Harry's Trees (Cohen) - 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 HARRY'S TREES … then take off on your own:

1. How would you describe Harry—what kind of man is he? To what extent is his guilt over Beth's accident self-imposed: is his self-blame senseless or understandable? What is the irony of Harry's work as an analyst given his love of trees?

2. Talk about the way Harry's life has been shaped by his childhood. How would you describe that childhood—his parents, brother, and general upbringing? For young Harry, what do trees come to represent?

3. Harry's Trees is based on the belief that "the ordinary world is extraordinary, all the time, for everyone." What is meant by the "ordinary" world, and does that world have special meaning for you?

4. According to Harry, "Everybody's got a special tree, whether currently as an adult, or a tree from childhood." What is it about humans and our love for trees? What about you: have you ever had a special tree?

5. In a BookPage interview, Cohen has said, "I truly believe that when you are in love or when you grieve, you cross a line and see the world in an altered way.” Do you agree with Cohen? How does Cohen's observation play out in his novel? Have you ever had the kind of experience that has altered your perception of the world?

6. Talk about Amanda and, especially, Oriana. What does Oriana's world look like as she wanders the woods after her father's death? Would you consider her mature or immature for a 10-year old?

7. This novel is very much about the power of books in our lives. How does the author portray their significance?

8. What draws Harry and Oriana together. How are their two minds or souls matched? Oriana sees Harry's appearance in her life as a sign. A sign of what? Equally importantly, what does Harry see in Oriana?

9. What creates the magical feel to this otherwise realistic novel? The book asks the question, where does reality end and magic take over? Where do you think the lines are drawn…in the book and /or in real life? What roles do chance or luck play in our lives.

10. Other than the lottery (duh), how are the characters transformed by the end of the novel? Are they?

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

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