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Book Club Wed May 05 2010

The Order of Odd-Fish Discussion Questions

Below are the questions we'll use to start our discussion of James Kennedy's The Order of Odd-Fish on Monday, May 10. I'm looking forward to hearing your reactions to the fantastical Eldritch City, the uppity cockroaches and Jo Larouche's battle with the legend of the All-Devouring Mother. Don't forget that James will also join us for our discussion, so come prepared to ask him any questions you have on the book. New members are always welcome to join us at meetings at the Book Celler: 7:30pm at 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave.

  • Jo spends much of the story trying to defy the pronouncement that she is dangerous. Why is it important to her to prove this wrong? How does Jo both live up to and reject this claim?
  • Ken Kiang syas that "any idiot can be good...but it would take a special kind of be thorougly, intentionally, EVIL." Does this belief about good and evil ring true? Why does Ken decide to be evil and why does he fail so miserably at it? How does this compare with Jo's fight to be unequivocally good?
  • Eldritch City's inhabitants are obsessed with rituals and traditions. What purposes do these rituals and traditions serve? Do they have meaning beyond their rhetorical significance? Think of the dueling scene and the ritualized insults each fighter hurls at the other--how is this a reflection of how rituals and traditions work in our society?
  • Why does Fiona take it upon herself to be Jo's adversary? What is she trying to prove? Why does Jo feel the need to prove her integrity in return? How does Fiona compare to the Belgian Prankster as Jo's antagonist?
  • Does Sir Nils consent to becoming the Belgian Prankster or is he drawn beyond his will? How is this like or unlike Jo's own struggles in becoming the All-Devouring Mother?
  • When Jo visits the Belgian Prankster in his cell, he tells her that she came to him to find out who she is. In what way is this true? What are Jo's true intentions in confronting the Belgian Prankster? Has she fully realized yet why she's there?
  • How do people react when they learn Jo is the All-Devouring Mother? Why do they so quickly turn against her and why is Audrey the only person to help Jo escape? Why does Jo relent and turn herself over to the Silent Sisters after this?
  • Is there a true hero to this story? Is there a true villain? How are the lines between the two blurred?
  • What sort of transformation has Jo, as a character, gone through by the end of the story? How has defeating her legacy allowed her to become a different person and given her a different sense of what "home" is?

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Betsy / May 5, 2010 9:46 AM

My request for this book is still pending at the library. I might have to buy this one!

Veronica / May 5, 2010 2:20 PM

If this is the Betsy that I met at Open Books, you should try the store - I know James dropped off a few copies when he was there for the opening. It's definitely worth buying. (And if this is a different Betsy, you should still try the Open Books store!)

James Kenndy / May 6, 2010 12:10 AM

These are great questions, Veronica, and I'm looking forward to Monday!

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