Music Shop (Joyce) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Music Shop … then take off on your own:

1. What does the demise of vinyl albums represent to Frank, literally and figuratively? What is it about CDs he despises: why does he consider them "toys"?

2. Frank tells a CD salesman that the point of vinyl records is that they are fragile. Why does he see that as important when it comes to music? Can the same insight be made about paper books vs. electronic ones?

3. Frank observes that "When a man has the passion to stand up for something crazy, it makes other problems in people's lives seem more straightforward." What does he mean by that, and does that observation have relevance to your own life?

4. Which member of Frank's shop "crew" most won your affection and why?

5. Joyce writes about Frank that he "was very much a single man." His only need seems to be the shop: "it was safer to stay uninvolved." How else would you describe Frank?

6. And in walks (so to speak) Ilse. What painful secrets is she carrying.

7. In what way does "community" act as the catalyst for change in the novel? Talk about the ways in which the characters come to grips with their fears and undergo transformation. What does personal change require of people? Have you ever undergone a transformative experience?

8. One of the overarching themes of The Music Shop is the capacity for art, in this case music, to heal. How so? Do other forms of art heal the wounded? What, then, can we say for the role of art in civilization?

9. How do you feel about the book's ending? Improbable? Predictable? Satisfying … or not?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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