This reading group guide for Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Gyles Brandreth. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
1. As a reader, what were your first feelings toward Eddie Garstrang? What were your first impressions of Edmond La Grange? How did your emotions toward these characters change throughout the book? What were major turning points for you?
2. Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile
is set in America, London, and Paris. Each of these places has unique characteristics, but all share some general similarities. How are these places similar and different?
3. What was the effect of reading the story through Robert’s eyes? How would it have been different if Oscar had done the narrating?
4. Oscar writes in his journal of Madame La Grange, “Old age has no consolations to offer us. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty has become sluggish. Limbs fail, senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memories of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to” (page 47). Do you agree with his harsh words about old