There but for the Discussion Guide: Home
Also by Ali Smith
- ArtfulISBN: 9781594204869
- The First Person and Other StoriesISBN: 9780307377715
- Girl Meets BoyISBN: 9781847670199
- The AccidentalISBN: 9780375422256
- Hotel WorldISBN: 9780385722100
Articles, Interviews, and Reviews
- After Hiding, He Becomes a CelebrityNew York Times Book Review, October 18, 2011
- Book review: ‘There but for the,’ by Ali SmithThe Washington Post, By Heller McAlpin, Published: September 23, 2011
- Goodreads Reviews: There but for theGoodreads.com
- Ali Smith: How I WriteThe Daily Beast, Noah Charney, January 23, 2013
- There But For The, By Ali SmithThe Independent, Reviewed by Arifa Akbar, June 10, 2011
- Ali Smith Interviewwww.foyles.co.uk
- Interview: Ali Smith - There but for theSource: The List
Date: 9 August 2011
Written by: Brian Donaldson
General Discussion Questions:
1. What is the significance of the title?
2. What were the themes of the book? Do you feel they were adequately explored? Were they brought to life in a cliche or in a unique manner?
3. What did you think of the structure and style of the writing?
4. What scene was the most pivotal for the book? How do you think the story would have changed had that scene not taken place?
5. What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
6. Were there any particular quotes that stood out to you? Why?
7. Did any of the characters remind you of yourself or someone you know? How?
8. What is motivating the actions of the characters in the story? What do the sub-characters want from the main character and what does the main character want with them?
9. What were the dynamics of "power" between the characters? How did that play a factor in their interactions?
10. How does the way the characters see themselves, differ from how others see them? How do you see the various characters?
11. How did the "roles" of the various characters influence their interactions? Ie. For a woman: Mother, daughter, sister, wife, lover, professional, etc.
12. What past influences are shaping the actions of the characters in the story?
13. Did you think the ending was appropriate? How would you have liked to have seen the ending go?
14. How have the characters changed by the end of the book?
15. Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading this book?
16. What do you think will happen next to the main characters?
17. Are there any books that you would compare this one to? How does this book hold up to them?
18. Have you read any other books by this author? Were they comparable to your level of enjoyment to this one?
19. What did you learn from, take away from, or get out of this book?
20. Did your opinion of the book change as you read it? How?
Reserve a copy
- Atonement byISBN: 9780385503952Like There but for the, Atonement is stylistically complex, and shares: the genres 'Psychological fiction' and 'Literary fiction' and the subject 'England'.
If you liked There but for the, you might enjoy the following books.
- A Possible Life byISBN: 9780805097306Five transporting stories and five unforgettable lives, linked across centuries.