Reading guide for Wolf Season by Helen Benedict

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Wolf Season

by Helen Benedict

Wolf Season by Helen Benedict X
Wolf Season by Helen Benedict
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    Oct 2017, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. This book explores the long-reaching effects of war, not only on those directly engaged in it but on those close to them. How are the three mothers in the novel—Rin, Naema, and Beth—affected by war, and how does it affect their children, Juney, Tariq, and Flanner?
  2. Wolf Season opens with an approaching hurricane. What is the fallout from the storm on each character? What is the effect of opening the novel with such an event?
  3. