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Book Club Discussion Questions: The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

For those of you that haven't or couldn't attend book club lately, we're publishing this months' discussion questions here. All previous book club selections have been posted, complete with summary, discussion questions and, when necessary or appropriate, additional resources to better understand the topic or context. Here are the questions from our current title, The Whole Town's Talking. We hope these questions spark discussions of your own.

 

The Whole Town's Talking

by Fannie Flagg


Summary:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is at her superb best in this fun-loving, moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.


WINNER OF THE SOUTHERN BOOK PRIZE 


Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. Original, profound, The Whole Town’s Talking, a novel in the tradition of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Flagg’s own Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.


Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.


With her wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town’s Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies. -- Publisher Description


Praise for The Whole Town’s Talking


“A witty multigenerational saga . . . [Fannie] Flagg’s down-home wisdom, her affable humor and her long view of life offer a pleasant respite in nerve-jangling times.”—People


“Fannie Flagg at her best.”—The Florida Times-Union


“If there’s one thing Fannie Flagg can do better than anybody else, it’s tell a story, and she outdoes herself in The Whole Town’s Talking. . . . Brilliant . . . equally on the level as her famous Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.”—The Newport Plain Talk


“Delightful.”—The Washington Post


“A ringing affirmation of love, community and life itself.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

 

Original Discussion Questions

  1. Lordor met his wife Katrina by placing an ad for a mail-order bride. Did this surprise you and does it remind you of online dating?

  2. Why do you think Lordor and Katrina’s marriage was so successful? What did they do that many couples overlook?

  3. The book chronicles the history of one small town in America, beginning in 1889 and ending in 2021. Do you see any similarities between Elmwood Springs and the town you or your parents grew up in? If so, what are they?

  4. Do you know of any towns that have simply turned into ghost towns?  Why do you think the towns didn’t make it. Did you live in any of the towns you mentioned?

  5. Do you believe in life after death? How do you vision it?

  6. Were there any particular characters you could relate to?

  7. The book spans over many decades. Which is your favorite era and why is it? What do you remember the most about that time? Where did you think the "residents" of Still Meadows went when they disappeared?

  8. What do you think the title refers to?

  9. Did the letters of recommendation for Lorder stand out to you? Do you think the ladies who wrote the letters really needed to once Lorder and Katrina met?

  10. What did you think Katrina’s secret was going to be? How did you feel once it was revealed? 

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