Aimee Liu

Novelist, Essayist, Teacher

Cloud Mountain Reading Guide

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Hope’s mixed-race ancestry influence her decision to marry Paul?
  2. How does Paul’s revolutionary zeal affect his decision to marry Hope?
  3. Why does Paul discourage Hope from writing articles based on the stories he tells her?
  4. What does Paul mean when he calls the politics of the early Chinese Republic a “mirror game”?
  5. Do Hope and Paul share the same view of Dr. Sun Yat-sen as hero of the Chinese Revolution?
  6. Why does Jin become estranged from his father, even as he grows closer to Hope?
  7. Why does Hope feel that she can neither trust nor ignore her friend Sarah?
  8. Why does Sarah say that race matters more in Shanghai than anywhere else?
  9. Why does Hope hate Paul’s pet phrase, “mei fatse”?
  10. What does Paul mean when he calls Hope his “middle ground”?
  11. Is Hope’s relationship with Stephen Mann an indication of her weakness or her strength?
  12. Why does Nai-li insist that Hope be present for her death and funeral?
  13. Does Borodin trap Paul, or does Paul allow himself to be placed under house arrest in Wuchang?
  14. Why can’t Hope reveal her true role in Paul’s rescue?
  15. When does Hope decide what her reply to Paul’s 1939 letter must be?