The Owl at the Window

A dramatic, moving and darkly comic memoir.

A remarkable story of renewal and hope.

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Book Clubs - Questions for Discussion

1. I use the present tense as a way of taking the reader back into the heart of events. How effective is that? Where else have you come across this technique?

2. My background is as a TV scriptwriter. Discuss how that might have influenced the style of “The Owl at the Window”.

3. A large part of the book is about being a single father. Do you think a man is as capable as a woman of bringing up a young child?

4. Brighton, Oxford, London, Hong Kong, Norfolk……. Discuss the sense of place in the book.

5. The later chapters describe a lot of agonising over looking for a new partner and about whether there is a “right time” for this. Do you think there is a “right time”?

6. Memoir and autobiography. What are the differences between the two?

7. Compare and contrast “The Owl at the Window” with other books about bereavement that you might have come across.

8. The book ‘s opening chapter evokes the 1970’s. Do you think attitudes towards grief in general have changed very much over the last 30 years or so? If so, in what way?

9. Did you find my reactions to grief in “The Owl at the Window” in any way unexpected or unusual?

10. The chapter entitled “The Owl at the Window” describes something spiritual / otherworldly. Have you experienced such things in your lives?

11. Do you think that it is obvious that “The Owl at the Window” is written by a man as opposed to a woman?

12. My favourite authors tend to be mid twentieth century ones like Graham Greene, Patrick Hamilton and Raymond Chandler. With all of them there is a kind of melancholia in the writing and they write exceptionally well of loneliness and isolation. Can you detect any of that influence in “The Owl at the Window?” If so, where?

13. In the chapter “Always” I talk about how Vikki and I shared responsibilities within our relationship as carers and breadwinners yet she was still in some sense the leader, the “captain”. Do you think this is still true for many modern families?

14. Do you think the book is pessimistic or optimistic?

15. Can you imagine a sequel to the book? If so, how would it be different in tone to the original?

Praise for ‘The Owl at the Window’