Pewter Rose Press

Ephraim's Eyes Discussion Topics

Ephraim's Eyes

  • Why does the narrator tell his story in the way that he does?

  • In what way does the nesting of the Russian Dolls act as a metaphor for the story, and for the collection as a whole?

Grifola Frondosa

  • What does the knowledge of mycology add to the story?

  • At the end of the story, Carol is trying to imagine an answer; what could that be?

417 Feet

  • Does a shift in perspective help to resolve some issues?

Word Problems

  • Why has the author used Word Problems in this story?

  • Does it add or detract from this story?

Speckled Hen

  • What is the Speckled Hen problem?

  • Why is it important in this story?

Man in the Box

  • How does the author use the theme of escape throughout the Man in the Box story?

  • Who escapes and who is trapped?

  • How does the arrival of the boy's father affect the shop owner?


  • What role does storytelling play for the narrator?

  • What role do facts play?

  • Where else in the collection does the gathering of facts work with, or create tension with, the telling of stories? To what ends or effects?

16 Planets

  • Does the narrator succeed in holding onto his sanity?

Earth-One, Earth-Two

  • To what extent is the final word of this story meant sincerely?

  • To what extent is it meant ironically, with regard to the theme of speed?

Speculative Geography

  • How does the author grapple with the anguish of caring for a severely ill child?

Arrivals and Departures

  • In what way does the narrator's mother adopt the kind of Zen mindfulness or presence that is meant to be cultivated by sitting meditation? In what way does she depart from it?

  • Is the life of Zen contemplation a luxury?

  • The narrator loses patience with what he sees as mystic mumbo-jumbo. Is he right to do so?


  • How does the Acknowledgements story tie in with other stories in the collection?

  • Does it necessarily say anything about the author?

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