BOOK OF THE MONTH
Riots I Have Known is Bookclubz' Book of the Month.
Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Called “one of the smartest—and best—novels of the year” by NPR, this acclaimed debut is set in an upstate New York prison where a largescale riot grows to epic proportions. Its unwitting catalyst: an unnamed Sri Lankan inmate who edits The Holding Pen, the in-house literary journal. He’s barricaded himself inside the gleaming new computer lab, and with his remaining hours on earth will share with us his side of the story, an official accounting of events, as they happened--from his youth in the black markets of Sri Lanka, to his years as a Park Avenue doorman, and, more recently, his dubious rise to literary fame. Riots I Have Known is one man’s feverish and darkly funny confession, and Editor’s Letter to end all Editor’s Letters.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The narrator uses his time to settle scores and correct perceived sleights. If you had a soapbox, are there any wrongs you would try to correct "for the historical record"?
The narrator notes he's the first Sri Lankan prisoner at Westbrook. Have you encountered Sri Lankan characters or novelists before? What is your impression of the country, and race in general in the novel?
The book is short and written in nearly real-time. Did this affect your reading of it at all? Do you wish it had been longer? Shorter?
Riots I Have Known
These questions were generously written and shared by Ryan Chapman, author of Riots I Have Known.