Book club discussion questions for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay explore a haunting mystery that spans a lifetime. When ten-year-old Miranda Larkin returns home from school one afternoon in November 1975, she discovers that her mother is missing. Despite investigators suspecting her father, Dan Larkin, a criminal defense attorney, no evidence is found linking him to the crime, and the case fades from public memory as a simmering, unresolved riddle.
Years later, the remains of Jane Larkin are discovered, reigniting the investigation and forcing her three children, now grown, to choose sides. Should they stand with their father or against him? And what if they are wrong?
All That Is Mine I Carry With Me is a tale about family secrets, loyalty, and vengeance, but also family love. This masterful novel grapples with a primal question: When does loyalty reach its limit?
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In this post, we will delve into the most important book club questions for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay that will help you explore the novel’s themes and characters in depth.
My discussion guide includes more than twenty book club questions questions that will inspire thought-provoking conversations about the novel’s intricate plot, unforgettable characters, and profound insights into the human condition. Whether you are an experienced book club member or a newcomer, this reading guide will help you explore the many layers of meaning in All That Is Mine I Carry With Me that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
So, get ready to embark on a journey that will take you through the intricate layers of this captivating story. Sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay!
One afternoon in November 1975, ten-year-old Miranda Larkin comes home from school to find her house eerily quiet. Her mother is missing. Nothing else is out of place. There is no sign of struggle. Her mom’s pocketbook remains in the front hall, in its usual spot.
So begins a mystery that will span a lifetime. What happened to Jane Larkin?
Investigators suspect Jane’s husband. A criminal defense attorney, Dan Larkin would surely be an expert in outfoxing the police. But no evidence is found linking him to a crime, and the case fades from the public’s memory, a simmering, unresolved riddle. Jane’s three children—Alex, Jeff, and Miranda—are left to be raised by the man who may have murdered their mother.
Two decades later, the remains of Jane Larkin are found. The investigation is awakened. The children, now grown, are forced to choose sides. With their father or against him? Guilty or innocent? And what happens if they are wrong?
A tale about family—family secrets and vengeance, but also family love—All That Is Mine I Carry With Me masterfully grapples with a primal question: When does loyalty reach its limit?
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Book Club Questions for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me
I hope you and your book club will enjoy my discussion reading guide for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay. ✨
- The novel All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay delves into various thought-provoking themes such as family, loyalty, grief, secrets, and the fragility of relationships. Which theme resonated the most deeply with you, and why? In what ways do these themes intersect and affect the characters in the novel?
- The author takes care to emphasize the defining nature of this case in public memory, noting that the local media feasted on the story, particularly in the first few weeks after her disappearance. True crime often captures the attention of the public, but what does this say about society’s fascination with crime? What does this say about the way society values justice and closure?
- Jane’s husband, Dan Larkin, is the prime suspect in her disappearance, but there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. How does Landay create suspense and tension in the novel even though the reader knows that Dan was never convicted of the crime?
- Landay is known for his legal thrillers, and All That Is Mine I Carry With Me features a criminal defense attorney as the prime suspect. How does the legal setting add to the tension of the story, and how does it influence the characters’ actions?
- Discuss the character development in the novel, particularly that of the three Larkin children. How do they grow and change over the course of the story, and how does their relationship with their father evolve?
- The novel is set over several decades. How does Landay capture the sense of time passing, and how do the different time periods affect the story and its characters?
- Throughout the book, the relationship between Dan Larkin and his children is complex and fraught with tension. Discuss how this relationship develops throughout the story, and whether you felt sympathy for Dan or his children.
- Miranda Larkin is the youngest of the three siblings, and the one who finds her mother missing at the beginning of the book. How does Miranda’s perspective shape the narrative, and what role does she play in the resolution of the mystery?
- Dan Larkin is a criminal defense attorney, and his profession is a significant factor in the story. How does Landay use Dan’s profession to explore the themes of the novel, and how does it affect his relationships with his children?
- Landay’s writing style is often described as “smooth” and “conversational.” Discuss how his style contributes to the emotional impact of the story, and whether you found it effective in conveying the themes of the novel.
- Discuss the role of Jane Larkin in the novel, despite her disappearance. How does she impact the story and the characters, and how does her absence shape the narrative?
- All That Is Mine I Carry With Me explores the impact of a violent crime on a family. How does Landay convey the emotional impact of the crime on the characters, and how does it affect their relationships with each other and themselves?
