The Revolution of Marina M
by Janet Fitch
Discussion Questions:
1. Describe Marina. Early on in the novel, she leads a life of privilege, yet she is dissatisfied. Why? What does she want? (Okay, sex...but what else?) Do you admire her? In what ways does Marina change over the course of the novel?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: Near the beginning of the novel, Marina says,
I was in love with the Future, in love with the idea of Fate. There's nothing more romantic to the young until its dogs sink their teeth into your calf and pull you to the ground.

Do you think she is correct: that the idea of future or fate (which one is she actually referring to or is it both?) is exciting to the young? As you read through the novel, at what point did fate stop being romantic for Marina? When did the the dogs start to "sink their teeth into [her] calf"? By the end of the novel, has Marina changed? In her outlook? Or in her essential character traits? What, if anything, has she learned?

3. What is the political state of Russia early on in the book? Marina describes history as "the sound of a floor underneath a rotten regime, termite-ridden and ready to fall." She is obviously referring to the government of the Czar. In what way is the regime "rotten" and "ready to fall"?

4. Why are the reforms offered up by Premier Prince Lvov the promise of freedom of speech and assembly, the right to strike, and elections by ballot insufficient for the radicals? What causes the provisional government to fail?

5. Talk about the effect that Leon Trotsky has as he addresses the crowd at the Cirque Moderne. Is he a typical demagogue out for power and self-aggrandizement? Or does he offer genuine path of reform for the Russian people?

6. What do you think of Marina's best friend Varvara and their relationship? In the fervor of revolution, was Varvara right or wrong in persuading Marina to spy on her father? And what about her father's outing of his daughter?

7. Describe the conditions of life for the population in the months following the October 17 overthrow? How grim is it?

8. Baron Arkady von Princip. Care to talk about him? What was your experience reading about the S&M he subjects Marina to?

9. Returning to the quotation in Question 2 about how youthful romanticism can turn into a vicious animal what do you see as the thematic concern of The Revolution of Marina M.? Is it how young people come of age in the midst of life's trials? Is it what happens to bonds of love and loyalty during social and political upheaval? Is a cautionary tale about how revolutions can turn more repressive than the regimes they replace? Or perhaps it's simply offered as a bird's eye view into one of the great events of the 20th century, one that shaped Western politics for decades to come. Or is it something else?

10. What have you learned about the October 17 Revolution that you did not know before reading Janet Fitch's novel? What surprised you most? What did you find most disturbing, maybe horrifying? Where did you find your sympathies falling: with the victors or the vanquished?

11. The novel is 800 pages long. Too long for you? Do you feel the author made some unnecessary detours in order to ramp up the plot line? Or do Marina's many adventures as a sex slave, as part of a spiritual cult, living with the astronomers enhance the story for you, giving it life and color?

(Discussion Questions by Litlovers)
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