Besey Osborne is available to meet with book clubs in person or via speakerphone to discuss
The Natural History of Uncas Metcalfe.

Please contact her at

Book Group Guidelines

Questions to consider after your group has read
The Natural History of Uncas Metcalfe

  • Is Uncas a sympathetic character (i.e., do readers like him)?
    Does this change over the course of the book?

  • What characteristics do Uncas and Carl share? How does this make the tension between them more interesting?

  • What does the title mean? What does it mean to tell a person’s “natural history”?

  • Why do you think Fauna and Uncas have such a complicated, and at times antagonistic relationship? How does this play a role in the novel?

  • What part does the town of Sparta play in Uncas’s story? Would the story be the same transplanted to a larger city? How is the idea of rootedness addressed in the novel?

  • Why is Uncas able to open up to Alex, his opposite in age, gender, sexual persuasion, and background?

  • Is Uncas, “Lord Reticent Taciturn,” typical of men of his generation?

  • What about Margaret? Is she typical of women of her generation?

  • How do each of the different characters deal with their feelings? How does that define who each of them is?

  • In the final moment of the book Uncas says that he wishes he’d asked his wife to dance. What does this moment mean?

  • Does the book have a happy ending or a sad ending? What does it leave us feeling about the future of the characters?

  • What do you take away from the book about your own life?