> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  23 June 2021


The Coconut Children book club notes

An award-winning pick for your next book club meeting.

Winner of the SMH/Age Best Young Novelist of the Year and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, Vivian Pham's literary career is off to a flying start. Her debut novel The Coconut Children has been described by Michalia Arathimos as 'like reading a young Salman Rushdie or a Zadie Smith'. Discover this emerging talent with your book club, use the questions below to get the discussion started.

Discussion points and questions:

  • On reading The Coconut Children, Dave Eggers referred to ‘the alternately profound and ludicrous angst of youth’. 1970s Cabramatta is a long way from the author’s teenage years, yet this novel comes across as entirely authentic. What is it about those final years of school and early adulthood that are so entirely relatable?
  • Vince is a bad boy and Sonny falls for him hard. Is it a truism that we all have an inclination to romantically chase what is not good for us? Why could that be?
  • The Vietnamese language is used throughout The Coconut Children. Does this add to the depth and colour of the novel?
  • Vivian Pham set out to create complex and contradictory characters, just like those we encounter in real life. How did you feel about Vince and his group of friends?
  • Do you believe refugee stories, both of intergenerational trauma and despair, and success and resilience, are underdone in Australian storytelling? What would you like to read and see more of?
  • An aspect of The Coconut Children that many have commented on is the humour the author brings to the story. How important do you think it is to have moments of lightness, of relief, when sharing sometimes tough tales?
  • Are families, one’s own and those of others - fictional and real – endlessly fascinating?
  • What do you think Vivian Pham will write next?
  • The Coconut Children – mini-series, or movie?

The Coconut Children Vivian Pham

From the winner of the SMH/Age Best Young Novelist of the Year and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year.Growing up can feel like a death sentence

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
2021 ABIA winners

Vivian Pham and Penguin Random House honoured in Australian Book Industry Awards.

Book clubs
Mirror Man book club notes

Ponder whether one life is worth more than another with Fiona McIntosh's latest thriller.

Book clubs
The Deep book club notes

This heart-stopping thriller set on the rugged coast of Tasmania is an excellent choice for book club.

Book clubs
The Rabbits book club notes

A (Penguin Literary Prize) winning pick for book club.

Book clubs
Secrets My Father Kept book club notes

A captivating novel about love, sacrifice, secrets and resilience that's perfect for book club.

Book clubs
Echolalia book club notes

What could drive a mother to do the unthinkable?

Book clubs
Lovebirds book club notes

A pick for book club that's warm, witty and wise.

Book clubs
The Chase book club notes

Track down your reading group to discuss Candice Fox's latest thriller.

Book clubs
The Emporium of Imagination book club notes

A beautiful and uplifting story to share with your reading group.

Book clubs
Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers

Book club discussion questions and teaching resources.

Book clubs
The Jam Queens book club notes

With IVF treatments, a family trip on the Ghan and some award winning jam, there's plenty to unpack with your reading group.

Book clubs
The Silent Listener book club notes

Take your reading group into the dark, gothic heart of rural Australia.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes