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Guide to The Find by Kathy Page

A  day’s prospecting leads paleontologist Anna Silowski to make an extraordinary discovery in a remote part of British Columbia,  but at the same time,  tensions below the surface of her successful career are exposed.  Pushed towards breakdown, Anna finds herself unexpectedly dependent on high-school drop-out Scott Macleod, and recruits him to help on the excavation of her find.  Scott is soon way out of his depth, and the excavation, controversial and technically difficult, teeters on the edge of disaster… The Find is a compelling story about discovery, inheritance and fate, and a moving exploration of the possibilities that hide within a seemingly impossible relationship.

“Packed with interesting elements… The abundance of information about pterosaurs, archeology, native political struggles, academic rivalry, alcoholism and Huntington’s disease is woven into the story seamlessly, only adding to the pleasure of its satisfying, unclichéd conclusion.” Globe & Mail

Kathy page’s two previous novels, Alphabet and The Story of My  Face, were listed for a GG and The Orange Prize respectively. Like them, The Find is both a page turner and an emotionally rich, thought provoking read.

Questions

1. Discovery is an important motif in The Find. The fossil itself  is only one of the discoveries  Anna makes during the course of the story.  What  else does she find? What is her most important discovery?

2. Various groups claim the right to interpret the fossil Anna discovers, and wish for the site to be treated accordingly.  Is it possible to say which is right? Should scientific interest always trump other claims? For detail on a real-world controversy that pitted archaeologists against first nations groups see the NAGPRA Law, and the Kennewick Man.

3. One of The Find’s themes is knowledge: to whom it belongs, how useful is it, and is knowing always best?  At the beginning of The Find,  Anna  Silowski  knows she  has a fifty percent chance of inheriting  the gene for Huntington’s Disease from her father, but is reluctant to know for sure.  To know or not to know?  How  has  Anna’s decision not to know affected her life? Did you feel she had made a wise decision?  Did you have a strong sense of what you would do in her place?  Did that change at all as you read the book?

4. Anna and Scott have completely different backgrounds – what is it that draws them together?  What are the similarities beneath the surface?

5. Should Anna have let Scott stay with her?   Could she have done so?   What do you think would have happened?

6. Is  The Find an adventure story,  a love story, or a novel of ideas? Or, which is it most?

7. Images of flight occur throughout The Find. What does the novel’s final flight image – that of  Anna’s specimen suspended in the museum lobby -  suggest to you?

8. Kathy Page is a writer who often  takes on dark subject matter (see Alphabet and The Story of My Face), yet insists that her writing is in the end, profoundly optimistic.  Do you agree?   Why do you think a writer might be drawn this way?

This guide reprinted with permission of the author.

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Posted by Pearl on Jul 23 2010. Filed under Reading Guides. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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