April 4

ALERT!!! Please avoid this page if you haven’t finished the book. There are spoilers!

Suggested Book Group Discussion Questions

  • Do all families have secrets? What are the possible consequences when long held secrets eventually reveal themselves? Have you ever had that experience?

  • Do you believe Chaim was protecting his family or protecting himself from his past? Is it reasonable to expect that keeping silent about something as devastating as the Holocaust protects the families of survivors?

  • Initially, Chaim won’t socialize with Borys because of their religious differences.Do you believe this is still a prevalant attitude? Do you consider it a valid determining factor in relationships? Does Chaim’s attitude on the subject surprise you, given his lack of participation in his own religion?

  • David is forced to attend group therapy by his wife. Did you agree with her threat to leave him if he didn’t go? Do you believe she would have followed through on her threat? What unexpected results came from his participation?

  • David found Jack to be an annoying cliché. Yet when Jack had a heart attack, David rushed to the hospital.What would explain such counter-intuitive behavior? Were you surprised to find out how much Jack valued David as a friend? What does it say about Jack? About David?

  • Frieda is a very loving woman. People show love in their own, unique ways. Is it acceptable for her to stick her nose into their lives and even manipulate them if she believes she’s doing what’s best for them? Is that an acceptable way to show love?

  • Judith feels terrible guilt about her growing feelings for the Rabbi. Why is she so reluctant to explore a relationship with him? Do you believe that having loved so deeply once, it would be harder or easier to find true love again?

  • Why didn’t Chaim turn Borys in as a war criminal when Chaim discovered Borys’ true identity? Do you believe that there is any reason to show mercy in this situation? Did you find Chaim’s hesitancy reasonable?

  • Should David have shot Borys? Why or why not? Other than self-defense, is there ever an acceptable reason to take someone’s life?

  • Is living well truly the best revenge? In his shoes, would a fulfilling, happy life be enough for you? Why or why not?

**please feel free to submit question ideas via the comment mechanism below.