Reading guide for Resistance by Owen Sheers

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by Owen Sheers

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 320 pages
    Feb 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

About This Guide
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Owen Sheers's Resistance. We hope they will enrich your experience of this mesmerizing novel. To find other great books for reading groups, visit

Reader's Guide

  1. Discuss the ways in which the very specific landscape and setting of the novel not only allows the isolationist plot to develop but also lends the narrative both an important historical and thematic context.
  2. To whom or to what does the novel's title, Resistance, apply?To what extent does Albrecht fulfill the literary figure of the “Good German?” Is he, in fact, a “good” man?
  3. To what extent does Albrecht fulfill the literary figure of the “Good German?” Is he, in fact, a “good” man?
  4. What does the development of Sarah's diary entries to Tom tell us about her personal development across the arc of the novel?
  5. Towards the end of the novel Bethan thinks to herself “better by far to live in the truth and know it, however bad it might be, than hide yourself away behind ignorance and habit.” Don't some of the characters prove otherwise?
  6. Two particularly striking “hinge” scenes in the book are the playing of a Bach cello suite and the shooting of a horse. What are the overall significance of these scenes within the book as a whole?
  7. Who or what is George aiming at in his final scene in the book?
  8. Is Maggie a collaborator or a defender of her way of life and the other women?
  9. Discuss the significance of the quotations used to lead into each of the three parts of the novel.
  10. The German invasion of Britain was a very real threat during the early part of World War II in 1940/41. Does Sheers’ re-imagining of the invasion in 1944 seem believable? Why do you think Sheers chooses to set his invasion in 1944, as opposed to the more likely 1941?
  11. What do you know about the real Resistance movement in Britain?
  12. To what extent is Resistance an anti-war novel?

Created by, and reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Nan A Talese.

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

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