The Faber Book Club
Our online book club is run by Faber Members, but open to all. Each month Faber staff from across the company select key works from current releases to classic texts. We release a monthly set of suggested questions around titles selected, as well as holding events three times a year for further discussion.
Snow by John Banville
Questions by Angus Cargill, Publishing Director
‘Superb.’ The Times
‘Outstanding.’ Irish Independent
‘Exquisite.’ Daily Mail
A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Book of 2020
‘The body is in the library,’ Colonel Osborne said. ‘Come this way.’
Following the discovery of the corpse of a highly respected parish priest at Ballyglass House – the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family – Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate.
Strafford faces obstruction from all angles, but carries on determinedly in his pursuit of the murderer. However, as the snow continues to fall over this ever-expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.
Suggested Questions on Snow:
- After a short prologue, how does John Banville use the opening couple of lines on p.3 to set up the book?
- Genre writing, crime fiction, in this instance, often uses scaffolding or framework to shape the narrative, to impose boundaries if you like, what techniques could you see doing that sort of work here? And what do they add to your reading experience?
- The novel is set in the 1950s. How does the story explore and dramatise the social and class divisions in Ireland at that time?
- To what extent do you think the novel’s exploration of the role of the church in Ireland is still relevant to today?
- This is the first (but not the last!) novel of John Banville’s to feature Detective Inspector St John Strafford, how does he conform or subvert to traditional detective tropes, and what details did you notice about him and his past?
- What did you make of the novel’s coda, set a decade later, and back in Dublin?