Catching Teller Crow Discussion Questions
Well I have read this book twice now – and reading it a third time. This book tightly weaves crime, including a cold case, gritty realism, history, mystical imagery and poetry in a succinct dual narrative. It covers themes of grief, violence, injustice, Indigenous peoples history and family. I’m sure we will have so much to talk about!
Visually, for me, the book is bright and murky simultaneously. The is the shimmering of the heat, the red dust, the bright light of the outback. But there is also the grey obscure other world of Isobel Catching’s story. Colour is a strong motif throughout the book, representing the life force in the girls that is extracted by the Feed. And the colours drawing Beth towards moving on. Colour is also present in the names Sarah Blue, Beth’s yellow dress, Isobel’s mother’s scarlet red hair and of course blacker than black Crow, and the use of grey throughout the narrative. How effective do you think the use of colour is in the book? How do you think it conveys the narrative of Beth’s movement to another plane? How does the colour represent strength and hope in the story?
I thought we’d also kick the discussion off with a MAJOR ELEMENT of the book – the two voices/ the two writing styles. The book is part prose and part verse. Beth’s voice and Catching’s. What are the advantages of each form of writing? For me, writing Catching’s story in verse allows the writers to focus on the damage and trauma of abuse rather than the actual physical. How does this empower our view of Catching? Beth is very in the now which I loved. She is finding things out as we, the reader do, which makes the mystery solving really compelling to read.
How do the two styles of writing inform each other? Do they compel you as a reader?
Why not try writing a section narrated by Beth in verse and a section of Catching’s story in prose? Would there still be mystery and what is essentially, a detective story? What are the strengths and disadvantages of both styles?
Catching’s story very cleverly deepens and elucidates the mystery simultaneously. It just takes a different kind of understanding to uncover the truth in the story.
‘I’m not telling you what happened to ask for help,’
“then why are you telling it?’
…’to be heard.’
Her story contains important historical information about two generations of family that were forcibly removed by the Australian government – stolen. What are we to understand about Catching’s desire to tell her story in her own way and be heard? What are we to understand about being patient enough to listen to the whole story to uncover a truth?
There’s so much in this book to talk about. I have used the Teacher Notes from Allen and Unwin website to help with the discussions and will share some of the resources. Looking forward to discussion in the comments or in contributor posts and on other lit club posts. So over to you!