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Book clubs  •  2 August 2022


Faithless book club questions

A remarkable story about love, literature and family to read with your book club.

Faithless tells the story of a writer and her consuming love for a married man. When Cressida is only eighteen years old, she first meets Max in the mountains of southern India. She immediately knows her life will never be the same, but when Leo comes into the picture, Cressida is forced to choose between a life of passion or a steadier, more attainable happiness.

Full of nuanced reflections on attachment and the nature of human relationships, Faithless makes for a perfect book club read.

Discussion points and questions

  • Threads of experience can bind generations in families – for good and ill. Which were most notable for you in this book and how might they impact Flora’s unfolding years?
  • Cressida says ‘Faced with a probing question, I reach for someone else’s words.’ What is she revealing about herself here?
  • Cressida has complex, fraught decisions to make in this novel. Would you have made different choices? Ought she have, do you think?
  • Not only her parents, but other adults in Cressida’s life modelled complicated family life. How important was Sylvia’s friendship to Cressida? Should Sylvia have revealed her past with Max earlier?
  • Is there a role for secrets in our lives? And truths that we turn our faces from?
  • Do you think Leo was oblivious to the whole truth of his marriage to Cressida?
  • On hearing of Max’s death, why do you think Cressida chose to head to Dunwich, and take Flora with her?
  • There is a wonderfully clever literary underlay to this story. Did you realise it as you moved through the story? And how did it affect your reading, even if it was only clear to you at the end?
  • How does this novel make you think about the idea, the concept, of faithlessness? 


Haven't read it yet? Read an extract from the first chapter to preview the book. 

Faithless Alice Nelson

Faithless is a remarkable story about love, literature, family, mortality and that which survives mortality, among other profound human experiences. Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prizewinner for The Hours

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