Book Club Discussion Questions for Conquering Venus

1. The parallel lives of Martin and Irène – despite their age difference – and what brings them together is never clearly defined. Did you want this explained? Was it divine intervention, fate or something else that put them in each other’s path?

2. Is Martin selfish and self-absorbed throughout the novel? Is Irène?

3. Could you identify or have you known someone with David’s fear of coming out of the closet?

4. Are Diane’s actions motivated by friendship or unrequited love for Martin?

5. Are the ghosts Martin and Irène meet at the hospital really ghosts? Was the use of this device to introduce two important characters from Martin and Irène’s past a surprise?

6. Were you expecting the terrorist bombing in Paris and how it changed the characters lives?

7. Do you believe Irène’s husband, Jean-Louis, was murdered or committed suicide? What was Frederick DuBois’ role?

8. Discuss Martin’s role in Peter’s death? Were you expecting such a violent conclusion or had you suspected earlier in the story?

9. Did Diane cross the line with David and her revelation to his parents about his homosexuality? Were Diane’s actions throughout the novel harmful to those around her including the students in her care?

10. Do you believe Martin and David will ever be together? What do you believe David did after he found the manuscript and Venus de Milo statue in Martin’s apartment?

11. Were you drawn in to the historical aspects of the novel presented through Irène’s eyes, such as the student/worker riots in 1968 and the Nazi occupation of Paris?

12. What do you know about the myth of Venus? Discuss this thread and how it connects the characters and story.


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