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The Postmistress
by Blake, Sarah
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1. Much of The Postmistress is centered on Frankies radio broadcasts --- either Frankie broadcasting them, or the other characters listening to them. How do you think the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 1940s differs from our experience of getting news from the television or the internet? What is the difference between hearing news and seeing pictures, or reading accounts of news? Do you think there is something that the human voice conveys that the printed word cannot?

2. When Thomas is killed, Frankie imagines his parents sitting miles away, not knowing what has happened to their son and realizes there is no way for her to tell them. Today it is rare that news cant be delivered. In this age of news 24/7, are we better off?

3. If you were Iris, would you have delivered the letter? Why or why not? Was she wrong not to deliver it? What good, if any, grew up in the gap of time Emma didnt know the news? What was taken from Emma in not knowing immediately what happened?

4. When Frankie returns to America, she doesnt understand finds it impossible to grasp that people are calmly going about their lives while war rages in Europe. What part does complacency play in The Postmistress?

5. Discuss the significance of the Martha Gellhorn quote at the beginning of the book, War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever. What stance towards war, and of telling a war story does this reveal? How does it inform your reading of The Postmistress?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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