We’re so excited you’re here! The copies of Wolf Whistle available through our program have discussion questions in the backs of the books, but we wanted to share some of them here for those of you that might be reading alone with a different edition.
1. Wolf Whistle is based on an actual racial incident in Mississippi. How does knowing this affect your reading of the novel?
2. The writer makes use of rather unorthodox presentations of events. We experience certain events through the “voices” of pigeons and buzzards, and see them through the magic eye in the swamp. How do these “magical” points of view affect the overall vision of the book?
3. Solon Gregg is as despicable a villain as we are likely to find in literature. Most readers, however, do find points of sympathy. Did you ever sympathize with Solon? Why or why not?
4. Lord Montberclair says, “Decent whitefolks have always needed the likes of you” when he hires Solon Gregg to kill Bobo. Why does a rich, powerful man like Montberclair need someone like Solon?
5. Later in the novel, Lady Montberclair and Alice Conroy seem likely to become friends. What draws them together? How does their bond differ from that of Lord Montbeclair and Solon?
6. Bobo, who sets the events into motion in Wolf Whistle, is the one character whose point of view is not represented in the novel. Why is that?
7. Though Bobo is the center of events, Alice Conroy is the main character. What was your reaction to her teaching methods? What does she teach the children? What does she learn?
8. Lewis Nordan’s writing is greatly influenced by Blues music. Cite some examples of this influence. How does it affect your experience of the story?
9. Wolf Whistle is the story of a tragic event, yet is has very comic elements. What is your reaction to this combination of humor and tragedy?
10. In the novel, as in real life, the murderers are acquitted. Do you think the verdict would be different today? What recent events support your conclusion?
Let us know what you think in the comments below! What was your favorite (or least favorite) part of the book? Favorite quote? Other thoughts?
A .pdf version of the entire reader’s guide, complete with an author interview and further readings, provided by Algonquin Books can be found here.