Reading guide for Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Gentlemen and Players

A Novel

by Joanne Harris

Gentlemen and Players
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 432 pages
    Jan 2007, 448 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Discussion Questions:
  1. The favorite book of the young Snyde is The Invisible Man. Poe's law is also quoted: “The object that is hidden in plain sight remains unseen longest.” Through childhood and into adulthood, how does Snyde, in fact, become invisible?

  2. Early in the novel, young Snyde says, "I felt cheated, as I often did when faced with the threat and assurances of the adult world, which promises so much and delivers so little." What does this say about the character? Give some examples of ways in which the adult world has cheated Snyde. Which do you feel has the longest lasting impact on Snyde as an adolescent? As an adult?

  3. Throughout the novel, Snyde remembers days as a student in Sunnybank Park—and the desire then to be a student at St. Oswald's. What do you believe would have happened had Snyde been enrolled at St. Oswald's as a student? Would such a student have thrived academically? Been accepted socially? How might things have played out differently, if at all?

  4. While at Sunnybank Park, Snyde had a young student teacher, Miss Potts, who "liked to be popular-to be important." She goes about this by taking an active interest in her students and especially their problems-things the older teachers do not notice. She realizes something is wrong with Snyde. How might things have been different if there had been more teachers who took notice of the pupils' problems early on?

  5. "Fallow offends me," Snyde says of St. Oswald's current day groundskeeper. It is not the occupation that offends Snyde, but how Fallow executes his tasks: sluggish, ignoring his duties, not taking pride in his work. The exact opposite of the way Snyde's father worked. What does this contempt of Fallow say about young Snyde's filial feelings?

  6. Snyde says of Anderton-Pullitt: "there is one of his kind in every year. Shunned even beyond being bullied." Could Snyde be identifying with Anderton-Pullitt? Which student, if any, at St. Oswald's most resembles the young Snyde? Do any resemble Leon?

  7. Early in his life, Snyde developed a feeling of entitlement for "that childhood. The one I deserved," a life of privilege. Where do you think the roots of these sentiments began?

  8. "I can identify with a boy like Knight," Snyde says. "I was nothing like him-infinitely tougher, more vicious and more streetwise-but with money and better parents I might have turned out just the same." What does this say about Snyde's decision to use Knight-of all boys-in the plan to destroy St. Oswald's? Is it because Knight is weak or because Knight is a reminder of who Snyde could have been?

  9. Straightly comments on how "St. Oswald's has a way of eating those things. The energy; the ambition; the dreams" of its faculty. In light of this, or perhaps in spite of it, Straitley's goal in life is clear: to reach his Century and retire with honor. Why do you suppose this is so important to him?

  10. A continual theme throughout the novel is nature vs. nurture. Do you believe a person is born evil or do the circumstances of that person's upbringing cause these traits? When talking about Leon, Straitley seems to believe some kids are just born bad. How is this different from Snyde's belief?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.