RoxyBy Esther Gerritsen
Roxy learns that her husband has been killed in a car crash–along with his mistress. At just twenty-seven, she finds herself left with their daughter, their house, their car, his assistant, the babysitter and the shame of this inglorious end to their marriage. Her family tries to take care of her, but Roxy is not looking for consolation—she is looking for revenge. If only she knew how to get it.…
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'Esther Gerritsen is the kind of writer whose entire oeuvre you want to read after reading just one book, or no, after reading even just one page.' —Herman Koch, author of The Dinner
'A novel you devour in one sitting: elegiac, beautiful and very strong.'―The Daily Mail on Craving
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Book Club Questions
Book Club Questions
- How would you characterize Roxy?
- Do you have sympathy for Roxy? (Why, why not?)
- When Arthur was buried, Roxy immediately had sex with Marcel, the funeral director. After this she goes on to sleep with several other men. Why would Roxy be so eagerly looking for possible (bed) partners?
- Roxy seems to struggle with the contradictions between her “simple” rural background and the life of wealth she has built up with Arthur. In which of the two cultures does she feel more at home, according to you? Where in the text can you find evidence of this?
- Did you find one of the two cultures more personally appealing?
- What contradictions are there between Liza and Jane on the one hand and Roxy on the other? How do these contradictions come to the fore and what do they mean?
- What role do Liza and Jane play in relation to Roxy?
- Is Roxy looking for an enemy? And if so, why does she do this? If not, what is she looking for?
- The lyrics “Day-o, day-ay-ay-o. Daylight come and he wan’ go home” (from “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte) occur more than once in the book. What significance could this fragment of music have?
- On the one hand Roxy feels safe with her daughter, Louise, and wants to be with her as much as possible, on the other hand she frequently tries to escape from her and to transfer her to Liza. Why is she doing this?
- Is Roxy exceptionally conflicted, or is she very recognizably and universally human in that respect? Could you personally identify with those contradictory desires?
- Does Roxy miss Arthur? If so/if not, how is this shown, and what does this show about Roxy?
- The novel starts with a motto by Sophocles: “Dost thou behold / How I, stout heart and bold, / I, the undaunted once in open battle, / Lay violent hands on unsuspecting cattle? / Alas for scorn! How am I put to shame!” In what ways does Roxy appear like Ajax—aside from the fact that they both beat up defenseless cattle? Are there similarities between the Roxy of the novel and the story of Ajax?
- What do you think is the meaning of what Roxy does to the sheep?
- Was the setting one that felt familiar or relatable to you? Why or why not?
- The book ends with Roxy’s decision not to ride off with her father, but to return to Louise. Why is she making this decision?