Our Reading Guide for Mr Darwin's Gardener with much food for thought.
1 Why do you think that nature is anthropo- morphised in the book? Does giving nature a voice support the theory of evolution or mock it?
2 How successful is the narrative in capturing the voice of both the village and its individual inhabitants?
3 What motivates the faith of the villagers? Is religion a personal experience or a communal necessity?
4 How do the villagers feel about Thomas Davies? Why and how is he portrayed as an outsider?
5 What is the role of grief in the text? How is it explored?
6 What does the text tell us about human relationships, such as marriages, relationships between parents and children or a vicar and his congregation? Are we that different to the animals that also have a voice?
7 There is emphasis placed on the theme of illness, why might this be important? How could it relate to the Theory of Evolution?
8 Do you think that Darwinism and Creationism can be separated?
9 What similarities can be drawn to Dylan Thomas’ Under the Milk Wood?
10 Are the descriptions of seasons and the rural, English setting important to the structure and plot of the text?