Dealing with major themes including class, power, money and colonialism – to name but a few – Exciting Times makes for the perfect book club choice. Alice B has prepared some book club questions to promote some lively debate:

  1. Do you like, and can you connect with the character of Ava (the protagonist of the novel)? Did your perception and opinion of Ava change throughout the novel?
  2. What do you make of Ava’s two love interests, Julian and Edith? And can you understand Ava’s decision at the end of the novel?
  3. If you were making a movie of this book, who might you cast in the three main roles? And which songs would be included on the soundtrack?
  4. How did this book make you feel?
  5. Do you think the title of the novel matches the content of the story? Which other titles might you choose?
  6. The legacy of British colonialism runs throughout the story, sometimes explicitly, sometimes more implicitly, as Ava reflects on the complex relationship between Britain and Ireland, and between Britain and Hong Kong. What did you make of Dolan’s exploration of this aspect of history?
  7. Do you think Dolan captured a sense of place in her novel?
  8. Money, power and class are major themes in Exciting Times. In what ways does Nolan connect with these themes? Do you agree with, or understand Ava’s perceptions of the elitist society in which she lives?
  9. What did you love the most, and like the least about this novel?