Work Song Discussion Points

1. Work Song brings back Morrie Morgan, the beloved teacher from The Whistling Season, and this time he's the narrator. What is gained and what is lost by having him tell the story?

2. Think of the opening scenes in terms of movie shots. How does Ivan bring readers into the Butte of 1919?

3. How do the two Welsh boarders function in the plot? What would be lost if they weren't there?

4. Why do you think Ivan made the library central to the novel?

5. The librarian is loosely based on an actual historical character. Do you find him believable? Do you think he's supposed to be?

6. How does the character of Russian Famine illuminate life in Butte?

7. Rabrab provides a central glue for the plot. Discuss examples that illustrate her importance.

8. Which characters did you most relate to? Can you explain why?

9. Ivan immerses readers in time and place. Does he succeed in making you see and feel Butte?

10. Why show that Morrie can cook with more flair than Grace? (Ivan has a reason for everything he includes.)

11. Are you satisfied with the ending?

Synopsis  |  Discussion Points  | Background Notes