4. Discuss the relevance of the title, The Veins of the Ocean. Consider what the author is attempting to say about how the ocean acts as a lifeline for the characters. Find examples in the novel of how the characters are linked to the ocean. What does the title mean to you?
5. One reviewer has written that Engel “understands that exile can be as much an emotional state as a geographical one.” Do you agree or disagree with that assessment? Provide examples of both types of exile found in the novel. How do the characters handle their exile? How do they go about freeing themselves?
6. Consider the role of family in the lives of the characters. In what way is the Castillo family different from your own? In what way are they similar? Discuss the relationship between Reina and Carlito. Give examples of how their relationship might be considered unhealthy.
7. At one point Carlito says, “Religions are just another gang to join for protection” (p.46). What does the author mean by this? What role does Afro-Cuban religion play in the novel? Discuss the spiritual themes and how the traditional stories ...