One of our recommended books for 2019 is Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

HOLLOW KINGDOM


S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos®.

Then Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn’t quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies—from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim’s loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis—fail to cure Big Jim’s debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis,

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S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos®.

Then Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn’t quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies—from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim’s loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis—fail to cure Big Jim’s debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity’s extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.

Hollow Kingdom is a humorous, big-hearted, and boundlessly beautiful romp through the apocalypse and the world that comes after, where even a cowardly crow can become a hero.

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  • Grand Central Publishing
  • Hardcover
  • August 2019
  • 320 Pages
  • 9781538745823

Buy the Book

$27.00

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About Kira Jane Buxton

Kira Jane Buxton‘s writing has appeared in the New York Times, NewYorker.com, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, and more. She calls the tropical utopia of Seattle, Washington, home and spends her time with three cats, a dog, two crows, a charm of hummingbirds, and a husband.

Praise

Hollow Kingdom enriches our human experience by inhabiting the minds (and bellies!) of our non-human animal companions and reminding us that we’re not alone here on this earth.” —Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being 

“What starts as a hilarious take on a zombie-like apocalypse as seen from the animal world becomes a compelling ecological tale. And S.T.’s emotional journey rivals any novel I’ve ever read.” —Laura Cummings, White Birch Books (North Conway, NH)

Discussion Questions

1. In what ways is S.T. caught between the MoFo world and the world of nature? How does this affect his sense of self? How does it both benefit and impair him at various points in the novel?

2. S.T.’s relationship with Dennis evolves from S.T.’s deprecation and occasional hostility to a pure and loving friendship. In what ways do the unlikely duo complement each other? What do you think their bond stems from?

3. What other unlikely symbiotic relationships exist in the novel? What about in the real world?

4. Kraai initially claims that S.T. is “caged and clipped,” an idea that S.T. angrily rejects. However, S.T. later loses his ability to fly due to a wing injury. How is this significant to S.T.’s character and place in the world?

5. Consider the way the natural world communicates and how rumors spread in this novel. How are Aura, Echo, and Web similar and different to methods of human communication?

6. Although he is absent for most of the story, Big Jim is periodically portrayed through flashbacks. How does his character develop and evolve through S.T.’s memories? How does your perception of Big Jim change throughout the novel?

7. S.T. often wonders at the ingenuity of humans, from inventions like Cheetos® and hot dog–eating competitions to “how even though MoFos weren’t born with wings, they made their own and put them on airplanes and maxi pads, and […] how they flushed all their poops out to Echo” (chapter 37). How does this reverence compare to his feelings for the natural world? Can you think of moments where S.T. displays the same awe for nature?

8. Besides Cheetos®, what do you think are the best inventions and characteristics of humanity? Of nature?

9. Why do you think the book is titled Hollow Kingdom?

10. Who is your favorite character? Why?