1. Tomorrow begins, "You're asleep, my angels,
I assume." What is the effect of reading a narrative that is
addressed, specifically, to someone else? Why might Graham Swift
have chosen this narrative structure? How would the effect of the
novel be different if it were addressed to a different
2. Why have Paula and Mike Hook decided to wait until their
children are sixteen to reveal a secret they have kept for the
twins' entire lives?
3. How are Kate and Nick likely to react to the news they are to
receive just after the novel ends? Are there clues in the novel
that suggest how they will receive the revelation about their
4. Paula often remarks that she expects to be judged by her
children. How should Kate and Nick judge their parents?
How should readers of the novel judge them? Has their
sixteen-year-long deception been a responsible or a selfish choice,
in your opinion?
5. Tomorrow is an unusual novel in that it
consists of the buildup to an event - the revelation - that readers
do not get to witness. What is the effect of anticipating but never
realizing this scene? Is it frustrating? Or is it, in fact, more
satisfying not to know, for sure, what happens? Why might Swift
have chosen to leave his novel open-ended?
6. Why does Paula feel it is important to tell Nick and Kate so
much about their family history? What qualities of feeling emerge
most powerfully from her story?
7. How is Swift able to create such suspense and interest in the
absence of certain traditional narrative devices, such as including
more than one character's point of view? What does he gain through
this unique form?
8. How does Swift so convincingly inhabit the voice and
consciousness of his female narrator, Paula? What aspects of a
woman's and of a mother's way of thinking and feeling does he
represent especially vividly?
9. There are aspects of both comedy and tragedy in Paula's
story. What are some of the ways in which she draws out the humor
and the sadness of various situations?
10. Tomorrow is very particularly about one
family, but in what ways is it about all families?
11. Why does Paula sleep with the veterinarian? Do the motives
she herself gives for doing so make sense? Why would she confess
this now, to her children and her husband?
12. Paula asks, "And isn't it the point, or one of the points,
of this bedtime story, you must be thinking, to underscore the
proposition, never mind proposals, that this man lying here and me
were always meant for each other, as they say? We were meant to be.
And would you yourselves, who have such an intimate interest in the
matter, have written the story differently?." Why do you think this
is one of the main points Paula wants to make? Why does she call
her story a "bedtime story?" How might her children have written it
13. What does Paula's story reveal about the generational
differences and cultural changes that have taken place since the
era of her parents up to the era of her children?
14. What does the novel suggest about how we deal with mortality
as well as birth? How does this relate to Paula's - and our own -
thinking about the future?
15. Do you think these characters are happy? Why, or why not? Is
happiness important to them?
16. Why do you think Swift chose to make Nick and Kate twins?
How does this impact the family dynamic? How is being a twin
similar to or different from being part of a romantic couple? And
how does coupledom affect one's personal identity?
17. Paula works for an art dealer, and Mike is a biologist. How
do the worlds of art and science tie in to the themes of the
18. Paula ends her story, as day is dawning and rain falling, by
saying: "Some little bedraggled bird I can't identify, which no
doubt has a nest somewhere which is getting drenched too, is
singing its heart out. Perhaps I'm wrong, but sometimes mothers can
just tell things. In any case, they only want the best for their
children." In what ways can these final sentences be read? Do they
say more than they seem to be saying? Why might Swift end the novel
in this way?