Reading Group Guide: Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler
1. The novel begins with a chapter told from Russell's point of view, then switches between the points of view of most of the other characters. How does this narrative structure strengthen the story? How does getting a glimpse of the airplane passengers before their crash allow the stories of the victims' family members to resonate even more?
2. Do you think the novel has a main character? Which of the characters did you relate to the most? Did you wish any of the minor characters played a bigger role?
3. The night at the inn when Ana first shares her bed with Pars she thinks "On subzero nights in the North Country, kinglets huddled together on branches. Did anyone blame them for sharing their warmth to survive" (p. 166)? What did you think of Ana and Pars's relationship? How is Ana's allusion to the kinglets a metaphor for many of the relationships in this novel?
4. Food and cooking are recurring motifs throughout the novel. Discuss the importance of food as a source of strength for the characters. Consider Kevin and Claartija's cooking lesson, Pars's story about the chicken heart, and the Liangs' bowl of fruit. How else is food used as a tool for healing and bringing people together in this novel and in real life?
5. When the victims' families go to the ocean for the first time Pars tells Ana, "It's almost offensive....How pretty the place is"