Fräulein M.


1. Berni and Grete spend their childhood in a Catholic orphanage for girls. In what way do you think the Catholic education and value system informs the rest of their lives? How do they follow--or react against--the sisters' teachings?

2. In what way do Berni and Grete have a typical sister relationship, and in what way is theirs unique? How would you react to Grete's choices, if she were your sister? To Berni's? 

3. Compare the personalities of Klaus Eisler and Anita Bourbon. How would each behave at a cocktail party? A job interview? How do you think this relates to the nature of evil?

4. What do you believe drives Janeen's quest to learn more about her mother? Is it grief, or something more?

5. Compare the treatment of transgender individuals in the Weimar Republic with the way they are treated in your country today. Did anything surprise you about Anita Bourbon's life? 

6. Discuss the choices Berni, Grete, Sonje, and Anita make toward the end of Part III. What could or should they have done differently, if anything? 

7. What do you make of Grete's actions toward the Blumenthals and Herr Reuter in 1939? What do you believe motivates her? 

8. What do you believe is in store for Margaret Forsyth, Anita Moore, Janeen Moore, and Erik Forsyth after the book ends? What about Klaus Eisler? 

9. The novel contains four epigraphs--from Grimm's Fairy Tales, Adolf Hitler, The Metamorphoses, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Did you feel these fit with the narrative? What do you think is the significance of each one?