Reading The Last Summer in a book group? Here's some questions to get converstion going:


1. The Last Summer is told through letters. How does this technique bring us into the narrative?

2. The Last Summer was written at a time when the powers of Europe were in disarray. Do you think the book was written to sympathise with the need for change, or the hierarchy that stood in place?

3. What themes does this story use to make it still seem relevant to our current era, despite being over 100 years old?

4. What does the correspondence between the Governor’s children show about the generation gap in 1910 Russia?

5. Lyu describes the children of the Governor as “little canaries huddled close together on their perch, chirruping away”. Does the author succeed in showing us that this rich family is “alone in a world that belongs to them”?

6. There is a deep sense of loyalty between the family and their servants. How does this affect our thoughts on Lyu’s political opinions?

7. What role do you think the Aunt and her nephew play in the story?

8. Katya claims that "It’s outrageous that a man can enjoy such power; this fact alone spells doom for our circumstances." Given Huch’s later open rejection of Nazi rule, how far do you think she uses Katya to portray her own political views?

9. Why do you think we never see the letters of Konstantin to Lyu?

10. Who do you sympathise with most, and why?