BKMT READING GUIDES

The Vixen Amber Halloway
by Carol LaHines

Published: 2024-06-11T00:0
Paperback : 208 pages
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Ophelia, a professor of Dante, is stricken when she discovers that her husband Andy has been cheating on her with a winsome colleague. What follows is Ophelia' s figurative descent into hell as she obsessively tracks her subjects, performs surveillance in her beat-up Volvo, and moves into the ...
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Introduction

Ophelia, a professor of Dante, is stricken when she discovers that her husband Andy has been cheating on her with a winsome colleague. What follows is Ophelia' s figurative descent into hell as she obsessively tracks her subjects, performs surveillance in her beat-up Volvo, and moves into the property next door to Amber' s, which has gone into foreclosure. She spies on the lovers, growing more and more estranged from reality. Andy' s betrayal reawakens the earlier trauma of abandonment by her mother at the age of eight. When Andy and Amber become engaged, Ophelia snaps. The story is a jailhouse confessional, a dark comedy, an oeuvre of women' s rage, a suspenseful revenge fantasy, and a moving portrait of one woman' s psychological breakdown.

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Excerpt

1.

Some have questioned my sanity. Only a mentally imbalanced woman, they say, would spy on her estranged husband and his lover from a tree. Only a delusional woman would believe that the husband would one day return, when the evidence—viz., engagement to his lover, before the ink on the divorce papers was even dry—was demonstrably to the contrary. Only a woman unconcerned with how she is perceived by the outside world, by former spouses and law enforcement circles alike, would commit her observations of the husband and his lover to eight consecutively numbered spiral-bound notebooks, producing, in three months’ time, a comprehensive, incriminating document that would serve to confirm the prosecution’s theory that she was a spurned wife with rancor in her heart. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

Why do you think Ophelia behaves the way she does? What is her principal motivation?

Who is the most sympathetic in this love triangle? Why or why not?

Do you have a favorite secondary character (e.g., Madge, Mallory)? Why?

Can you relate to Ophelia’s predicament? Is it a universal predicament in some sense?

What does the author accomplish by telling the story as a jailhouse confessional, a decade after the events in question?

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