Book Reading Group questions for Rembrandt Sings

Rembrandt Sings by Michael Johnston
Rembrandt Sings

Questions for Book Reading Groups regarding Rembrandt Sings – posed by the author.

To those book reading groups taking up my novel, Rembrandt Sings, I pose the following questions:

  1. Having spent nine years working on degree courses at the OU and Birkbeck, I am very much into footnotes.  I much admire Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig which has multiple and extensive footnotes, mainly but not entirely bogus, that act as a counterpoint to the text.  This is why academic narrator Bill Maguire keeps on interjecting comments on his own story.  So, two questions: do the footnotes succeed in conveying something of Maguire’s character and, secondly, would they have been better at the foot of each relevant page rather than at the end of each chapter?
  2. How successful is the Rembrandt Sings in building up credibility for each account of Joe’s past before they are, one by one, knocked down?
  3. Although one play on family names is revealed in the book, has anyone spotted the second and the suggestion of another undisclosed relationship?
  4. Pre-publication drafts of Rembrandt Sings were from two to three times longer.  When I wrote the final published version, I added the link to the present day, giving Maguire his motivation for telling the story now.  So here’s the Goldilocks question.  Does the book feel too long; too short; or just right?
  5. Does the sting in the very tip of the tail come as a surprise?
  6. Finally, what do you think about Maguire?  And even if you like him, would you let your daughter marry someone like him?

Any and every comment is welcome and can be sent by e-mail to me at
Thank you for reading my book.