WellRead’s July 2023 selection was I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore, a magic box novel about love, death, grief and longing, about how strange we can be, and how our emotions can sometimes reshape time and space.
Use these discussion questions to engage with the book further, whether in a book club with friends, or just on your own as you digest the story.
Reading questions for I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore:
In an interview, Moore said that “the one thing I can tell you about this book is that it wasn’t written by AI”. This made us laugh. In all seriousness though, was the book like any other you had previously read?
Chat about the experience of reading the novel. Did you enjoy its originality and metaphysics, or were you wanting more stability and realism?
Amidst the grim subject matter of the novel, there is an abundance of joy and humour. The tragic and the comic seem inseparably entwined. Do you think this is true of real life? Did the book make you laugh as much as it did despair?
Referring to the title, Moore said in an interview that the homelessness alludes to “a sense of being at home in life and the world, and people who don’t feel at home in life and in the world.” Discuss what you think she means by this.
The novel can be read as a metaphor for the US’s shameful past, recent political craziness, fake news and conspiracy theories. How do these show up in the story?
Moore is too adept a writer to not be aware that the structure of her novel unravels as the book progresses. Why do you think she chose to write it this way?
- Referring to the two sections of the novel, Moore suggests that there are connections between them that are not immediately explicit but that, ideally, reveal themselves by the end of the novel. Much reading between the lines is required here. How did you connect the alternating storylines?
Please note, these questions were written and distributed in July, 2023.