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If you have any book or author you would like a list of book club questions from, please let us know! So far we have questions for The Fabrications and The Egret. If we get many more, I will make downloadable PDFs. Have fun reading and mingling!
Discussion questions for The Egret by Russell Hill
Here are some suggested questions that a book group might examine after reading The Egret. Of course, there are other questions that might arise, but these questions are presented as a starting point.
- The author has crafted a protagonist who has few redeeming features. Why do you suppose he presented the reader with a protagonist that is so unlikeable?
- What’s the first clue that Winslow, the rich man, will survive his forced entry into the ocean?
- A what point does the Sheriff’s detective begin to suspect that the protagonist is involved in the violent events (the swim that Winslow survives, the death of the young man in West Marin).
- Why do you suppose the author left the protagonist unnamed?
- At what point is the protagonist suddenly able, once again, to work as a carpenter? He claimed that he had turned to building birdhouses because he “couldn’t hammer a nail straight,” and then he returns to work where he apparently does a good job. What signaled that change for him?
- At what point does the protagonist reflect on what he has done that convinces the reader that he is so obsessed with the idea of revenge that nothing will deter him?
- Why the inclusion of the scenes with the old Basque sheepherder?
- Are you satisfied with the way this story ends?Why or why not?
The Fabrications by Baret Magarian – Magarian’s Book Club Questions:
- In Chapter 1 the cinema projection room is dark and dingy, whereas Lilliana’s shop is filled with colour and animation – what other contrasts are there in the first chapter in terms of setting, meaning and atmosphere?
- In the third chapter Oscar and Bloch go swimming – Bloch’s perception of Oscar is at first alien as he cannot see him while he is submerged in the water – does Bloch know Oscar at all in fact? In what sense can Oscar be said to be Bloch’s friend? Or is Oscar really Bloch’s shadow and reflection?
- In the first part of the novel Najette emerges as a person of moral integrity. But can she also be said to be selfish and egotistical?
- In Chapter 8 Oscar encounters Ryan Rees for the first time. How is this meeting orchestrated? What is the atmosphere of the library in which they meet like?
- Bloch’s story starts to come true – what details from the story manifest in reality (throughout the whole book)?
- Is Webster really no more than an idiot ?
- Oscar’s visit to the brothel seems to be a descent into an unsuspected underworld – after Oscar emerges from it, is he any different? (Remember that the events he described in chapter 9 took place earlier in the book, between chapters seven and eight. He visits Bloch at the beginning of chapter 9, after having been to the brothel.)
- What is your impression of Bloch’s father, Samuel?
- The Sopso family dinner rendezvous in Chapter 12 is an amalgamation of different elements – farce, tragedy, trashy sub-plot. Does this amalgamation work?
- What symbolic function does the renovation of Mr Grindel’s apartment building have?
- The Duchamp Prize Banquet is incredibly farcical and absurd but does it have a more serious side ?
- Is the party in chapter 17 the kind that you would like to be invited to?
- In what sense can Oscar in Part Three be said to be sympathetic? Is his transformation the making or the breaking of him?
- What do you think of Ryan Rees? Is he completely horrible or does he have any redeeming sides?
- What do you think of the way Alastair Layor and Lilliana meet ?
- Is Vernon Lexicon a manifestation of one possible alternative destiny for Oscar?
- Do you find Bloch’s breakdown to be understandable in any way?
- The orgy sequence is followed by a riot – is there an implication in the book that sex and violence are linked?
- When Najette and Oscar make love what is the nature of that love?
- How is Egham evoked in the book?
- How is Oscar and Bloch’s reunion staged?
- How would you interpret the story that Béla tells Oscar in the final chapter? What is its relevance to the rest of the book?
- How would you interpret the ending of the novel?