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Flying a Kite: Reading Group's Guide

This guide is for the use of Reading Groups and Clubs who who would like to study and discuss aspects of the novel Flying a Kite after everyone has read it. It is suggested that the leader copies these notes and ticks those items to be discussed, crosses those items NOT to be discussed, and places a question mark against those items only to be discussed if there is sufficient time. Place these marks in the left-margin against each item, for clarity.

Questions for general discussion

  1. What is the central message of Flying a Kite?

  2. Which characters seemed most real for you? Which character did you like best?

  3. Discuss Galliano's problem (as definee by "Galliano's Challenge"). How real is his problem?

  4. Which character was it most easy to identify or empathise with?

  5. Discuss Bruce and his characterisation. Did your perception of him change over the duration of the book?

  6. How did Carla change over the course of the book?

  7. How did Martin change over the course of the book?

  8. Did you get a strong sense on place in this novel? Was the level of description too little, just right, or too much?

  9. Would you recommend this novel to friends and colleagues?

  10. Did you get a good picture of the various characters? How good was the characterisation in general?

  11. Do you consider any of the characters to be superfluous, or are they all justified as contributing to the storyline?

  12. How important is Bertie to the story? What did you think of him as a character?

  13. How important is Ada's character to the story?

  14. What did you think of Aldo Galliano as a character?

  15. There are a lot of twists to the story in the final chapter. Did they all surprise you? Which suprised you most? Which didn't surprise you?

Questions for in-depth discussion

A. Overall

A-1 What did you like most about the book?

A-2 Did you dislike anything about the book?

A-3 Would you recommend this author and would you read him again?

A-4 Has the author any special skills or failings?

A-5 Is the author a good proponent of 'show not tell'?

B. Genre

B-1 What would you say is the principal genre for Flying a Kite?

B-2 What secondary genre could also describe it?

B-3 What other genres would be appropriate?

C. Structure

C-1 Discuss the structure of the book. Did it work well for the storyline?

C-2 Does the storyline keep the underlying spiritual aspects from getting too heavy?

C-3 Discuss how the author handled scene descriptions. How well did you picture the settings used?

C-4 Did the underlying spiritual aspect of this book make you think?

C-5 How soon were you 'drawn' into the book?

C-6 Did you look at End Notes while reading the novel for the first time - or later?

C-7 How important were the End Notes?

D. Characters

D-1 Did you get a good mental picture of the characters? Is their charcterisation proportional to their significance?

D-2 Which characters came over the strongest?

D-3 Was any particular character weak? If so, how? Can that be explained by the small role they have in the story?

D-4 Did you find yourself mentally reading the dialogue of certain characters in a particular tone?

D-5 Did you fail to picture any character? Did this matter, or was it because they just played a minor role?

D-6 Did you notice a difference in Aldo Galliano's fluency in the second scene of Chapter 1? Why was that?

E. Relationships

E-1 What is Bruce's relationship like with his mother? Has this shaped his general behaviour?

E-2 What is Bruce's relationship like with Carla? How did he initially envisage working with Carla would play out?

E-3 Discuss the character of Aldo Galliano.

E-4 Discuss Bertie's character. Was he a bit of a liar or not? If so, is there a concrete example of this?

F. Style

F-1 Discuss the author's style in this book. Is it similar to any other authors you've read?

F-2 How does the author's style change from this work to his debut novel: Sandman?

G. Point-of-View and Voice

[Note: When you experience a scene through the senses of a character it is written in that character's 'point-of-view'.]

G-1 Identify the different points-of-view used throughout the novel.

G-2 Could this book have been written in the first person for Bruce? How would that have affected it?

G-3 Would it have been beneficial or detrimental to have cut out Sophia's part in this story and just concentrate on Bruce's?

G-4 How strong is the authorial voice? Is it evident or does it generally sink so far into the background you only focused on the story?

H. Christian Aspects

This section is only intended for Christian Groups.

H-1 How does this book compare with The Shack by William Paul Young?

H-2 How does this book compare with The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield?

H-3 Does this book present a more accurate picture of Jesus than Dan Brown in novels such as The Da Vinci Code?

H-4 Does this book present a more Christian image of the Holy Spirit than The Shack? Is that important?

H-5 Discuss that part of Chapter 9 which analyses the Genesis account of creation in which it identifies problems in the detail and then seeks to explain these with reference to modern knowledge about evolution.

H-6 Can this book help lead towards a more enlightened view of the Bible?

H-7 How have you dealt with the conflicts between the Genesis account of creation and the theory of evolution in the past? Has this book helped you in this respect?

H-8 Could this book be used as evangelical material?

H-9 Would you recommend this book to Christian friends?

H-10 Would you recommend this book to unbelievers?


Ian Kingsley would love to receive feedback from reading groups, especially any strong and agreed feelings, good or bad. If you are able to condense your group's feelings about Flying a Kite into a brief review, please feel free to send it in for possible inclusion on this website, subject to editing/shortening, and credited to your reading group (with contact information, if supplied).

If you have a question for the author, or would like his response to your feedback, please use this opportunity to request a personal reply. Many thanks for your interest.

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