1.It is clear that Solo’s return to the past is a cathartic reconciliation. It could be said that the author is doing the same by writing Malena. It what ways do their journeys parallel one another?
2.The narration of prose can be from a variety of perspectives. For example, the protagonist can be the narrator or a third party observer can narrate with or without omniscience. More, the narrator’s perspective does not necessarily coincide with the author’s. Malena is told in the third person who is not a character in the plot. Why do you think the author chose to narrate in this way? Do you think that the narrator’s perspective is aligned with the author or with the protagonist? Why or why not?
3.The narrator reflects a variety of lexicon that shows influence from other languages and some syntactical expressions are slightly less than standard idiomatic expressions. How does this contribute to the realm of multilingual individuals? Does it add to or detract from an authentic reflection of the characters and the way that multilingual people would speak? Consider, for example, the “Tarzan-Spanish” of Prof. Summerhay. Also consider this linguistic device is used both in the speech of the characters and the narration. Is the narrator a native English speaking American?
4. Chapter four contains a description of the life in New York City While p.297 describes D.C.. Compare that with the descriptions of Buenos Aires and life in the clubs and bars, especially chapter twenty-one. Discuss the drawbacks and benefits that a police state offers to society in comparison to what freedom and liberty has to offer. Consider the term “illusion” and its relationship to the conversation of the politicians on p257.
5.Generally the principle character in a story is the one with whom we sympathize. This story could have been told without Solo and from the point of view of Diego. Why does the author include Solo as a character, the main character, and what is gained in the plot by doing so? What would have been lost in the plot without the character of Solo?
6.One subplot in the novel is the treatment of and targeting of Jews. This is still a controversial issue among those that investigate the human rights abuses that occurred, some deny that Jews were targeted. Jewish organizations point to the statistic of unusually high numbers of Jews among the victims. How do you think the novel contributes to documenting this fact? (Focus especially on p.231, p.289)
7.For the most part of the novel Solo is an outside observer of what is taking place. But little by little he is becoming more and more involved as the plot unfolds. The victims are said to have been “sucked in”. In what way/s is Solo also sucked in? Consider his father, his role as an interpreter, his relationship to the other characters. What about being “sucked out” of his life in the U.S.?
8.There is juxtaposition of multiple realities in the novel. For example, the past is a reality that may or may not be contiguous with the present. But what about the present? In what way are there dual present realities? How do these realities compare with one another?
9.You have already considered dueling realities and reconciliation. How is Diego struggling with his own dual reality and reconciling the two? Keeping in mind that the tango originally represented a duel between two men, point to passage(s) in the novel that demonstrate this.