Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Book Club Fri Nov 05 2010

The Cradle Discussion Questions

Our last Book Club meeting is this Monday, November 8. We will be meeting at The Book Cellar at 7:30pm to talk about The Cradle by Patrick Somerville. Below are some questions to kick off our discussion. Questions marked with an asterisk are taken from the publisher's reading guide, which you can download in its entirety here.

  • *In your opinion, what is the significance of the cradle?
  • *Renee's story occurs more than a decade after Matt's, and in many ways the two characters exist in different worlds. How are their respective quests similar? How are their journeys different?
  • *Why do you think Matt rips the showerhead out of the wall?
  • *In the novel's first chapter, Marissa claims, "There are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who understand that everything matters and people who don't understand that everything matters". What does she mean by this? Is she serious?
  • *Matt comes to the realization that "the world never just happened but rather was made by people, each and every aspect of it". What does he mean by that, and how does this realization affect his sense of personal responsibility?
  • *Why do you think that, following Matt's return, Marissa never again asked about the cradle?
  • Are the characters and their relationships believable or realistic? Could you identify or relate to any character in particular?
  • The novel has two intersecting storylines that occur more than a decade apart. Was this story structure effective? Why or why not?
  • What was more important, the characters or the plot?
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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

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