Queen of the Owls (Paperback)
She Writes Press, 9781631528903, 330pp.
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
About the Author
Praise For Queen of the Owls…
—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times best-selling author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train
“This is a stunner about the true cost of creativity, and about what it means to be really seen. Gorgeously written and so, so smart (and how can you resist any novel that has Georgia O’Keeffe in it?), Probst’s novel is a work of art in itself.”
—Caroline Leavitt, best-selling author of Pictures of You, Is This Tomorrow and Cruel Beautiful World
“An entertaining, psychologically rich story of a sometimes giddy, sometimes painful awakening.”
“Queen of the Owls is a powerful novel about a woman’s relation to her body, diving into contemporary controversies about privacy and consent. A ‘must-read’ for fans of Georgia O’Keeffe and any woman who struggles to find her true self hidden under the roles of sister, mother, wife, and colleague.”
—Barbara Claypole White, best-selling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us
“Probst’s well-written and engaging debut asks a question every woman can relate to: what would you risk to be truly seen and understood? The lush descriptions of O'Keeffe's work and life enhance the story, and help frame the enduring feminist issues at its center.”
—Sonja Yoerg, best-selling author of True Places
“A gifted storyteller, Barbara Linn Probst writes with precision, empathy, intelligence, and a deep understanding of the psychology of a woman’s search for self.”
—Sandra Scofield, author of The Last Draft and Swim: Stories of the Sixties
“Barbara Linn Probst captures the art of being a woman beautifully. Queen of the Owls is a powerful and liberating novel of self-discovery using Georgia O’Keeffe’s life, art, and relationships as a guide.”
—Ann Garvin, best-selling author of I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Did Richard use Elizabeth? What did you think of his declarations about consent and ownership of one’s art? Did Elizabeth have the right to demand that he take down the photographs?
2. A turning point for Elizabeth is when she finds the theme for her dissertation and thus no longer “needs” to pose in order to understand O’Keeffe. She decides to pose anyway. Do you think that her motive for posing actually changes in that moment, or was that her real motive all along? Might she have more than one reason, conscious and subconscious?
3. What do you think of Elizabeth and Ben’s marriage? Were you hoping they might work things out? What would have it taken for that to happen? At what point did you begin to feel that they couldn’t happen? Do you think Elizabeth tried hard enough?
4. Elizabeth juggles many roles, among them wife, mother, sister, and academic. How well do you think she fulfills each of them? Does her understanding of each role change over the course of the story?
5. Do you think O’Keeffe was a feminist? What role does feminist art play in the novel?
6. Elizabeth herself is offered various narratives to elevate or explain what she did. Ultimately she decides to embrace and enact the narrative she wants. Do you think a person can live without some sort of narrative? What does it mean to live an authentic life?