1. Until the Next Time begins with a dedication to “all those with eyes that see and ears that hear…You might not find the answers you look for in these pages, but perhaps they will help you to remember.” Having finished the novel, what do you think that means?
2. Anne says to Sean, “The truth is always written in plain sight, even if it’s between the lines an’ not on ’em” (page 213). What message is she trying to send to Sean? What do you think the author is saying about the nature of truth?
3. Most of the novel’s story is set in Ireland. How did the Irish backdrop and that country’s turbulent history enhance the story for you?
4. Both of the phrases “right of passage” and “rite of passage” are used in the novel in different ways. How do they apply to the same events, and how are they applied with different levels of meaning at different times?
5. As a piece of historical fiction, Until the Next Time centers on events that actually occurred, including Black Friday, Bloody Sunday, the bombing of the Killyhevlin Hotel, the Battle of the Bogside, and so on. How does the factual basis give credibility to the narrative? Does the use of historical accuracy make you more or less interested in finding out how much of the rest of the story may or may not be factual?
6. At one point in the novel, Kate says, “Fiction is just the lie we make up to reveal a greater truth” (page 266), and at the end of the novel, Sean tells those readers who may not believe his story, “Just call it fiction.” What do you think Kate means by the first statement? If the first statement is true, does it really matter if the reader decides to call the story fiction?
7. Until the Next Time is told through the eyes of both Michael and Sean, in two different time periods. How does the time period influence the characters’ actions and beliefs? How does Sean evolve throughout the story as he learns about his uncle’s experiences in Ireland? How do his experiences parallel those of Michael?
8. Declan is present in both plots of the novel, past and present. Why do you think the author chose this character to bridge both stories? How does Declan’s development over time parallel the political developments in Ireland?
9. Several times in the novel, different myths and stories are referenced as parables for reincarnation, including the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors (page 352 and 374) and the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty (pages 213 and 374). Do you believe that these stories have any meaning other than the literal one that usually comes to mind? Do you think that the author’s interpretation of these stories is valid?
10. The Novel presupposes that reincarnation is real and that some people are capable of remembering their past lives. If you could remember your past lives, would you want to? If so, would that awareness change the way you live your life? Do you think that if everyone remembered past lives, they would live their lives differently, and would that make the world a better place?
11. It is intimated but never specifically stated that Anne was Bridey in her previous life. How are these women alike? How are they different?
12. Throughout the book the author makes many religious references, including having Michael state that he has begun to see evidence of the old religion everywhere, including within the Catholic Mass. Did that narrative line make you think about religion, or even mythology, in a different way?
13. At the end of the novel, Sean is alone, and the story’s ending is clearly bittersweet. Would it have been more satisfying to have him find Kate? Why? Why not?