Ventoux (UK edition)By Bert Wagendorp
During the summer of 1982, six friends–five boys, one girl–climb the legendary Mont Ventoux on their bicycles. A tragic accident claims the life of one of them, the promising poet Peter. Thirty years later, the others find themselves travelling into their past, with their racing bicycles strapped to the car roof, and their inner demons trailing behind them, off to the Provence again. What exactly happened on that mountain thirty years ago, and why are they going back?…
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'Just read Ventoux. Unusually for a cycling novel, it is absolutely great.'—Herby Sykes, author and cycling journalist
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Book Club Questions
Book Club Questions
- The opening quotes Petrarch: “Yes, the life which we call blessed is to be sought for on a high eminence, and strait is the way that leads to it.” How does this relate to the life of Peter in the book?
- How and to what extent did Laura change the friendship between Joost, Andre, and Bart?
- What different approaches do the five male protagonists have towards cycling, and how does that illustrate their personalities?
- Have you found looking at the way in which a person works or engages in a hobby a good way to find out about their personality in your own life?
- Bart lusts after Laura – to what extent is he being used when he has sex with her before his climb up the Ventoux?
- To what extent does Bart drift after his friends, and when does he make his own decisions?
- Why is David the only friend to stay in Zutphen?
- The night before their second ascent, Bart and Joost have a fight. How does this catharsis relate to climbing the mountain a second time?
- Could this book have been written about another sport? How so, or why not?
- Do you cycle? If you don’t, do you think you would have had a different reading experience if you did?
- How would the book have looked if it had been written by Joost, Andre, or David?
- Did the death of Peter drive the friends apart? How would relations between the six main characters develop if he had survived?
- How do the different characters understand Peters death? Do they believe he chose to die?
- What would the conclusion that a friend chose to die do to the remaining group of friends? Would it make them pull together, or drive them apart?