Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Discussion Guide for Little Beasts

1. What are some key details in the early chapters that lead readers to believe Turnbull is a poor town? 2. What does the narrator’s description of each parents’ reaction to their children attending the evictions say about the three main characters and their upbringing? 3. Why do the kids object so strongly to Motor […]

Discussion Guide for Love Maps

1. At times, Sarah loves painting. Other times, she finds it excruciating and humiliating. Why is she so compelled to paint? Why does she finally stop? Will she start again? 2. After a brief stint as an international pop star, Maya gives up singing to concentrate on real estate. Why? How does Sarah get her […]

Discussion Guide for The Shark Curtain

1. Lily feels safest in her room, and yet it isolates her with her visions and fears. Why does she feel safe there? What is she afraid of? What is YOUR safe place like? 2. It is not uncommon for children to have an imaginary playmate. How is Jesus different?  . . .Do you find […]

Discussion Guide for Changers Book One: Drew

1. Have you ever wished you could wake up as somebody else? If you could be another person for a day, what kind of person would you choose to be? Why? 2. What if you could live as another person for a whole year? Who would you be, and why? What do you think you […]

Discussion Guide for Suitcase City

1. What conventions of genre qualify this book as noir? What elements make it literary fiction? 2. Who is the most interesting and sympathetic character in the novel and why? 3. What opposing views of human nature do the characters hold and whose view, in your opinion, is the most defensible? 4. How does setting […]

Discussion Guide for Pills and Starships

CHARACTER 1. Nat and her little brother, Sam, live in a setting that’s at once more sheltered and more dangerous than the lives many American teenagers lead now. How have they responded to this dramatic dichotomy in their lives? 2. Have the siblings’ responses to their world been similar or dissimilar, and if so how? […]

Discussion Guide for Not for Everyday Use

1. Elizabeth says that as a novelist she relies on her imagination to arrive at essential truths about life.  What does she mean? 2. What opportunities for truth-telling does fiction provide?  In what ways can memoir hamper truth-telling? 3. Elizabeth speaks of her mother’s fear of disobeying the Catholic Church’s prohibition of birth control.  What […]

Discussion Guide for Drifting

1. How is the title Drifting appropriate for the collection? 2. In “The Least of These,” would you describe the name “Dieudonne” as important or sarcastic? 3. Why does Ti Papa resent being likened to his dead father? 4. In “Bereavement Pay,” the employee’s definition of “family” is vastly different from the employer’s. When you […]