Reading guide for Mischling by Affinity Konar

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

Mischling

by Affinity Konar

Mischling by Affinity Konar X
Mischling by Affinity Konar
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2016, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Did you have any prior knowledge of the medical experiments conducted at Auschwitz ? What struck you most about the plight of those selected by Josef Mengele?
  2. Music played a significant role in the workings of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Prisoners were greeted by music at the ramps, and Stasha notes that suicide was frequent among the musicians that provided this accompaniment. The idea of music itself, with its ability to distract from suffering, or to transport one to a life bef ore imprisonment, could often be bittersweet. What place would you imagine music might have in the memories of a survivor?
  3. In many of Mengele's studies, one twin was subjected to experimentation, while the other remained untouched. As the spared twin, Stasha is forced to witness Pearl's decline. How does this change her sensitivity towards her sister? What about her relationship with those around her?
  4. The brutality of Auschwitz-Birkenau forced many prisoners to become resourceful in unimaginable ways . Discuss the hierarchy of Mengele's zoo, and the roles of Bruna, Ox, and Twins' Father within it.
  5. We often think of acts of resistance as grand displays of heroism, but such acts can also be witnessed in small, meaningful exchanges amongst the prisoners. Peter's theft of the piano key could be classified as an act of resistance. Can you name other instances of rebellion, large or small? Would you classify survival itself as a form of resistance?
  6. The Nazi regime used the term mischling to describe Jews of mixed heritage. Why does Stasha refer to this word while receiving the injection that will make her "deathless"? What do you think this word means to her by the novel's end?
  7. Pearl tells us that she survives Mengele's tortures by listening to Zayde and Mama, and by playing The Classification of Living Things. How do these diversions inform her survival? Can you imagine other ways that one might endure such conditions?
  8. In Part II, Pearl focuses on forgiveness, while Stasha cares only for vengeance. Describe how the girls' perspectives inform their endurance and resolve.
  9. What event convinces Twins' Father that he can no longer take care of the twins? Do you agree with the decision that he and Miri make?
  10. Pearl gives us glimpses of the future. What do we learn about the fates of characters in the book?
  11. Discuss the notion of "the survivor's hour" as described by Jakub. How does this apply to Miri's grief, and her role as a doctor within the camp?
  12. Years later, Miri resumes her practice. Do you think she is at peace with her life-saving actions?
  13. Stasha survives the loss of her family. Pearl survives torture, isolation, and the physical damage of Mengele's cruelty. Is it at all fair to compare the two scenarios, and wonder which twin has endured the greater challenges?
  14. At their reunion, the Zamorski twins draw images that refer to their quest for survival , but they omit any image that might represent Mengele . Do you see this omission as a meaningful indication of how the twins will resume their lives? What do you think the future holds for Stasha and Pearl?
  15. Mischling asks how a survivor might "learn to love the world again". When one has suffered the loss of family, home, and health, how can such a thing be possible? Can you imagine what you might turn to in order to restore your vision of the world?


Book Club Report

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Lee Boudreaux Books. 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" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Eva and Miriam Mozes

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim

    Two sisters grow up bound by family but separated by war; inspired by a true story.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.