The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

October 23, 2014

Discussion Questions

My book club recently read THE COLD COLD GROUND, by Adrian McKinty. I led the discussion as the book was my choice, but as I could find no discussion questions on the Internet for this book I had to devise my own. Here are those questions for the use of anyone who feels the need. (And I'm happy to say that the general consensus on this book was positive, and some members have already sought out the next book in the series.)

  1. The story is set in the mid-1980s, during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Were you able to relate to this setting or remember any of that situation? What kind of details did the author include to remind you of the time period?
  2. What is the meaning of the title?
  3. Is there a theme to this book? Discuss the dualities that are juxtaposed throughout the story.
  4. What did you think of the prose? Overblown? Poetic? Visual?
  5. What kind of character is Sean Duffy? Were you able to relate to him? How is he different at the end of the story than when the book began? Are the minor characters as well defined as Sean?
  6. The reality of living with years of random violence and death must have taken a toll on those who survived it. What do you think Sean would be like by the time the worst of The Troubles ended? What do you think would be the most common effect on the people of NI as a whole?
  7. Were you surprised by this book or was it predictable? In what way? Did the ending satisfy you? If not, how would you change the ending? The murders are solved by book's end, but did you still find the ending ambiguous? In what way?
  8. Did you enjoy the humor in this book, or did it not amuse you? Did it seem out of place, TV-like, or true to life? What lines or situations struck you as particularly amusing?
  9. The author wove historical facts and perhaps his own memories into the story. Did any of the history he included surprise you?
  10. Did you come away from this book wanting to read more (or nothing ever again) by this author?

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