Several people have asked me to provide some talking points when they discuss Cold Sunflowers at their book clubs - I have thought of a few below.
I would be really interested to hear what your group thought of the book and how the discussion went.
If you are near Colchester and would like me to come along then give me a shout (further afield too - I could do with a break!!)
1) Does Raymond have a weak or strong personality?
- He can't get off the bus.
- Bullies pick on him.
- Stands up to his dad - doesn’t want a job in London.
- Persists with his friendship with Ernest despite others’ negativity.
2) Did the story need the epilogue? - it was always going to be there when i started the book - it brings back the seagull, ties up Dougal Hyland, the name Ernest gives Raymond and implies Raymond and Aimee are together - but other people have said the book would end nicely at the final chapter, with the image of Ernest racing down the hill.
3) The book is set in 1972 - when things were a little more innocent - could the Raymond /Ernest relationship work now?
4) What are the parallels between Raymond and Ernest's lives
5) What were your 'poster scenes', mine were:
- The Persied meteor shower.
- The general riding the horse.
- The farmhouse explosion.
- Running down the hill.
- When Raymond meets Aimee in the snow.
6) Did you opinion of the characters change?
7) Do you identify with any of the characters?
8) It was originally written as a screen play - who would play the leading roles?
9) Does the Cold Sunflower analogy work - ie. Raymond is in the shadows, he doesn’t take any chances - He keeps his Sunflowers by the wall where they are safe but out of the sun - he says 'in the shade they're safe.' It’s only when he meets Ernest that he moves them (and his life changes too)
Have fun - hope the meeting goes well