Thursday, February 18, 2010

March 2010 - Quentins by Maeve Binchy (2002)

Discussion Questions:

  • General impressions. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  • This book is a compilation of vignettes, bringing together various characters and their stories under one roof, or novel. There are Martin and his son Jody; Maggie; Drew; Mon; Yvonne, Frank and his three daughters; Laura; and Quentin himself. Which characters and their stories do you find most compelling? Which characters do you come to care most about?
  • What kind of character is Ella—how would you describe her? Why is she drawn to Quentins as the locale for her documentary?
  • How does Quentins reflect the new Dublin, a city burgeoning with new-found wealth in the 1990s? How has the restaurant and its clientele changed to reflect the new Dublin?
  • If you've read some of Binchy's other works how do you feel about the reappearance of some of the characters in this novel—Signora and Aidan (from Evening Class); Tom, Cathy, Simon and Maud (from Scarlett Feather); as well as Ria (from Tara Road)? Do you feel the characters have the same vibrancy they evinced in those other works?
  • Does Binchy's technique—of separate narratives linked together by a single location or individual—feel unified to you...or disjointed? Do you enjoy moving from character to character and learning their individual stories? Or do you prefer to follow the story of one central character?
  • Maeve Binchy is known for her gift of rich characterization. However, episodic structures, such as used in this work, risk presenting under-developed rather than fully-developed characters. In your opinion, does Binchy succeed in creating well-rounded, life-like characters in Quentins...or not?
  • What about the side storyline of the missing money? Does that create a degree of suspense?
  • What do you think the future holds for Ella's relationship with Derry King?
  • In what way can this be seen as a coming-of-age story? What does Ella come to learn about herself and/or the world by the end of the novel?
  • Do you have a favorite restaurant that you have celebrated in over the years? How did it become your favorite? What is it like?
  • If you could go to any restaurant in the world and have a free meal, where would you go?
  • If you could own and operate a restaurant and had unlimited capital to start, what would your restaurant be like? What kind of food would you serve? atmosphere? entertainment?What would you name it? Where would it be? Who would be at your grand opening?

(some questions come from

Menu: "Quentins Early Bird Special"

parsnip and apple soup- Karen

potato and leek soup - Chandra

Irish farm bread (Barm Brack) - Thea
drinks and dessert - Jen

* If we have a large group (8+) maybe someone wants to bring Irish Soda Bread as well. I will include that recipe in the selection just in case.

Meeting Details: we are meeting at Jen's house on March 25th at 7:30, with discussion to begin at 8:00. Please note that this is the LAST Thursday of the month as the second last Thursday falls during the March Break.

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