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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

America Fantastica

1. If you have already read THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, you know that a major theme of Tim O’Brien’s work is the friction between emotional and factual truth. How does AMERICA FANTASTICA explore the theme of truthfulness?

2. We learn early in the novel that when Boyd robbed the bank for $81,000, he had $72,000 in his own account. If he evidently wasn’t in it for the money, what do you think his true motivation is for the robbery?

3. AMERICA FANTASTICA is a classic “on-the-road” narrative, exploring movement through the American landscape, particularly the West. How does the novel play with this genre, whose forbearers range from Twain to Cather to Kerouac and beyond?

4. The book includes several interstitial passages that capture the national zeitgeist, defining the beliefs and feelings of the time. Discuss the role of these passages. What do they add to the story as a whole?

5. The novel is set in 2019-2020 and uses a moment in our recent past to explore the present day. What commentary does the story make about the current state of the country?

6. What is Angie’s function in the story? Despite her front of innocence, what can we understand about her deeper motivations?

7. Explore the bond between Boyd and Angie. How does their relationship compare to Boyd’s relationship with his ex-wife? What is O’Brien saying about authentic feeling and truth?

8. Where do you see Boyd’s journey at the end of the novel? Is there room for happiness?

America Fantastica
by Tim O’Brien

  • Publication Date: October 24, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Satire
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • ISBN-10: 0063318504
  • ISBN-13: 9780063318502