Don’t Stand So Close Reading Group Questions

A frightened young girl knocks on Stella’s door in the middle of a snowstorm, but Stella herself is scared. Should she have let Blue in? What would you have done in Stella’s situation?

Luana Lewis is a clinical psychologist, and much of the novel is concerned with the after effects of trauma and symptoms of emotional disturbance. Do you think her specialist knowledge brought an extra edge to her writing?

Hilltop House is the setting for much of the novel and is half sanctuary, half prison for Stella. How does Luana Lewis use the setting of an isolated, modernist home to create tension and drama?

The narrative flicks between unidentified sessions, 2009 and the present time. What effect do you think this structure has on the book? How did it affect your reading of some characters?

How does Luana Lewis use descriptions of the outside world and the weather to heighten tension? How does the book deal with the issues surrounding patient/doctor relationships?

Blue is a complex character. Did you feel sorry for her?

How does the book capture the loneliness, desperation and fear many of the characters feel?

This book raises a lot of questions about trust. Can any of the characters be wholly trusted, or are they all hiding something?

Why do you think Stella becomes so reliant on Max? Do you think he encourages her passivity, that he prefers for his wife to keep quiet?

Were you shocked by the brutality of the attack on Stella? Having been deceived by Lawrence Simpson years ago, she discovers that her husband has also lied to her. Do you think she will ever properly recover from either of these deceptions?

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