Malcolm Orange Disappears: Book Group Questions

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Quite a few of you, (and you may well be lying to make me feel good), have expressed your intention to host a Malcolm Orange Disappears book group. It’s cold outside. It gets dark rather early. I can think of nothing better than opening a bottle of wine and talking about the People’s Committee for Remembering Songs with a few other bookish people. I know you’ll all have your own opinions on the book but, just to get you started, here’s a few questions to get you chatting about Malcolm. Let me know how you get on and I’d love to see some pictures.

1. What did you enjoy about Malcolm Orange Disappears?
2. What aspects of the book did you dislike or struggle with?
3. To what extent is Malcolm Orange disappearing and what does his disappearance represent?
4. What are the overarching themes of the novel?
5. Did you have a particular favourite character and if so what specifically drew you to this character?
6. To what extent is Malcolm Orange Disappears an American novel? Would the book have worked if it was set somewhere else?
7. Martha Orange is a particularly complicated character. Did you find her likeable? How responsible is she for her own circumstances?
8. How is the process of aging portrayed in Malcolm Orange Disappears? Do you think older people are pitied or celebrated within the novel?
9. Is Cunningham Holt a tragic figure or a hero within the novel?
10. The flying children passages are some of the most powerful and oft-commented upon sections of the book. What do you think the flying children represent?
11. Malcolm Orange Disappears is not a simple, linear story but instead seems to encompass a number of short stories. Did the plot succeed in holding together all these stories? Which stories particularly resonated with you?
12. A lot happens in the final chapter of the novel. Did you feel the ending offered a satisfactory sense of resolution? How could it have been improved upon?

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