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Any Way the Wind Blows: A Novel

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Any Way the Wind Blows: A Novel Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

When her wedding to John “Basil” Henderson didn’t come off as planned, Yancey Harrington Braxton flew off to L.A. and remade herself as mega-diva Yancey B. And Basil started concentrating on his career as a high-powered sports agent. But then Yancey’s first single, “Any Way the Wind Blows,” hit the charts, and now it threatens to blow Basil’s cover--if anyone learns who it’s really about. And it looks like the gorgeous (and ambitious) hunk Bart Dunbar might just have it all figured out.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

1. The novel opens with each of the three main characters giving a quick sketch of themselves. Is there a particular sentence or section in each description that conveys the essence of each person’s character?

2. Bart says, “At twenty-one, I believed in love lasting forever. At twenty-eight, I know nothing lasts forever . . . except maybe revenge” [p. 11]. Is this a common point of view? What examples can you give from your own experiences, your observations of the world, or literature that support it? Do you think Yancey’s reasons for wanting revenge [p. 73] are more understandable and more justifiable than Bart’s?

3. Basil and Rosa talk about having a child together, even though neither of them wants to get married [p. 14]. In your opinion, is either of them ready to take on the responsibilities of parenthood, given the nature of their relationship and the way they handle the revelation of Rosa’s pregnancy?

4. In talking about his friend Wylie, Bart says, “I remember a time when intelligence was considered hot in a man. . . . Today it’s beauty, sex . . . or wealth” [p. 35]. Is this “dumbing down” unique to the gay black community or is it prevalent in American society in general? Do you agree with Bart that heterosexuals have more opportunities for real love than gay men do [p. 37]?

5. Windsor plans to keep her baby whether Wardell decides to marry her or not [p. 71]. Do you think this is the right decision? Is it better, as she says, “to be a product of a broken home than to live in one” [p. 71]? If you have read about the recent, controversial studies of children of divorce and other kids raised in single parent homes, discuss how you feel about the findings and how they relate to Windsor’s decision.

6. Do you think Basil represents the majority of bisexual men? To what extent do the unspoken rules of society contribute to his insistence on hiding his sexual orientation? Do you think that he is serious about his quest to find a mother for his children, or is this simply part of his cover-up? How does the way he talks about women support your viewpoint?

7. Basil cockily declares, “With all the talk of brothers who swung both ways, women still hadn’t learned all the games” [p. 136] and “Men, even gay men, knew how to separate love and sex, even if women couldn’t” [p. 156]. Are women as naive as Basil believes? Is there a difference between men who date more than one woman and men who “swing both ways”?

8. What is your reaction to Yancey and Basil’s reunion [pp. 171–175]? Does it fit your expectations or were you surprised by either Basil’s or Yancey’s behavior? Which character appears in a more sympathetic light? Why do you think Harris chooses Yancey to describe the meeting?

9. Two secrets—Basil’s sexuality and the existence of Yancey’s child—and the threat that they will be revealed lie at the heart of the novel. Which do you think is the more damaging secret? Is the media (embodied in the character of the gossip columnist LaVonya) overeager to feed the public’s fascination with scandal without considering its effect on the individuals concerned?

10. What incidents or relationships show that both Basil and Yancey have a softer, more human side behind their tough exteriors? Do you think that Yancey’s new romance and the birth of Basil’s child will bring about permanent changes in their personalities?

11. What roles do Wylie, Windsor, and Raymond play in the novel? To what extent do they act as moral consciences for the main characters? Are they realistically portrayed, or are they a bit too perfect? How does Harris’s depiction of them compare to his depiction of Bart and Ava, the villains in the novel?

12. If you are familiar with current television programs that feature gay men [p. 37], discuss how well they depict the reality of gay life in America. Do the creators of shows such as Queer As Folk and Will & Grace and other forms of popular culture have a responsibility to instruct as well as entertain? How do you think E. Lynn Harris would answer the question?

13. How do Harris’s other books compare to Any Way the Wind Blows? Does this novel represent a change in Harris’s style or in the nature of the themes he explores? What do you think the basic message of the book is?

14. The same characters appear in many of Harris’s novels, sometimes in leading roles, sometimes in cameos. Which of the characters in Any Way the Wind Blows would you like see in his next novel and why?

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400033003
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Subject:
Revenge
Author:
Harris, E. Lynn
Author:
E. Lynn Harris
Subject:
Bisexuals
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction-General
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
General
Subject:
African American men
Subject:
African American women singers
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Fiction : Gay
Subject:
Gay
Subject:
Gay and Lesbian-Gay Fiction
Subject:
Romance - General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20020709
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
368

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction

Any Way the Wind Blows: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 368 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400033003 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In the zany sequel to Not a Day Goes By, the bisexual John Basil Henderson returns, hanging out with his new friend Bartholomew, until his picture-perfect life begins to unravel, possibly with the help of an unknown enemy, including Basil's jilted fiancTe, Yancey Harrington Braxton, and her diva mother, Ava Braxton. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , When her wedding to John “Basil” Henderson didnt come off as planned, Yancey Harrington Braxton flew off to L.A. and remade herself as mega-diva Yancey B. And Basil started concentrating on his career as a high-powered sports agent. But then Yanceys first single, “Any Way the Wind Blows,” hit the charts, and now it threatens to blow Basils cover--if anyone learns who its really about. And it looks like the gorgeous (and ambitious) hunk Bart Dunbar might just have it all figured out.
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