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Discussion and Reflection Questions

  1. In what ways does “the floating world” serve as a metaphor for Dee Dee’s life both before and during her stay in Japan?

  2. How has Dee Dee changed by the end of the story? 

  3. What role do each of the major characters in the story play in her journey?

  4. How do Dee Dee’s feelings for Mr. Tambuki shift over time? How about Mr. Tambuki’s feelings for Dee Dee/Gina?

  5. The novel depicts norms of speech and behavior within the bar culture that nowadays we would consider to be sexual harassment. How did you react to these incidents?

  6. Dee Dee is aghast when Victoria, the young Australian, says that “the rules don’t apply,” referring to the sexual activities that some of her friends engage in while they are traveling. Yet, Dee Dee herself, eventually seems to embrace this same philosophy. What allows Dee Dee to justify her own behavior?

  7. This story is told in the first person by a young, naïve narrator. What did that viewpoint add to the story? Where did you question the narrator’s reliability?

  8. How well does Dee Dee fare in her quest to show her "cultural adaptability" to Japan?

  9. What role do Japanese arts, both performing and visual, play as the story unfolds?

  10. What parallels do you see between Gina in the Floating World and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? 

  11. The novel is set in 1981. If it were set in the current day, how might today’s communication methods have made the story play out differently?

  12. What do you thinkDee Dee's life might look like over the next few years after the story ends?

If your book club chooses to read my novel, I am available to speak in person or by Skype.