Reading guide for The Prophet by Michael Koryta

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The Prophet

by Michael Koryta

The Prophet
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 416 pages
    Aug 2013, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Discuss the title, The Prophet. What is its meaning, and why do you think this is the killer's moniker? How does the title infl uence your conception of the book?
  2. "Everyone was driven by the past, all the time," Adam thinks when he first meets Rachel. To what extent do you think this is true for the characters in the book? Is it possible to break free from the past, or only to change your relationship to it? Cite specific examples from the book.
  3. The book alternates between Kent's perspective and Adam's. Which brother did you feel closer to as a reader? In what ways is this Adam's story? In what ways is it Kent's?
  4. At the opening of the book, Kent and Adam Austin are estranged brothers who lead very different lives. Kent is a football coach, and Adam is a bail bondsman. How does their shared tragedy affect their individual career choices?
  5. How does Adam's guilt over the murder of his sister shape his life and his decisions? How does guilt play a role in the book as a whole? Have you ever experienced long- lasting guilt?
  6. Adam warns Bova, "Whatever your brother did, be careful not to let it pull you down, too." In what ways does Adam's advice apply to his own life and his relationship with Kent? Do you believe that family members should stick by each other no matter what? Or are there circumstances under which one needs to separate from one's family?
  7. Compare the bonds between team members with the bonds between family members. In what ways is a team similar or dissimilar to a family? Do you think Kent gains something from his team that he can't get from his family?
  8. What moment in the book scared you the most? What moments made you feel the most emotional? Why?
  9. When Adam confesses to Chelsea that he killed Clayton Sipes, he justifies his actions by explaining that Sipes was a predator. Chelsea responds, "And so you decided to become one, too." Do you see Adam in this moment as a savior or a predator? Is it possible to be both at the same time?
  10. Discuss the final scene of the book, which is written in italics, like the opening scene. From whose perspective do you think the final section is written? Did you find the ending hopeful or unsettling? Why?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay 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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