Reading guide for The World To Come by Dara Horn

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The World To Come

by Dara Horn

The World To Come by Dara Horn X
The World To Come by Dara Horn
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. This book is about an art heist, or at least it starts out that way. What does Ben's theft suggest about ownership? Does anyone really own a work of art?

  2. The novel incorporates the lives of two real artists, Marc Chagall and Der Nister. Are these portrayals fair? What are the limits of the artistic imagination—that is, what are the limitations of each of these artists as they appear here, and what are the limitations of the book's portrayals of these artists?

  3. Members of the Ziskind family seem to be deeply or even spiritually connected to one another. What kind of potential do families have in this novel, and what is required for them to live up to it?

  4. Throughout the book, there are references to various ways that life mirrors art, which in itself is created from the experience or observation of life. Which takes precedence in the novel, art or reality? Which one defines what it means to be alive for these characters?

  5. Much of the novel's plot is built upon historical events that are rarely explored outside of scholarly circles, such as the pogroms of 1919 or the Stalinist purge of Jewish cultural leaders. How much of this history were you aware of prior to reading the book? Are there reasons why certain historical events (World War II, for instance) are frequently revisited in novels and movies, while others, like these, have been popularly forgotten?

  6. The novel's plot is rife with forgeries as well as other forms of deception, ranging from the forged painting to the plagiarized children's books to Cuong Thien Minh posing as a loyal interpreter to Sergei Popov pretending to be a friendly neighbor. What do these various deceptions have in common? For a deception to work, what is required of the deceiver, and what is required of the deceived?

  7. The Rosalie Ziskind stories throughout the book are all adapted from Yiddish sources. What connections do these stories have to each other, or to the novel's main plot? Are there common themes among them?

  8. A central question in the novel is one of trust. How does trust define the relationships between the characters, whether friends, relatives, lovers, or enemies?

  9. Is there a life after death in this novel? For whom? How?

  10. What happens to Ben and Erica at the end of the story?

  11. What is the world to come?

    Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of W.W. Norton & Company. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.