1. How would you describe Paule’s relationship to the chickens? Is there something maternal in it? What does it provide for her that her human relationships do not?
2. The book is full of Paule’s relationships and the various faults/needs they contain. Think about her relationship with her (ex-)mother, with her partner Louis, with Nicholas from the village, with her eventual business partner Fernand. What do you think the combination of these suggests about Paule herself?
3. What do you feel is the significance of Louis’s hands? What does Louis mean to her?
4. What do you think about Louis’s character? About his own chicken-relationship with Aval? Is he doing this for himself or for Paule?
5. Do you think Paule gains in strength over the course of the novel? Does her relationship with Louis alter?
6. Why do you think Paule likes to kill her favorite chickens? Why do you think her mother killed Paule’s favorite chickens? What is being said about relationships here?
7. Paule finds a kind of outlet in writing. What do you think this provides her? What do you think it means that this outlet then gets out of Paule’s control and turns into something she maybe wished it had not?
8. What kind of role does grieving play in the novel? What are each of the characters’ coping mechanisms for loss?
9. What do you think about Paule’s level of strength by the end of the novel? How would you interpret this ending?
10. What do you think Rico is trying to say about our consumer habits? About our relationship to the food we eat? About the stories we tell ourselves to make our behaviors acceptable?
11. Have you read any other books like this one? What feelings were you left with after reading? Would you be interested in reading further books by Lucie Rico?