationships

  1. Ellen is intrigued rather than frightened when she discovers that Patrick has a stalker. Why do you think this is so? How do her personality, her upbringing, and/or her choice of career influence her reaction to this news?
  2. Have you ever been treated by a hypnotherapist or seen a stage hypnotist perform? Would you consider doing either? Did you enjoy this aspect of the book?
  3. One of the main themes of the novel is the difficulty we have in letting go of past relationships. Did this theme resonate with you? Have you ever been tempted to stalk an ex-partner? Do you know anyone who has resorted to stalking?
  4. In what ways is the role of gender important to this book? In other words, if Patrick was a woman being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, would you view the situation differently?
  5. Could you relate to Saskia? Did you feel compassion for her? Did your feelings toward her change by the time you finished the book?
  6. Patrick is a flawed character. What did you think of his behavior toward Saskia? Were his actions understandable in light of the loss of his wife? If he’d handled their breakup more sympathetically, would Saskia perhaps not have resorted to stalking?
  7. Ellen was brought up without a father. Do you think the lack of a male figure when she was a child contributed to her difficulties in sustaining a long-term relationship as an adult? How might her unique upbringing (“It was like growing up in a lesbian commune”) have affected her relationships with men?
  8. By hiding the identity of Patrick’s stalker, The Hypnotist’s Love Story borrows some elements of the thriller genre. Did you guess the stalker’s identity? Did this mystery add to your enjoyment of the book?
  9. What did you think of the author’s decision to write from the perspectives of both Ellen and Saskia? Would you have felt differently about Saskia had you seen her only through Ellen’s eyes?
  10. Of all the characters in the book, which one developed most by the story’s end? Or did all of the characters evolve noticeably, in their own ways? What do you think they learned from their shared experiences and from one another in this story?
  11. What impact did Patrick’s son, Jack, have on the story? Could you relate to Ellen’s experiences as a stepmother? Would Saskia have behaved as she did if there had been no child involved?
  12. Grief is an important theme of the book. Were Ellen’s reactions to Patrick’s conflicted feelings about Colleen understandable? Have you had any experiences dating someone who has been widowed? Do you think Saskia was, in a way, grieving more over the end of her relationship with Jack than over the end of her relationship with Patrick?

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