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Book Club Reading Questions

Book Club Questions for The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez | WellRead’s December 2023 selection

Book Club Questions for The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez | WellRead’s December 2023 selection

WellRead’s December 2023 selection was The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez. Featuring a companionable parrot by the name of Eureka, an unlikely college-drop-out housemate and a luxurious hideaway in New York City, The Vulnerables is full of pertinent contemplation of what it means to exist in the world alongside other humans and what happens when the world you know gets turned upside down.

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 The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez:

  • Nunez quotes “It was an uncertain spring,” from Virginia Woolf’s The Years, reflecting on the power of first lines. What do you think about her borrowing this line for this novel? What are some other memorable first lines?
  • What did you think about Nunez’s approach to autofiction in The Vulnerables? Did you ever question which parts of the story were real or imagined?
  • The narrator reflects: “I couldn’t help feeling guilty about the pleasure I took in the lifeless streets. To be the only pedestrian, block after block, to have an acre of Central Park to yourself.” What were some small moments of contentment you enjoyed during lockdowns?
  • Through her experience of the pandemic, the narrator finds herself with new connections she might not have had otherwise. Is this something you also experienced?
  • What role do you think Eureka the parrot played in the narrator’s experience throughout the novel?
  • The narrator doesn’t have very high expectations of Vetch when he first moves back in. How does he surprise her? What other ways do we see human behaviour meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectations throughout the story?
  • Nunez’s style captures cyclical rumination through philosophical musings – did you feel that her way of stepping through the thought processes of writing changed your reading experience?

Please note, these questions were written and distributed in December, 2023.