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Book Club Questions for Horse by Geraldine Brooks

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Welcome to our blog post about Book Club Questions for Horse by Geraldine Brooks. Published in 2022, this historical fiction transports readers on an engrossing trip through three interconnected storylines set in different eras.

Geraldine Brooks is known for her compelling stories and thorough research. She spans the lives of characters from the 1850s, 1950s, and 2019. The story explores themes of racism, slavery, art, and the enduring bond between people and animals.

As we explore the complexities of this thought-provoking novel, we’ve compiled a list of twenty discussion questions. They will deepen your understanding of the story’s context, characters, and broader themes involved. So let’s begin this literary exploration of “Horse” by Geraldine Brooks.

Book Club Discussion Questions for Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Book Club Questions for Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Horse by Geraldine Brooks Book Club Questions

1. What role do the novel’s three separate narratives, each set in a different era, have in shaping the overall plot? What impact does it have on your understanding of the relationships between the characters?

2. The book addresses themes of slavery and racism, both historically and currently. How do these themes affect the narrative and how does Brooks deal with them?

3. Jarret Lewis, a black teenager who is enslaved in the 1850s storyline, develops an extraordinary bond with the racehorse Lexington. What does this connection say about Jarret’s character? And how does it challenge the traditional power dynamics between people and animals?

4. Talk about the importance of Thomas J. Scott’s portrayal as an equine portrait artist and his diary entries. How do they contribute to our understanding of the story of Jarrett and Lexington?

5. The plot for 2019 shows the past and present converge after the painting of Lexington and the racehorse’s skeleton are found. What does this integration symbolize, and what do the characters learn from it?

6. A woman Martha Jackson from the 1950s plot is shocked to find out that the painting she’s appraising has a connection to her own family’s horse. How does this discovery affect how she perceives her own past and identity?

7. Theo and Jess fall in love as they piece together the fragmented elements of Lexington’s story. What role does their relationship have in the story as a whole? What does it tell us about their ambitions and desires?

8. The novel describes the abuse and neglect of animals. How does the inclusion of these elements contribute to the human-animal relationship and exploration of the central themes of the book?

9. Talk about the importance of art and artifacts in the novel, such as Lexington’s paintings and the re-articulation of his skeleton. How do these items influence the characters’ perceptions of history and self-identity?

10. The story explores black men’s role in Southern racing culture during the 19th century. How does this historical fact challenge or deepen your knowledge of the era?

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11. The “missing” portrait of Lexington that Jarrett acquired after Lexington’s death highlights issues of ownership, memory, and historic preservation. How does this event relate to the main themes of the book?

12. Discuss how Jess’s character develops throughout the story. How do her journey, interactions with Theo, Lexington, and artifacts affect her perceptions of herself and her place in the world?

13. The book contains chapters that follow the historical practice of placing the enslaver’s last name before the slave’s first name. How does this naming pattern affect your reading experience and your understanding of the characters?

14. Talk about how the Smithsonian Institute and the American Museum of the Horse are represented in the book. How do these institutions influence the characters’ research and the story’s main themes?

15. The backdrop of horse racing plays a key role in the story. How does the depiction of the racing business further the exploration of power dynamics, exploitation, and the interaction between humans and animals?

16. The novel deals with themes of memory, history, and preservation of cultural heritage. How do these themes relate to the greater storyline and the individual experiences of the characters?

17. Discuss the character of Lexington. What does he symbolize in the setting of the novel? How does his story resemble and connect with the stories of the human characters?

18. Theo’s death is a terrible event that occurs in the novel. How does this incident affect your understanding of the character’s motivations and the book’s overall message?

19. Discuss Clancy’s significance to the plot as Theo’s dog. What role do his presence and his journey with Jess play in the themes of friendship, loyalty, and healing?

20. How does the book’s ending, featuring Jess’s return to Australia with Theo’s dog and her dream of Lexington running over the Australian desert, complete the story’s circle? What feelings does it evoke?

Book recommendations

After these book club questions for “Horse,” you may want to think about your next book to read. You can choose any of the following books from the same author.

We hope these book club questions for “Horse” by Geraldine Brooks will be useful for your group meeting.

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