Reading Group Guide DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Describe the tone of The Extra Man.
What kind of novel is it? A comedy? A satire?
2. Louis Ives considers himself a "young gentleman" fashioned out of the works of Fitzgerald and Wilde. Since he is the narrator, how does his fantasy shape the novel?
3. At one point Louis says, "I felt less alone -- the whole city had sex problems." How does his attitude regarding his "problem" change throughout the book? Chart his development from his first visit to the "recession spankologist" to his final escapade with Maria. How does he feel about others with sex problems?
4. One of Louis' major conflicts -- apart from his obsession with balding -- regards his Jewish heritage. He says "their anti-Semitism and my Semitism were the major flaws in my young gentleman fantasy." How does he reconcile this?
5. What is the nature of Louis' sexuality? Consider his reaction to watching the young subway couple: "I wanted to be both of them. I wanted to be strong enough to hold someone, or lovely enough to be held."
6. What revelations might be read into his statement, upon seeing Maria naked, "It was a girl as I must have first imagined girls"?
7. Though far apart in age, habit, and attitude, in what ways are Henry Harrison and Louis alike? Why is his relationship with Henry so important to Louis?
8. In what ways does Louis disappoint Henry? What is it about Louis that Henry believes in? Disc