Discussion questions for book groups
ARAFURA – Blood, the Wet and Tears
- What is unique about the setting of the book and how does it enhance or take away from the story?
2. What main ideas—themes—do you think the author explores? Does the author use any symbols to reinforce the main ideas?
3. Stories need conflict and problems. What are the major conflicts in Blood, the Wet and Tears?
4. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? What things would you do differently?
5. Stories remind us that we are mysteries, not only to ourselves, but to others. Which characters do you particularly admire or dislike? Why?
6. Do any characters grow or change during the course of the novel? If so, in what way?
7. What advice would you give a particular character?
8. If you could jump in at any point in this book and become a part of the storyline, where would it be?
9. Speaking of jumping:
‘“That was stupid.” Kat paddled to stay afloat, her skin yellow-green in the deep, crystal water. Close up, Adam’s wet eyelashes appeared longer.
His hair plastered itself in a nerdy way over his forehead and Kat suppressed the urge to tell him.
“Jump with me,” he challenged.’
Why do you think Adam does this?
10. Did you feel any particular emotions reading this book?
11. Can you pick out a passage that strikes you as particularly enjoyable or interesting?
12. Given that Arafura is a series, would you change the ending?
13. ‘I was standing, you were there, two worlds collided..’ Never Tear Us Apart Lyrics –
Do you believe in love at first sight?
14. ‘And I’ll shout it to the blue summer sky, and we may never meet again, so shed your skin and let’s get started. And you will throw your arms around me. I dreamed of you at nighttime, and I watched you in your sleep. I met you in high places, I touched your head and touched your feet. So if you disappear out of view, you know I will never say goodbye…’ Lyrics – Throw Your Arms Around Me,
by Hunters and Collectors.
Without vulnerability, to ‘shed your skin’, there’s no real intimacy in a loving relationship. Do you agree or disagree? Why do you think some men find it hard to share their weaknesses, to show their real sides? What might you tell them?
15. Do you believe passion is doomed to eventually fade? Is it inevitable that passion in a relationship develops into something else?
16. ‘Thorn in my side. You know that’s all you ever were. A bundle of lies. You know that’s all that it was worth… I should have known better, but I trusted you at first. I should have known better, but I got what I deserved…’ Lyrics – Thorn In My Side, by
Sometimes taking an emotional risk by loving someone doesn’t work out, and it’s heartbreaking. Do you agree or disagree that, ‘It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?’
16. What is your opinion about men with ‘broken wings’, as per Susan’s author talk here.
ARAFURA – Unfinished Business
- What are the major conflicts in Unfinished Business?
- Is the story realistic? Like a good movie, does the writing compel you to suspend belief? Does it matter to the story line?
- Think of all the ways one of the characters changes in the book.
- If you could jump in at any point in this book and become a part of the storyline, where would it be?
- What advice would you give a particular character?
- What character do you like most? Why? The least, and why?
- Can you pick out a passage that strikes you as particularly enjoyable or interesting?
- Did you feel any emotions while you read this novel?
- Is the ending satisfying? Would you change the ending?
- What makes Kat and Adam’s relationship different to Kat and Lucas’s?
- ‘Vulnerability can be an act of courage, a source of strength.’ – Robert Masters
In what different ways are Adam and Kat vulnerable in the story, do you think? Does it make them stronger?
- In Unfinished business, Sophie (Kat’s friend) learns that people are sometimes attracted to ‘types’ that resemble their parents when choosing partners, because parents’ faces become positively imprinted on babies’ brains. Think of the couples you know. Do you think there’s any truth to this?
- Femininity and masculinity (one’s gender) is rooted in social rather than biological influences. In modern Western civilization, men are discouraged from expressing their feminine side, and women from expressing masculine tendencies.
But all men have some so-called feminine traits, and all women have some so-called masculine traits. When, in Unfinished Business, do you think Kat and Adam show harder or softer sides of themselves?
- Conflicted, suffering characters show us what it means to be human. Fiction helps us imagine that things can be different. What books (fiction or non-fiction) have helped you understand others’ suffering, or opened your eyes to something?
15. Do you think the two songs in the book resonate with the emotions of the characters at the time? Click on the links to hear.
Propane Nightmares by Pendulum, Adam’s jukebox choice in the bar at the Waterfront:
In the last scene of book, Kat sings some lyrics from Hysteria, by Muse.
16. One of the characters mentions their ‘identity isn’t tied to their career’. Younger men and women want to be seen as more than their day job. What factors might have caused this shift in society?
17. The truth of what we most fear comes to life in haunting dream images and metaphors.
In her dream:
‘Kat scrabbled away from the edge of the asphalt with renewed desperation, her nails breaking, abrading the skin on her hands and knees in a last ditch attempt to escape. But Fahad’s face appeared out of the chasm’s shadows, a hairy arm reaching up to drag her in.’
Do you have any recurring dreams?