The Wisdom of Perversity

By Rafael Yglesias
Genre: General Fiction
Buy Now This book is on reading list for November 2015


1. What is the impact of child molestation on the three main characters? ┬áDo you agree with Brian’s distinction that “Rape is primarily an act of physical invasion; child molestation is primarily an act of emotional invasion”? (page 62) Consider that the author stated that the pedophile who assaulted him did not rape him but “permanently associated my first experience of sexual pleasure with my having no say in the matter. That, I believe, is the true meaning of rape.”

2.Who is the main character of the novel? Can you see any change in his/her development at the end of the novel?

3. How does the structure of the novel convey the destructive force of pedophilia? The dramatic scene from April 1966 (Original Sin page 165) lies at the heart of the novel. Why do you think the author places it there and not at the beginning?

4. Much of the novel centers on Harriet and her ailments. What is her role in the abuse? Is she more culpable than Klein and Rydel? How is Klein responsible for Rydel’s depravity?

5. What is “the wisdom of perversity.”

6. Do Brian, Jeff and Julie find comfort in one another? How do they make peace with the past?

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