Sandstone Press

Waiting for Lindsay: Book group reading guide

Happy publication day to Moira Forsyth and Waiting for Lindsay! Though book clubs are unable to meet in person at the moment, it's been lovely to see so many reading groups finding innovative ways to get together online.

On a hot July day, thirteen year old Lindsay Mathieson walked along the shore, past the rocks and out of sight. For ever. Thirty years later, a new crisis draws her family back to that familiar beach, and to memories too long buried.

Bookshops may be closed, but you can order your copy from our website.

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There are several key themes in the novel which readers might discuss, and from which questions might arise –

1) The power of someone who is no longer there, to disrupt other people’s lives

Lindsay vanished years ago – how is it she is still able to have an impact on her brothers’ and cousins’ lives? What responsibility do they take themselves for this – should they take more?

Does it matter that Lindsay herself is seen only through others’ eyes? Does the reader’s perception of her change in the course of the novel?

2) Childlessness

How important is this in the novel, that there are almost no children in the next generation?

Childlessness has had a huge impact on Annie and Graham’s marriage. Is this resolved in the course of the novel?

3) Love, marriage and adultery…

Annie and Graham’s marriage is not doing well, even when we meet them at the beginning of the novel. When Graham is unfaithful, where does the reader’s sympathy lie?

Tom has never committed to a loving relationship – what effect does this have on our view of him, as readers?

Would you say Jamie and Ruth have a happy marriage? What do they have that the others do not?

4) The closeness of grown-up siblings and cousins – what binds them together as adults?

We get only brief glimpses of the characters as children. If Lindsay had never been there at all, would they still have grown up close to each other?

Alistair isn’t so close as the others are – why is that? What’s his role in this family?

Readers might also discuss their views of how well the issues in the novel are resolved, and whether it matters if we find out exactly what happened to Lindsay. Is it a happy ending? Has good come out of this difficult year in the characters’ lives. What about the young people in the novel, Rob and Lucy – do they strike a note of hope, since they’re untainted by the past? Why are they important to the novel as a whole?