Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- The reason for society's downfall is never explicitly told. What clues does the story hold, however, that explains it? Discuss whether it's a worldwide calamity or confined to Italy.
- Protagonist Leonardo, described as "timid," doesn't seem well-suited to a post-apocalyptic world. Discuss how his traits become strengths as the world falls further into decay.
- Leonardo's motivation throughout the book's second half is saving Lucia. Do you think he did?
- What is it about Leonardo's character that would impel him to risk his life to rescue Bauschan? Compare it to how he later rescues David and Circe.
- Sergio told Leonardo he had a choice between killing him and his crew or offering them brief sanctuary. He opted for sanctuarywas that the right choice?
- The pendulum swings between kindness and cruelty throughout the book. Which do you think would win out in a world without electricity, phones, and a functioning government? Why?
- Why was Leonardo's shocking sacrifice to Richard enough to free him and the children? Why did it lead to Richard's death?
- Leonardo is paired with two boys, Alberto and Saloman, with vastly different results. Compare how his relationship with Alberto prepared Leonardo to have a better one with Saloman.
- How has Leonardo changed by the end of the book? Do you think his little tribe will survive beyond the winter?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of MacLehose Press.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.