Questions and Topics For Discussion
1) Do you think Charles Porter is suggesting there is another world inside the human head that explains everything like heaven, Hades, a parallel universe, or Plato’s shadow land, by introducing us to the bicameral mind of the schizophrenic? Do you think Porter is saying the brain itself is the land of spirits, and that voices like Triple Suiter’s are souls who live in that world in the form of what he calls slippers? Is this world, in fact, an unknown segment of existence.
2) Do the Slim Hands actions in the story represent religion being crammed down our throats like the large objects Aubrey thinks are in his throat, when he blacks out and goes to the Blind Spot Cathedral.
3) After reading Flame Vine, if you were standing in an old Catholic cathedral and looked up at the high domed ceiling from the basilica area, would you see a blind spot? God? Just the ceiling?
4) Who do you think is the real narrator of Flame Vine: Charles Porter or Triple Suiter?
5) Do you buy the suggestion in the end, that Triple Suiter wrote this book? The last three paragraphs of the book suddenly go from the third person to the first person narrative, and Trip says, “I sat in Aubrey’s brain around a campfire with six of my friends—slippers from the minds of Leda, Arquette, The Junior, Punky, John Chrome, and Sonny. These slippers told me everything about their hosts.” Does this tell us how Trip could know them well enough to take their points of view, write their thoughts, conversations, and give us his own thoughts in the narrative?
6) When Aubrey and Triple Suiter were in the cemetery talking, were you attracted to the idea proffered to Aubrey by Trip, that each of us should try to braid our own idea of why we are here, what the universe means to us, and whether we want to believe in a force or higher power of our choosing?
7) What does one learn over the course of this novel about a person who hears voices yet can function well and unnoticed in society? Would you be interested in finding out more about the Hearing Voices Movement to which this book is dedicated?