The Road to Atlantis – Part 3 (pages 100 – 138)

The Road to AtlantisThe Word On The Street’s Book Club discussion of The Road to Atlantis continues!

This week, book club leader Jenn has questions based on pages 100 – 138. Feel free to use these as a jumping-off point for any other thoughts or questions you may have too.

Welcome to week #3 of discussion for The Road to Atlantis by Leo Brent Robillard! We are over halfway through the book now, and I hope you are pacing yourself for the end! This week we will be looking at pages 100 to 138 (the chapter entitled “The House on Water Street”).

Again, please feel free to ask questions and to discuss each other’s responses, keeping in mind a culture of respect for everyone’s opinions and beliefs.


We’ve jumped ahead ten years now, and the characters we have grown to know in the previous pages have had some pretty significant changes in their lives. David is now working at the Dairy as a counter clerk, Anne is now with Danny but working for another cabinet minister, and Matty finally comes into his own as a character.

Discussion Questions:

  1. “He fell in love with the trains, the stations, and the tiny worlds people created. It all seemed so safe and contained and self-sufficient.”  David has, we learn, lost touch with his family and his previous life over course of the ten years. How then does his foray into the world of modern trains demonstrate his new reality? What do you think his new relationship with trains and need for control – previously a trait most demonstrated by Anne –  says about him and about his personality?
  1. This is the chapter where Matty becomes known to us – what surprised you most/least about his development? What is your feeling about his relationship with Ashley – an older, more confident female? Is she a substitute for the relationship he might have had with his sister?
  1. Anne and David seem to have changed roles in this chapter, with Anne being the person on the edge and close to snapping. After ‘moving on’ with her life, why do you think she still feels the need to self-medicate through drugs, exercise and diet? What does her reaction to Matty’s announcement at the end of the chapter tell us about her?

2 thoughts on “The Road to Atlantis – Part 3 (pages 100 – 138)

  1. I think David feels that his life has gotten out of control after losing his previous life and his family. Although he seems to have some sort of a routine in place, it’s nothing like what he was used to and I can imagine that feels chaotic to him even after so long and so decides to pour his attention into model trains which are one thing that is always “certain…his set-up will always look like it did when he left it and will unfold as he imagined it. I think it’s also interesting to remember that his new reality and need for control was all set in motion by his complete loss of control and composure in the classroom so many years prior.

    In terms of what was learned about Matty, I definitely was surprised. In all the upheaval of his childhood and how poorly his parents handled the loss of Nat, I expected him to grow up rebellious and slightly cold toward, at the very least, his parents. Instead, he is still considerate and caring on many levels. Although he clearly isn’t an angel, his rebellious moments are no worse than that of many teens.

    Anne’s development is intriguing to me. I think that she needs to self-medicate even after ‘moving on’ because she has never really dealt with her problems. She seems to be taking a very “bandage over a bullet hole” approach to healing herself, thinking that if she builds the ‘perfect’ life and makes herself look ‘perfect’ then she will magically be happy and things will fix themselves. While this is a common error made by many people everyday, the negative effects of this mind-set and idea that when things are perfect we’ll be happy are just augmented by her long-standing suffering and suppressed feelings after her loss.

  2. I like your observation about “bandage over bullet hole” in regards to Anne – she is very much an enigma still and I think I have more sympathy for David and Matty now than I might have expected. Although Matty is clearly looking for a substitute for his older sister in many ways, I also think that his actions are pretty typical — shocking, really, when you realize how controlling his mother could have been. David’s submersion into the railway building also gives him a community that I think he enjoys. I never had the impression that he enjoyed his teaching colleagues, and he has made some good friendships with his train friends.

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