Reading Guides

Everything Was Good-bye
Gurjinder Basran
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THE YOUNGEST OF SIX daughters raised by a widowed mother, Meena is a young woman struggling to find her place in the world. Originally from India, her family still holds on to many old-world customs and traditions that seem stifling to a young North American woman. She knows that the freedom experienced by others is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life dictated by tradition. Against her mother's wishes, she falls for a young man named Liam who asks her to run away with him. Meena must then make a painful choice—one that will lead to stunning and irrevocable consequences.

Heartbreaking and beautiful, Everything Was Good-bye is an unforgettable story about family, love, and loss, and the struggle to live in two different cultural worlds.


Gurjinder Basran

Gurjinder Basran studied creative writing at Simon Fraser University and at the Banff Centre. She lives in Delta, British Columbia, with her husband and two sons. Everything Was Good-bye is her first novel.


  1. The death of Meena’s father left the family in a tough situation—a single mother struggling to raise six daughters in a new country. Discuss how her father’s death shaped Meena’s relationship with her mother.

  2. Meena is the youngest of six daughters and in many ways has experienced more freedom than her other sisters. Do you think they feel any jealousy or resentment toward her?

  3. Liam confides in Meena that he went to see his mother after she had abandoned the family. Do you think that was a mistake on his part?

  4. Meena’s sisters Serena and Harj both experience what could be seen as a betrayal of trust by their mother. Serena is sent home to her husband who assaulted her, and Harj’s insistence that she didn’t willingly get into a car full of men fell on deaf ears. How do you explain Serena’s and Harj’s different reactions to this betrayal?

  5. Marriage plays a large role in the lives of many of the characters. What does the author reveal about each of the characters through these relationships?

  6. Before they’re married, Sunny admits to Meena that he still cares for his ex-girlfriend, Jasmine, and that his parents wanted to keep him away from her. In what ways do you think his feelings for Jasmine affected his feelings for Meena? Do you think he would have ever loved Meena?

  7. When Meena learns that she is carrying Liam’s child, she tries to hide the truth from Sunny. Could she have handled the situation better? What would you do in her position?

  8. When Meena unexpectedly runs into Harj at the store, they agree to sit down for coffee. During this reunion, there are a number of awkward moments with many things left unsaid. Do you think Harj will ever reconcile with her mother? Is the bond between sisters unbreakable?

  9. Do you believe that Meena will one day marry Kal? Discuss what reasons Meena might have to change her mind? What could be her reasons to continue their current relationship?