Taking Leave Book Club Questions

This section has questions for Book Clubs (also known as ‘book groups’ or ‘reading groups’) to use to explore the book further. Publishers often put these questions into the paperback edition, but we’ve gone a step further and put them on the site for groups or individual readers who want to think a little more about what they’ve just read. Hope they’re useful. Feel free to copy and past them onto your computers.

  • Taking Leave is set in a particular industry and at a particular historical moment – how does this enhance or take away from the story? Do you think what happened to Tim would have happened if he’d been working in a bank or in living in a different era?
  • How does Tim change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes? As we see everything through Tim’s point of view how does the author vary the writing style to emphasise the changes in his perception? Is Tim a reliable or an unreliable narrator? Or is he both at different times?
  • Tim faces various turning points in the novel. Some take him up some take him down, what turning point really makes the difference and forces him to reassess his situation? What do you think Jeremy Thomas was trying to show us in Tim’s journey about our own choices in life?
  • Did the characters seem real? Can you relate to Tim’s various predicaments? To what extent do his friendships and love affair remind you of yourself or someone you know? How do you think Loveday felt about Tim at the end of the book?
  • In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
  • This book deals with some difficult situations. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
  • Why do you think Tim doesn’t throw away the toy ball? What did it symbolise for him?
  • Some people have thought this novel is about death or leaving, others think it’s about madness and how we area all treading a fine line between sanity and insanity. What ‘conclusion’ did you reach at the end of the novel?
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