Getting Oriented Discussion Qs

Book Club Discussion Questions
Getting Oriented: A Novel About Japan
by Wally Wood

1.     What makes Phil Fletcher interesting as a tour guide and a protagonist? Did you sympathize with his situation at the outset? During the course of the novel, how and why does Phil change? Did your attitude toward Phil change as you read the book?

2.     How do the ten guests interact with each other and with Phil during the tour? How does each character affect relationships within the tour group and influence the development of the plot?

3.     Which character did you like the most? The least? Did your opinion of some characters change by the end of the book? In what way?

4.     How do the dynamics between the married couples affect Phil and the tour guests? Do you think the novel might have taken a different turn if the tour had consisted of all single people or mainly men instead of seven women and three men, some married and some single?

5.     What do you think about the choice of Japan as the backdrop for this novel? Did you get a strong sense of place? How did the setting affect the characters and the plot?

6.     Which scenes from the novel were the strongest or the most memorable, and why? How did the author add impact to these scenes through character, conflict, or location?

7.     Late in the novel, Phil makes an important decision about dealing with Freddie. Do you agree with what he decided to do? If you had been a guest on his tour, would you have approved of his decision? Why?

8.     Each chapter of the novel corresponds to one day in the group’s tour of Japan. What do you think of this structure? How did the defined time span affect the characters and the action?

9.     The youngest characters in this novel are in their 40s; the oldest are in their 70s. Some are married, some are not. To what extent do the characters’ age and life experiences affect the way they act on their own and in a group?

10.  Have you ever taken a travel tour? If so, did you recognize some of the situations faced by the novel’s characters? Would you have liked to be a guest on Phil’s debut tour?