Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites, described Liam Pieper’s debut novel The Toymaker as: ‘Hugely memorable… an unflinching examination of the dark instinct for survival that lies in all of us.’
A story of privilege, fear and the great harm we can do when we are afraid of losing what we hold dear, The Toymaker has plenty to latch onto for a book club discussion to remember.
Reading Group Questions
- The first (and last) line of the book is, ‘Let me tell you a story about my grandfather.’ How has Adam’s life been shaped by his belief in his family’s history?
- Arkady says, ‘The machine runs on hate, and there is always someone new to hate.’ How does The Toymaker examine the perpetuation of hatred through generations?
- How did the ending change your feelings about the rest of the story? Did you expect the characters to end up where they did?
- Adam is selfish and arrogant, but believes himself to be a good man. Can you understand his motivations? Do you think he’s beyond redemption?
- What do you think happens to the characters after the final page? Does the company recover? Do Tess and Adam stay together?
- Tess and Adam’s relationship is ‘built on surprises’. Can you see what drew them together and kept the relationship intact?
- Tess has left her creativity behind to help run the Mitty & Sarah company. Why do you think someone with her background would be attracted to this kind of work?
- Liam Pieper has said he wrote this novel to remind us ‘what we are capable of when we become proud of our indifference, then cruelty.’ Did The Toymaker reflect this sentiment for you?