> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  12 May 2023


Anam book club questions

A meditation on home and belonging to read with your book club.

Anam is award-winning writer André Dao’s first novel. Part fact and part fiction, the book follows a grandson as he tries to learn his family’s story. Blending essay, theory and everyday life and fiction, the book imagines that which has been repressed, left out and forgotten. With plenty of interesting conversation points, your book club will be able to talk about this read for hours on end.

Discussion points and questions

  • Anam was ten years in the writing, and began life with the author, André Dao, setting out to write the story of his grandfather. Anam blends fiction, family stories, literary theory, some activism and more. How do you feel about this blurring of genres? Does it add capacity to the storytelling?
  • Writer, Miles Allinson, responded to the novel’s ‘restlessness, the way memories, dreams and ideas, like waves, kept riding in over the top of one another, undoing and complicating everything.’ Did you respond to Anam in a similar way? What do you think Miles means by the author’s ‘complicating everything’?
  • In searching for his grandfather’s story, the narrator sidesteps easy dichotomies and self-mythologising – refugee and coloniser, east and west – to ask searching questions. How do we remember when records don’t exist? And also, where do we remember?
  • Would you agree that Anam is a meditation on home and belonging, history and family? Looking to the past, sitting in the quotidian and gently prodding at the future?
  • Can an impartial, definitive family archive be created for any family?
  • What was your emotional response to the novel? Are there particular characters that you responded to, or against most particularly?
  • An early reader suggested that reading Anam made him feel smarter than he knows he is. How did it make you feel?
  • The family at the centre of Anam joined different sides in the war in Vietnam. Did this surprise you? What did you learn about Vietnam and its history in reading this novel?

Feature Title

'Transcendent.' THE AGE 'Anam is a beautiful book. I loved its hypnotic rhythms, its restlessness, the way memories, dreams and ideas, like waves, kept riding in over the top of one another, undoing and complicating everything. It is the work of a soulful and scrupulous mind.' MILES ALLINSON
Read more

More features

See all
Debut authors share their best tips for aspiring authors

The Fresh Voices of 2023 share their advice with fellow writers. Whether you’re aspiring to get your book published or looking for writing tips, these words of wisdom will help.

What to gift Dad for Father’s Day based on his personality

Give the gift of the perfect book this Father's Day.

This ‘transcendent’ new novel is a must-read for literary fiction fans

Anam by André Dao has entered the world to warm reception. With exceptional reviews, it’s clear that this author’s star is rising. Learn more about his book, and see what reviewers are saying.

Discover the new releases that book critics are loving this autumn

See what reviewers are saying about books published in April and May 2023.

How one literary award changed everything for André Dao

The debut author talks about his writing process and how reading inspired him to become a writer.

Add these 2023 books to your TBR list for a year of great reading

Check out the most anticipated books of 2023.

Catch these authors at Australia’s biggest writers festivals this May

Find out which Penguin Random House authors will be attending writers festivals in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney this May.

Book clubs
What I Would Do to You book club questions

A stunning, thought-provoking debut to read with your book club.

Generate a husband

Generate a husband in honour of Holly Gramazio’s debut novel, The Husbands.

Georgia Harper says she ‘ruined her mum’s fantasy’

Find out why Georgia Harper’s writing routine ruined her mum’s idyllic vision of a writerly life. Plus, learn about her love for Anne Rice and her unlucky skill for attracting strangers’ stories.

Fun Fact: Sarah-Jane Collins wrote much of her debut novel in a bar

Sarah-Jane Collins shares how her background as a reporter inspired her to write her debut novel, Radiant Heat.

Gareth Brown shares how a yearning to travel inspired The Book of Doors

Plus find out why he’d choose to live in Middle Earth and main difference between him and Hugh Jackman.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes