Here are suggested questions for reading groups and
book clubs discussing Ed Brodow's novel, Fixer.
legal system in Harry Leonnoff's time was corrupt, requiring a fixer
like Harry to help those in need. Has our legal system improved, or
is it still lacking? How would you improve it?
- Harry Leonnoff shows great courage in his response to polio. How
would you deal with polio if you were in Harry's shoes?
- How does one develop the kind of courage that Harry exhibits when
he confronts Dorsey Hogan and the mob?
- The Lower East Side slum in which Harry Leonnoff grew up is now being
''gentrified'' and the poor are being relocated to the public housing
projects that were created by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Have we really
dealt with the problem of poverty, or have we just moved it out of the
- Anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance are alive and well. Could
a Dorsey Hogan arise in New York City today? How would society deal
with a contemporary Dorsey Hogan? Could we experience another Scottsboro
- If you were exposed to the kind of rampant anti-Semitism that Harry
experienced as a young man, would you develop Harry's open-minded, humanitarian
philosophy or would you simply be angry for the rest of your life?
- We seem to have an inordinately large number of psychopaths similar
to Willie Malakow (Curly Murphy). Does this reflect a serious deficiency
in our society, or is it merely normal for any given human population
to have many violent criminals?
- The political parties in Harry Leonnoff's day were run by cadres
of insiders like Harry and John McCooey. How are today's political parties
- Harry and the Commissioner were married for almost fifty years even
though they hated each other. Divorce seems to be the norm in today's
society. Is it healthier for a couple like the Leonnoffs to stay together,
or is divorce a better alternative? Has the institution of marriage
as we know it become an anachronism?
- Harry is advised to save his job by apologizing to Mayor La Guardia,
but he is unwilling to do it. Was he wrong? Should he have apologized?
Was Harry correct in standing by his principles or was he simply stubborn
and unwilling to compromise? Should he have been more flexible for the
sake of practicality and his own survival?
- If you were Harry Leonnoff and faced with Willie Malakow, would you
take Harry's approach and try to stop Willie or would you allow Willie
to assassinate La Guardia?
- Harry's grandson tries to come to terms with his grandfather's death.
It is a problem that each of us eventually must face. How have you coped
with the death of loved ones? How do you feel about the prospect of
your own death?
- Harry spends his final years languishing in a depressing public psychiatric
hospital. How would you characterize the way our society deals with
the problems of aging?