Jennifer thanks so much for the summary and this series of questions. I am finding this a very engaging read. I am going to jump in and answer some questions before I go and read everyone else's thoughts and answers.
1. This novel has an interesting structure as chapters jump between the current time and Hawley’s past. As well, years may have gone by (Hawley goes from 16 to 25; Loo goes from 12 to 16). Does this style of storytelling work for you? How are you finding the story, so far?
I enjoy reading books that are structured with gaps and jumps in time. For me they are like a puzzle. From the time that I opened the novel and saw the unusual table of contents, I was eager to discover how the authour was going to reveal the story she was telling. I think that Tinti has found a creative way of telling the stories of father and daughter from different perspectives. We are learning of Hawley's past through his bullet holes and Loo's life from the time they settle back in her mother's home town. Hawley's tale seems to be a coming of age through his run-ins with bullets while Loo's seems to be with her settling in her mother's home town.
2. The novel opens with a gun lesson for 12yo Loo. Is this a bold statement from Hannah Tinti, about what’s to come? What sort of impression does this give you at the very beginning of the story? Do you feel it is unusual for Hawley to own several guns, and strange that he would teach his 12yo how to shoot?
I was stuck the opening of the book. At first I though, o no, is there going to be great deal of gun description in this book. So for a couple paragraphs I was a bit turned off. But it became a great hook to get the reader pulled in. It was at some point reading the first chapter that I recognized that the holes in the slip cover of the novel I have were meant to symbolize bullet holes.
I don't feel that it's odd for some people to own several guns. My father-in-law had a few.. 4-5. He was an occasional deer hunter. I know when my husband was a boy he learned to shoot a gun and went out out in the woods and shot at bottles and such. I think this is probably prudent for those that own guns to teach their children how to use them safely OR keep them locked up.
3. We know from reading the table of contents that alternating chapters are titled for bullets #1 through #12. And we are given a glimpse of Hawley’s scars in the Greasy Pole chapter. After we read about Bullet Number One and Bullet Number Two, how did you feel?
I was not surprised that Hawley got into running with the wrong kind of person at an impressionable age. Anyone who has 12 bullet holes either has really bad luck or is around situations where the lifestyle involves a great deal of gun use. I was a bit shocked with the brazen B&E. It makes me very curious about Hawley's backstory...where he came from....what his parents were like. I am curious when we get to 'Bullet #2' about how he got the $7000. Is it theft, or gambling? I am assuming it was from some nefarious means.
8.We meet several secondary characters -- do you feel they have a strong presence in the novel? Do you feel any of these characters are, or will be, important to Loo as the story progresses?
I just love the real introduction to Loo's grandmother in Dogtown. She has a pineapple knocker on the door but is anything but welcoming to Hawley and Loo. She comes off as very rude when Hawley takes Loo to meet her at aged 12. Yet when 16 year old Loo arrives on her doorstep, she was honest telling Loo that she wasn't ready to meet her. I am anticipating that we will see more of her as the story progresses. I love that she is a weaver and dyes her own fibres. A weaver brings things together to create something. Hawley is riddled with holes, a damaged man. I predict that Loo's grandmother will become an influential person in Loo's coming of age.
10. Which moment, scene, or quote stood out for you in this first section of reading? Are you keen to read on, to find out where this is all going? .
Tinti's storytelling has been very effective in that I find myself 'holding my breath' as the action unfolds. (The chapters Greasy Pole. Bullet #1, Bullet #2 and Dogtown especially) Her writing really helps me paint a picture in my head. I found this to be the case in several chapters.
I will leave this here for now. But just have to say how much I am enjoying the book!