1) Did you think the author was correct in his estimation of the sort of people who collect things like mini-nooses and bloodstained carpet remnants? Explain.
2) The author makes the point that the main character's childhood was something less than an idyllic one. His rich descriptions bolster his theme. (eg, "The stew was Dickensian in its thinness;" "Mother's garments were so threadbare that they looked not like clothing, but wisps of smoke or steam that somehow clung to her emaciated frame;" "Although he tried to make out it was sport, our 'roadkill for dinner again tonight' excursions began to have a wearing effect on father, who more and more was just scraping up the first bit of carrion he found.") Do you think the family was really poor or just "down and out in Beverley Hills"?
3) Once we meet the manly Hemingway-type author character, how does he foreshadow the events to come, especially the turning point of the novel, where it is revealed "Hemingway" is actually the result of a very successful sex change operation? Do you find his backstory conjures images from the Marquis de Sade?
4) How does the author handle the sex? Are his symbols sometimes perhaps too heavy handed? Why do you think he had his hero sleep on a beached whale all night? What did you think of the stream of consciousness dream centering on the "blow hole." Do you think the whale is a symbol for the eternal question "Does size matter?"
5) What is the "Hemingway" character really killing when he plays video games? Is he someone that you'd like to get to know? Do you think the hero Albert likes him more or less after he realizes that he is a tranny?
6) As sex pretty much takes over the second half of the book, are you surprised that your teacher let you read it? Do you talk about it out of school, wondering if the author is as "hot" as parts of the book . . . especially the scene in the hot tub with the eels and the ten pounds of kiwi merangue? Mmmmmm. Are you getting hot right now, just picturing it?
7) Oooooh, what about the scene with the faux leather couch, the ermine coat, the ostrich feathers, the soccer team and the virgin olive oil? Unnghh! Do you really want to go hunting for literary meaning in the middle of that pleasurefest? Aaaahhhhhhh . . . What do you think the author was saying by having all those balls flying around?
8) Would you like my digits?
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/finch.html]
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