Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal certain aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not finished reading Calling Invisible Women, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this reading guide.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. What do you think of Clover’s life early on in the book? Is it one with which you can identify? Do you think her relationship with her husband is normal? What about with her children? She seems outwardly happy and well adjusted; do you think that she is?
2. When Clover realizes she is invisible, she is frightened. How might you feel if you became invisible and your family didn’t notice? Or do you think they would? Her best friend, Gilda, notices immediately. What does that say to you regarding family vs. friends? If you were Clover, do you think it would be the same?
3. Do you think Arthur is a normal (if overworked) husband? Do you think he truly loves Clover and is invested in his children? His job?
4. Clover makes an appointment with a doctor to attempt to understand her condition, yet the doctor does not notice that she is invisible or even really listens to her. Have you ever suspected that a physician (or person in authority) wasn’t really listening to you? How did you react?
5. What do you think precipitated Clover’s act of bravery in the parking lot? Have you ever wanted to do something like that but were afraid?
6. Finding a group of women who were also invisible was of huge benefit to Clover. Have you ever been a part of a support group, whether formal or informal? What did you get out of that experience?
7. Nick is two years out of college, back living at home, and depressed. Can you identify with his situation? Do you have family in similar situa- tions? Do you think he’s overreacting?
8. Clover’s mother-in-law, Irene, is a font of wisdom. What do you think of her statements, “invisibility can be an impediment or a power depending on how you decide to use it” and, “perhaps that’s the lesson in all of this, not who can see you, but who you can learn to see?”
9. Even though Arthur doesn’t see Clover, their romantic life becomes in some ways more powerful. Why?
10. Why do you think Clover’s day on the school bus with Lila was so meaningful to both of them?
11. What was your reaction to Evie’s character? Is she spoiled or merely in the solipsism of great beauty and youth? How do you think this compares to Vlad and his relationship to his invisible mother?
12. Do you think that Clover’s day in Arthur’s office helped her understand his situation and the daily stresses he faces? Have you ever wanted to see what the daily life of your significant other was like?
13. Do you identify with Clover’s experience of invisibility? What do you feel was the most important lesson Clover’s invisibility taught the rest of the characters?