December 2018: The Collective


TW: suicide

  1. Do main characters have to be likeable? Is there value to reading complex characters you just don’t like?

  2. 3AC collective conversations raise the point - what is Asian American-ness? How do broad minority communities form collective groups?

  3. This is set before intersectional identity construction becomes accessible. In what ways would 3AC benefit or dismiss intersectionality?

  4. How would The Collective change if the characters were white, or Latinx, or black?

  5. Do you think Eric and Joshua consider Jessica an equal in their three-sided friendship or in the context of the 3AC? Would she have been a "charter member" without the sexual element she added to their dynamic?

  6. What is the role of “authorship”? FOr whom and about whom do authors create?

  7. Do you think Eric makes the right choice in terms of his own dream of becoming a writer? Who are the real cowards in the novel? What is cowardice?

  8. Eric says that "people don't change. They merely hide things from you and lie." Do either Eric or Joshua change? What do they continue to hide from each other?

  9. Sexuality and gender are explored in ways otherwise omitted from other spaces. Jessica’s piece on Asian masculinity is unexplored, but raises a lot of immediate reactions from the subjects, stakeholders, and passer-bys. Why?

  10. Meredith Yee's article in the Boston Record describes the 3AC "as a bunch of pretentious twenty-something layabouts . . . whining about racial injustice while lolling, rather comfortably, in a tony Harvard Square house." What do you think is unfair, and fair, about this observation? How do accusations of elitism and racial exclusion work both with and against each other in society at large?

  11. Councilman Barbosa refers to his use of racially loaded language as "creative license." Eric counters that "these things are never innocent," are "never just words." Is either completely wrong or right?

  12. Is Eric reliable as a narrator? Do you entirely trust his point of view, or is he trying to cast himself in a better light? If this story had been told by Joshua, how would he have depicted Eric?

  13. Why does Eric need to tell Joshua’s story? Why isn’t Jessica as intertwined in his own understanding of self?

#bookselection

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