1. What is troubling Edal? How does Guy help her?
2. Has Fauna changed your view of
animals and city life? Does it reflect anything in your own
3. How is the book structured, and why? Why does it cut between
past and present and different points of view?
4. From story time at Howell Auto Wreckers to
Letty's house, Fauna is (sometimes literally) full
of books. What do these other books add to the novel?
5. If you've read Alissa York's previous novels, such as
Effigy or Mercy, how do
you compare Fauna with them?
6. How are the characters in Fauna
linked? Consider the small coincidental connections
between them (such as moments when one sees another from a subway
train window) to the more profound emotional bonds.
7. How does the unusual family in Fauna provide
the sanctuary that traditional families often cannot? What's the
importance of the "modern family" in this book?
8. What role does death play in the novel? What do the
characters say about death and how do they respond to it? You might
consider how Fauna treats the deaths of
animals and people differently (or similarly), and the importance
of mourning and burial in the novel.
9. What is the significance of the title,
Fauna? Can you think of any alternative titles you
might give this book?
10. Why did Alissa York include the sections in the novel
written from the perspective of a raccoon or bat? Are they
effective? What do they add to the overall narrative?
11. The novel features a large, well-rounded cast of characters.
Who affects you most deeply, and why? Who do you find most
interesting? Are there any characters you don't connect with, and
if so why do you think that is?
12. What does love accomplish in Fauna? How do
people demonstrate love? Do animals experience love?
13. How does York create sympathy for her characters? You might
focus on the more troubled individuals, such as Darius.
14. In what sense is Toronto's Don Valley a character in the
novel? How do the settings contribute to the story and to your
sense of the characters?
15. What does Lily learn in Fauna?
16. Were you surprised by what happens to Darius at the close of
the novel? How do you explain it?
17. How would you describe Alissa York's writing style in
Fauna? (You may find it helpful to compare
Fauna to her other work, or to that of
other writers.) Would you call it lyrical, pared-down, lush,
hypnotic . . . ? What effect does it have on you?
18. Will you recommend Fauna to your friends?
Why or why not?