OCTOBER 9, 2020; 8:15 A.M. Mountains and Plains, FallCon.org, "Coffee With Authors"
OCTOBER 20, 2020; 12 NOON. Literature Lovers' Night Out, Zoom event with Thomas Maltman, author of THE LAND, and Pamela Klinger-Horn. LINK:
OCTOBER 26, 2020: 6:30 P.M. An Iowa Triple-Header, Zoom event with Thomas Maltman, author of THE LAND, and Nickolas Butler, author of LITTLE FAITH. LINK:
OCTOBER 27, 2020; 7:00 P.M. Subtext Books, St. Paul, MN. Zoom event. In conversation with poet and baker Danny Klecko. LINK:
NOVEMBER 5, 2020; 7:00 P.M. Books and Books, Miami: Zoom event with novelist Thomas Maltman, author of THE LAND. LINK:
NOVEMBER 12, 2020; 7 P.M. Beagle and Wolf, Park Rapids, MN: Zoom event with Thomas Maltman, author of THE LAND.
DECEMBER 8, 2020; 7 P.M. Zoom event with Lake Agassiz Public Library, Moorhead, MN
Book Club Discussion Questions for AMERICAN GOSPEL:
1. Who is the main character in this novel? Which one has the most to gain or lose? For whom do you feel the most sympathy?
2. In what ways—culturally and politically—is 1974 a mirror of the present moment?
3. Predictions of a Biblical apocalypse (the Rapture; the Second Coming; Armageddon) are uniquely American and have been part of the national psyche since the early 1800s. Why do people in this country have such a fascination with the end of the world?
4. Why is Enoch upset about the Nixon resignation? How are his political instincts related to his religious convictions?
5. What does Enoch's prophecy mean to Melanie Magnus? What makes theirs such a complicated connection? Do you think Melanie will go back to her life in Hollywood?
6. Considering the way he was raised and his conflicts with Enoch, what are Peter's strengths and weaknesses? What factors seem to motivate the decisions he makes?
7. The killing of the lion is an important incident in both Enoch's life and Peter's. How do the two men see it differently? How does the lion's significance evolve?
8. Compare Melanie's relationships with Morris and with Peter. Compare Peter's relationships with Joanie and with Melanie. Do you think Melanie and Peter have a future together?
9. In terms of place, people, and culture, does the novel resonate with what you know about rural Minnesota, or rural mid-America?
10. How convinced (or not) are you by Melanie's claim of being healed by Enoch's prayers?
11. Discuss the roles of Victor Stubblefield and Skinny Magnussen, both of whom are outcasts in their own ways. How are these two characters alike and different?
12. Why do Enoch and Sylvie, apparently so dissimilar in their beliefs, seem to have such a strong bond?
13. How does the episode of the hog stampede anticipate the novel's climactic events?
14. Why is fifteen-year-old Willie the one who must finally take the lead in trying to save Enoch from the potentially damaging consequences of his prophecy? Why did no one else think of taking control of the situation?
15. What are your thoughts on the state of Enoch's mental health? In the final analysis, is he a character who does more harm than good, or vice versa?
16. How does American Gospel fit into the genre of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic literature? Does it remind you of other novels in this genre?