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Book club guide: The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews

Author: Canadian Living

Community & Current Events

Book club guide: The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews

1. What is the significance of the novel's title? How did it strike you before reading the book, and then afterwards?

2. What is your favourite part of The Flying Troutmans? Is it also the funniest part?

3. To what extent is Hattie looking for something, as opposed to running away from things?

4. Discuss the portrayal of mental illness in The Flying Troutmans.

5. If you have read any other novels by Miriam Toews, how do they compare to The Flying Troutmans?

6. Who is your favourite character in the novel, and why?

7. When Min whispers to Hattie from her hospital bed, what is she asking her to do?

8. Consider the importance of one or more of the following in the book: marriage, music, siblings, community, depression, family, death, basketball, love, children, loss, eccentricity, acceptance, adolescence . . . or choose a subject of your own.

9. How do Hattie's feelings about Min change over the course of the novel?

10. How does Miriam Toews interweave the past and present in The Flying Troutmans, and to what purpose?

11. What are your thoughts on Hattie's ex-boyfriend, Marc?

12. About Min:
"In the world of children, Min was a genius, she could navigate it in her sleep. She could read book after book to them, sing song after song, soothe them for hours, tenderly and humorously cajole them out of the tantrums, build cities and empires with them in the sandbox for an entire day and answer a million questions in a row without ever losing her cool. She had conceived them, given birth to them and nursed them into life. But out there, in that other world, she was continually crashing into things." (p.175)

How does this passage add to your sense of Min? Is it typical, or unusual? Does it tell us something important about Hattie?


Page 1 of 2 – Find three more thought-provoking questions for your book club on page 2.

13. About Thebes:
"Thebes had found a soulmate in this homicidal cosmonaut. Impeccably, somberly united in their mutual, impossible longing to live in places that weren't real, they high-fived and punched and slapped and then gazed for a while out the window at the real world, the one they'd had it with." (p.195)

How does this description enhance or alter your sense of Thebes' personality?

14. Logan on Min:
"Even when she gets better, he said, it's for like three days or maybe a week and then it's over, she gives up, it's just so . . . I think Thebes and I are on our own." (p.229)

How is this comment important to the book, and to understanding Logan? Do you think it's true?

15. The novel begins, "Yeah, so things have fallen apart." Are they back together again by the end of the book, or not? Did the ending come as a surprise to you?

16. Are you recommending The Flying Troutmans to friends? Why, or why not?


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Book club guide: The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews

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