1. It cannot be denied that The Empress and the Cake is about addiction. How else may the book be interpreted?
2. Explore how the criminal plans hatched by the Empress develop throughout the book.
3. Under which genre would you distinguish this book? A thriller? A horror story? Or perhaps, a tragedy?
4. The book contains many humorous episodes. As readers, do we find Linda Stift’s use of comedy a release from the weight of the characters’ realities, or rather, acknowledge these diversions as a reflection of the characters’ illnesses?
5. Charlotte appears to be the protagonist’s only friend and yet we hardly see her. What is the purpose therefore of this relationship in the context of the novel?
6. The Empress and the Cake is a predominately female cast; other than the Baron, we do not encounter many male roles. Explore the dynamic between the women and the affects and consequences of their individual issues projected onto each other.
7. The story takes place in Sigmund Freud’s Vienna and the birthplace of psychoanalysis. To what extent does this book explore how the mind creates its own realities?
8. How would you justify The Empress and the Cake being attached to the theme of fairy tales?
9. Discuss how the structure of the book enhances the reading quality of The Empress and the Cake.
10. Ida’s passages portray the Empress in an adoringly cheeky light. How is this nurturing quality echoed in the relationship between the two characters?