- A pivotal moment in the novel occurs when Jane’s bones are found, and the DA decides not to pursue a case against Dan. This decision creates tension between Jane’s sister, Kate, and Dan’s son, Alex. Whose side did you take, and why? What would you have done in that situation, and why? How does this moment exemplify the novel’s exploration of the limits of loyalty and the complexity of family relationships?
- The novel is divided into different parts, each told from a different character’s perspective. How does this narrative structure deepen the story and create a more complex portrayal of the characters and events? Which section stood out for you, and why?
- Book 2 of the novel is initially presented as being written from Jane’s perspective, but it turns out to have been written by Miranda as a creative outlet. How does this section deepen our understanding of Miranda’s character and the impact of her mother’s disappearance on her life? What does this section tell us about the nature of grief and how it can manifest in different ways?
- The title of the novel – All That Is Mine I Carry With Me – aside from being the translation of the Latin text in Miranda’s tattoo, carries several symbolic meanings. What do you think the title means in relation to the characters and events in the novel? How does it relate to the themes explored in the novel?
- The characters in the novel undergo significant changes over the course of the story. How did each character change, and what events led to these changes? What do these changes say about the nature of personal growth and the impact of traumatic events on individuals?
- In All That Is Mine I Carry With Me, the story revolves around the mystery of Jane Larkin’s disappearance and eventual discovery as a murder victim. The novel explores the complex dynamics of a family with a missing member, but also delves into the secrets and lies that are kept among family members. What impact do you think these secrets have on the Larkin family? How do you think it affected their relationships with each other?
- Throughout the novel, there are references to religion and faith, particularly in the form of the Bible verse that Kate had the priest read at Jane’s burial ceremony. How do you think religion is portrayed in the novel? What do you think is the significance of the Bible verse that Kate chose for her sister’s funeral?
- One of the central questions in All That Is Mine I Carry With Me is whether or not Dan Larkin murdered his wife, Jane. The author uses various narrative devices, such as red herrings, to keep the reader guessing until the end. Did you believe Dan was guilty throughout the novel? What was your thought process as you read the story? How did your opinion of Dan change as more details about his character and behavior were revealed?
- The book explores the question of whether loyalty to family can be taken too far. Discuss how this question is explored throughout the novel, and whether you think the characters ultimately make the right choices.
- All That Is Mine I Carry With Me is a novel that explores themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal. Do you think loyalty has its limits? If so, what are they? How do you think the characters in the novel grappled with these themes? Can you relate any of these themes to your own experiences or relationships?
- The novel is not just a crime novel but also a family drama and a character study. The story revolves around the Larkin family and the impact of Jane’s disappearance on their lives over decades. How did these events shape the lives of Alex, Jeff, and Miranda as adults, and how did their relationships with their father change? Why do you think Detective Glover and George Ballis were so deeply invested in this case?
- The novel is filled with intense family scenes that reveal the complex relationships between the Larkin family members. Which scenes stayed with you the most, and why? How do these scenes contribute to the novel’s portrayal of family dynamics?
- The ending of the novel was both shocking and unexpected, revealing a truth that had been hinted at throughout the story. How did you feel about the conclusion? Did you feel that it was satisfying and fitting for the story? What themes or messages did you take away from the novel as a whole?
Selected Reviews for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me
“An enthralling mystery and a haunting family tragedy, heartbreaking in places, with deeply drawn characters and all the thrills of a classic whodunnit . . . I couldn’t put this down. You won’t be able to either.”—Alex Michaelides
“Powerful and provocative, All That Is Mine I Carry With Me explores the dynamics of family and the ways in which vengeance can control and destroy the ones we love.”—Louise Penny
“With All That Is Mine I Carry With Me, the masterful author of Defending Jacob has created something riveting, unforgettable, and original—unlike any other crime novel I’ve read.”—Joseph Finder
“Masterful, original, and riveting, and the best book I’ve read in quite a while . . . With its subtle mystery and compelling portraits of how lives are transformed in the aftermath of violent crime, it possessed me from the very first line to the last page.”—Scott Turow
Hope you enjoyed my book club discussion questions and reading guide for All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay!
Here are some more of my book club recommendations:
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob. Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.
Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family. It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.
How far would you go?
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
Get ready for a thrilling, addictive novel about marriage, betrayal, and the secrets that push us to the edge in Sally Hepworth’s The Soulmate.
There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.
When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral…Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?
And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate…lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
Thank you for reading my book club discussion questions and as always, happy reading! 📕
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