Reading guide for Motherland by Maria Hummel

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Motherland

by Maria Hummel

Motherland by Maria Hummel X
Motherland by Maria Hummel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2015, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How much did you know about German families in the Third Reich before reading Motherland? How did the book change your perspective?
  2. Readers experience Motherland through the points of view of several characters: Liesl, Frank, Uta, Hans, and Ani. How did seeing the book's events through different eyes affect your understanding of what happened to the family?
  3. Many scenes of Motherland take place in the house, in a private domestic sphere, instead of on battlegrounds. How and where did you notice the war and all its terrors infiltrating the lives of mothers and children?
  4. In the first chapter, Herr Geiss digs a hole connecting the cellar shelters of the Kappus and the Geiss houses. How does that action become a catalyst for change for everyone in the family?
  5. The German word for "homeland" is Vaterland, or Fatherland. What did you make of Hummel's title and the novel's epigraph?
  6. Some readers have wondered why the novel stops in 1945 and does not continue to show the lives of the characters during reconstruction. Why do you think the author may have ended the book where she did?
  7. One critic said that Motherland does "what good historical fiction does best: explores what has passed in those undocumented rests between the things we know to be true." What do you think is the responsibility of the historical novelist?
  8. Who or what is the villain of Motherland?
  9. In the afterword, Hummel discusses her personal relationship to the novel and its characters. Did reading it alter your impressions of the book? How so?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Counterpoint Press. 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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