Tournament of Books 2015
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | January 6, 2015

    Matt Burgess: IMG 35 Seconds



    Late at night on September 22, 2014, at a housing project basketball court in Brooklyn, a white cop pushes a black man against a chain link fence.... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.50
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Meritocracy: A Love Story

by

Meritocracy: A Love Story Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Unrequited love appears to be at the emotional heart of the book. It drives the narrator. Is unrequited love, in its simplicity, with its peculiar agonies, unaccompanied by courtship, quarrels or families, the purest form of romantic love? Is it naive? How does his unrequited love isolate Louie, and how does it draw him close to the others? To what extent is unrequited love a phenonenon of the youthfulness of the characters?

2. The sixties in historical imagination are the decade of upheaval. But in Meritocracy: A Love Story, there is little upheaval; instead, there is doubt, anxiety, probing. Is this a function of the story being set in 1966 instead of 1968? Is it a function of the characters' social class? Or other factors? What resemblances can be found between 1966 and now?

3. The author chooses a term, "meritocracy," from social or political science for his title. Is there irony in that? What roles do the rich and privileged play in the author's depiction of "meritocracy?" Is America today a meritocracy? Does "meritocracy" as an idea hold water?

4. The author suggests that the best of his generation were lost. What sort of "argument" is the author making here, really? Political? Poetical? Would you agree or disagree with the feeling that the leaders of the post-war generation have disappointed? In order to save those who took extreme positions of integrity, would America have been well-served, post-Vietnam, by a "truth and reconciliation" program of the sort that Nelson Mandela developed in South Africa post-apartheid?

5. Harry Nolan has very specific qualities which mark him in his friends' minds as a future leader, among them boldness, charisma, and an absence of guile. What do you make of his friends' belief in him? What do you think George Bush, or Bill Clinton, or Al Gore, or John McCain, or John Kerry, or Hillary Clinton, or Barak Obama, would make of Harry Nolan?

6. Does it appear to you, from the author's style of narration or otherwise, that the character Harry Nolan was closely modeled after an actual person? Would it make any difference to you, in terms of your feeling for the book, if he were or if he weren't?

7. Through much of Meritocracy, past and present succeed each other in alternating chapters. What effects does the alternation of chapters between past and present have on the storytelling? The alternation of chapters aside, how would you characterize the relationship between past and present in the book?

8. The book has much to say about "Ivy League culture," as least as of 1966. Do you know people who've more recently gone to Yale, Harvard or Princeton, and from what you've observed, do characterizations from the book hold true today?

9. Two of the characters are Jewish. To what extent does their Jewishness make a cultural mark of difference in the book, and to what extent do other factors, such as modest origins, scholarships, physical or social ungainliness, contribute? If the book were written about characters today, would the differentness of being Jewish have the same effect?

10. The narrator seems equally torn between love of Sascha and hero-worship of Harry. What seem to be the driving factors in Louie's hero-worship of Harry? Is homoeroticism one of them?

11. The author has said that Meritocracy: A Love Story is the first volume of a quartet. Where do you imagine the surviving characters might be today?

12. Is Adam Bloch "at fault"? If he is, what is he "at fault" for?

13. Sascha could be considered the absolutely central character in the book, the one about whom the other characters and finally the story itself revolve. To what extent does this seem true? What is it about her that most excites Louie's love? What about the other characters? In some senses, she seems quite ordinary, yet every one of the men has extraordinary feelings for her. How does that work? Do types like Sascha still exist today?

14. A few people have written that Meritocracy: A Love Story is a little like Scott Fitzgerald for a later generation. Is there any truth to that?

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590511985
Author:
Lewis, Jeffrey
Publisher:
Other Press (NY)
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
168
Dimensions:
8.96x5.94x.49 in. .57 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. The Sleeping Father Used Trade Paper $3.50
  2. Peace Like a River
    Used Trade Paper $4.95
  3. Small Island Used Mass Market $5.95
  4. In pale battalions Used Hardcover $5.95
  5. As Simple as Snow
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  6. The Likeness
    Used Hardcover $6.95

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Meritocracy: A Love Story Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 168 pages Other Press (NY) - English 9781590511985 Reviews:
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.