Discussion Questions

1. How do you think the author settled on this title?

2. Are the details and dialogue believable? Is the author’s recall that good? Discuss the relation between credibility, particulars of memory, and perspective of hindsight.

3. How might events have unfolded if God’s Holding Paddock hadn’t been part of the author’s New Zealand experience? What if the universe had only handed her Adrian at the butcher counter of life? Or vice versa?

4. Can you reconcile the author’s upbringing and temperament as a child with her wild leap to New Zealand at fifty-one?

5. To what extent were the author’s choices affected by her love of Kiwi landscape and culture? Could the story have unfolded in her own backyard in Kansas City? Is New Zealand a pivotal character in its own right?

6. Consider the views from the windows in the story: nose to nose with the next-door neighbor and the orange woman in Kansas City; over the paddock and Ngaere’s Dairy at Taurikura, out to Whangarei Harbor; glimpses of nature from the secluded house on Darch Point Road. Are there other recurring themes in the story?

7. Can you imagine yourself embarking on a journey like this? Knowing what she knows now, do you think the author would have bolted to New Zealand in the first place? Or extended her stay (two critical choices).

8. What impact might the author’s leap to New Zealand have had on her daughter, nineteen years old at the time?

9. Do you think it was cathartic for the author to write this story?

10. Is this book more Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (a 1974 philosophical odyssey by Robert Pirsig,) or Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love—with sheep? Or neither? If you haven’t read these books, how does it compare to other memoirs you know?