The questions that follow are intended to enhance your group’s reading and discussion of THE NIGHT OF THE COMET by George Bishop Jr.
1. The Night of the Comet features the Broussard family: Alan; his wife, Lydia; their daughter, Megan; and their fourteen-year-old son, Alan Junior, the narrator. With which character do you identify the most? Who, if anyone, would you call the hero of the story?
2. The backdrop of the novel is the coming of Comet Kohoutek in 1973. Had you heard of—or seen—this comet before reading the book? Is there anything surprising that you learned about comets from the novel?
3. The novel is set in Terrebonne, a fictional small town in south Louisiana. How important a role does the setting play in the story? Could the novel have been set elsewhere?
4. The narrator, Junior, says that this comet is “more than just a comet,” and he credits the comet for bringing dramatic changes to his family. Do you see the comet as possessing supernatural properties in the story? If the comet can be read as a symbol, what would you say it represents?
5. Lydia Broussard enjoys reading her horoscope before breakfast, and she seems to believe in the prophetic power of astrology, despite her husband dismissing it as “nonsense.” Do you read your own horoscope? Why or why not?
6. Halfway through the book, when asked by his son about love, Alan Senior claims that love is nothing but a story, “like [the] fairy tales that we tell each other, tell our kids, to keep us going.” Why would he say this to his son? By the end of the story, do the characters’ actions bear out Alan’s claim, or not?
7. The Night of the Comet has been described by reviewers variously as “sad,” “quiet,” and “hilarious.” What adjectives would you use to describe the novel?
8. Was there anything about the ending of the novel that surprised you? Which characters, if any, get a happy ending?
9. The Night of the Comet is classified as “Fiction—Contemporary Women; Family Saga; Literary.” Do you think these are good descriptions of the book? Or is there some other category under which you would shelve it?