Discover the chilling depths of deception and a marriage teetering on the edge in Alice Feeney’s gripping novel, “Rock Paper Scissors.”
Adam and Amelia Wright are a couple whose lives have been shrouded in darkness for far too long. Adam, a workaholic screenwriter, suffers from a condition known as face blindness, rendering him unable to recognize even his own wife. Now, as they embark on a weekend getaway to Scotland, their fragile union hangs in the balance.
Unbeknownst to them, this trip was no stroke of luck.
Secrets, lies, and a malevolent force threatens to unravel their marriage owing to a mysterious letter sent to them – something they are not supposed to talk about.
After all, what is it, and why is the letter always sealed?
In this discussion guide, we will have a look at some amazing book club questions for Rock Paper Scissors and why it’s a must-read for anyone who loves psychological thrillers and craves a rollercoaster of suspense in a story that appears to be much more of a reality than fiction.
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Rock Paper Scissors Book Club Questions For Discussion
- The setting in the book, a secluded converted chapel in Scotland, plays a significant role in shaping the mood and atmosphere of the story. It comes alive with the chilling winter environment and the geographic isolation of the chapel, creating an almost eerie backdrop for the unfolding of events.
How does the choice of this particular setting intensify the suspense in the story, and what elements of the atmosphere act as catalysts for the couple’s underlying tensions?
- The novel employs a dual narrative, with chapters told from both Adam’s and Amelia’s perspectives. This narrative technique offers a comprehensive understanding of the escalating bizarre events that occur during their anniversary trip while providing a more profound insight into their distinct personalities and inner conflicts.
Discuss how this dual narrative structure affects your understanding and interpretation of the plot. Also, does it add a layer of suspense and complexity to the novel?
- Did you notice that the book introduced to us a unique element – the letters, right? These letters provide a retrospective view of their relationship and gradually revealed the existing faultlines within their marriage.
How do these letters contribute to the development of the plot and character relationships, and what revelations or realizations did they bring to light about the couple’s past and present?
- A key theme that runs throughout the storyline is the exploration of dark secrets and hidden agendas within a marriage. Despite ten years of being together, the couple is still unraveling mysteries about each other, which forms a major crux of the storyline.
What impact did the unfolding of these secrets have on your perception of the characters, and what does this reveal about the nature of their relationship and the foundations of their marriage?
- Alice Feeney skillfully develops her characters in Rock Paper Scissors, showcasing a nuanced portrayal of Adam and Amelia Wright. Both characters are meticulously crafted with intricate details that offer insights into their individual personalities and their relationship dynamics.
Do you agree? If yes, discuss.
- The characterization of the men in the book stands in stark contrast to that of the women. While the women are portrayed as forces of nature, going to great lengths to achieve their aims, the men are depicted as immature and self-centered, focused more on their own needs than those of others.
How does Feeney’s characterization of the male figures in Rock Paper Scissors critique traditional gender roles, and what might it say about power dynamics within relationships and society?
- Adam’s obsession with his job is highlighted as one of the major strains on their marriage. His workaholism not only impacts his relationship with Amelia but also contributes to the unfolding events in the novel.
Based on this context, how important do you think work-life balance is when it comes to sustaining healthy relationships?
- The theme of identity is another key element in the novel. Characters such as Robin, who assumes Henry Winter’s identity to further her plans, and Adam, who keeps the secret about his role in the accident that killed his mother, grapple with their true selves and the identities they’ve adopted.
How does the theme of identity play out throughout the novel, and how does it affect the decisions and ultimate fates of the characters?
- Adam’s cherished screenplay, Rock Paper Scissors, seems to mirror the real-life events unfolding around him, particularly the layers of secrets and betrayals revealed throughout the story. The narrative threads between Adam’s screenplay and his actual life weave an intricate web of parallels.
What’s your take on the way this interplay between life and art contributes to the complexity of the narrative, and how does it enrich our understanding of Adam’s character?
- Isolation is another central theme in the book, with each of the main characters experiencing this either by choice or force. The outcomes of this imposed or self-chosen isolation vary, leading to flourishing creativity or severe loneliness combined with negative impacts.
Can you explore the notion of isolation in more detail as presented in the novel and discuss how it shapes the trajectories of the characters’ lives, their actions, and their decisions?
- Robin, feeling betrayed and wronged, devises a complicated scheme to get back at Amelia and reclaim her life. This not only shows her desperation but also her determination and intelligence.
Discuss how Feeney develops the theme of revenge throughout the novel, and what does this reveal about Robin’s character?
- The narrative structure of “Rock Paper Scissors” cleverly introduces the characters of Robin and Amelia in such a way that initial assumptions about their roles are upended as the story progresses. This technique impacts the way we perceive these characters and their actions.
How does this narrative strategy influence our understanding of Robin and Amelia’s characters, and how does it contribute to the overall themes and messages of the book?
- One of the most noticeable and recurrent motifs in the novel is the color red, which appears in various forms and is associated with many important plot points. From the red kimono of Adam’s mother to the red lipstick used by Robin, the color seems to be a device for emphasizing significance.
Why do you think this specific color was chosen, and how does the author’s use of the color red enrich the narrative and enhance the emotional depth of the characters?
- The book’s title, “Rock Paper Scissors,” could be considered a metaphor for the dynamic between the characters of Robin, Amelia, and Adam. Each character has its strengths and weaknesses that can ‘defeat’ or ‘be defeated by’ the other, creating a balance of power that continually shifts from one person to other.
Do you agree with this interpretation of the title? Also, how do these power dynamics unfold throughout the narrative, and how do they relate to the symbolic representation of the game ‘rock, paper, scissors’?
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