Thursday, August 11, 2011

September 2011: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Meeting Details:
We are meeting at Sherrie's house on Thursday, September 15th.  Meeting at 7:30 with discussion to begin at 8:00pm

Menu: Provencal Dinner
avocado and romaine salad - Danielle
provencal vegetable soup - Sherrie
fresh bread - Chandra
winemaker's grape cake - Tessa
drinks - Sherrie

PS.  Provancal cooking uses a lot of fish and seafood; I have gone vegetarian in this meal, but if anyone is inspired to add a little seafood magic to this meal, there are tonnes of great recipes out there that you could experiment with.

Discussion Questions:
(questions taken from the author's website; note that there were 25 multi-part questions on the original list -  over 100 altogether - so I really had to pick and choose and some aspects of the book may not be covered by the questions.)

  1. Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?  Or... which aspects of the book did you enjoy and which did you not enjoy?
  2. How is Ysabel  both historical and a fantasy?  Do you sense that the author is drawing upon elements of myth and history to make observations about the present and past?  How?
  3. Who's story do you think this really is?  Why?
  4. How is this a coming-on-age story for Ned?
  5. What links the two stories in Ysabel?  
  6. What role does setting play in this novel?
  7. Kay makes a lot of contrasts between modern and ancient - give some examples.  Do you think these contrasts make the fantasy elements of the story more or less believable?
  8. What are Phelan and Cadell really fighting for?
  9. We invite our fate, one character tells Ned.  Which characters do you think invite their fate and which are swept along by events?
  10. How does time work in this novel?
  11. Ned's dad is a photographer.  He sees the world differently.  Give some examples.  How does seeing the world differently bring Ned and his dad closer together?
  12. There are references in Ysabel to Guy Gavriel Kay's other novels (specifically The Fionavar Tapestry, which includes The Summer Tree; The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road).  Do you like it when authors include insider references like this?  Are you more or less likely to read the other books now?

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