The following are Discussion Questions you might like to consider when reading the book. If you are not keen on seeing any PLOT SPOILERS you probably don't want to read any further!
  • What is the relevance of the swimming pool as the ‘stage’ for the action in the novel? If the lido had never opened, do you think Natalie’s behaviour that summer would have been different?
  • To what extent do you think Natalie has contributed to Molly’s aquaphobia? Does Molly want to get better?
  • ‘Might being pretty be important, after all?’ How significant are physical appearances in the novel?
  • Discuss the mother/daughter relationships in the novel. To what degree are the mothers and daughters in competition with each other?
  • When discussing her friendship with Lara, Ed tells Natalie:
  • ‘You’re out of your depth’. The female friendships in the novel are defined by a delicate power balance. What factors affect this balance, and how does the power shift at different moments in the novel?
  • Natalie’s determination to make her marriage to Ed stable is, in part, to avoid making the mistakes of her own parents. To what extent do we see history repeating itself in the novel?
  • Do characters learn from the past, or from each other?
  • Do you think Natalie is sexually attracted to Lara, or, rather, does she want to be her?
  • What do you think is the significance of Natalie and Ed’s jobs as teachers?
  • Do you think that Ed was really having an affair with Georgia? Why is the author not explicit in telling us either way?
  • Is there any way to excuse Molly’s actions at the party and Natalie’s behaviour in the past on the grounds of their age?
  • Was it fair of Miles to be seeking revenge after so many years?