Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- When he
thinks he may be "blown to pieces" by a minesweeper's cannon, DeHaan
decides that this would be "an honorable end"preferable to
interrogation and execution in Germany. How does DeHaan's notion of
honor guide his actions throughout the novel? How would Kolb define
honor? How would Maria Bromen?
- How does DeHaan express remorse?
Does he ever show signs of vulnerability?
- Though brief, Patapouf's role in the novel is pivotal. Howif at
alldoes it alter DeHaan's attitude toward his mission? Why is Furst's
brisk description of Patapouf so effective?
- Why does Furst devote his last paragraph to Maria Bromen? How has
her relationship with DeHaan evolved? Do you feel you fully understand
her by the end of the novel, or does she remain slightly mysterious?
What does her life story reveal about the Soviet Union during World War
- We learn a great deal about DeHaan: his literary interests, his
father's occupation, his taste in women, his sense of duty. What more
would you like to know about him? What would we observe if Furst had
narrated a few of DeHaan's scenes from a different point of viewfor
- Critics praise Furst's ability to re-create the atmosphere of
World War II-era Europe. What elements of description make the setting
come alive? How can you account for the facet that the settings seem
authentic even though you probably have no firsthand knowledge of
the times and places he writes about?
- Furst's novels have been described as "historical novels," and as
"spy novels." He calls them "historical spy novels." Some critics have
insisted that they are, simply, novels. How does his work compare with
other spy novels you've read? What does he do that is the same?
Different? If you owned a bookstore, in what section would you display
- Furst is often praised for his minor characters, which have been
described as "sketched out in a few strokes." Do you have a favorite in
this book? Characters in his books often take part in the action for a
few pages and then disappear. What do you think becomes of them? How do
- At the end of an Alan Furst novel, the hero is always still alive.
What becomes of Furst's heroes? Will they survive the war? Does Furst
know what becomes of them? Would it be better if they were somewhere
safe and sound, to live out the war in comfort? If not, why not?
- Love affairs are always prominent in Furst's novels, and "love in
the time of war" is a recurring theme. What role does the love affair
play in Dark Voyage?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Random House.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.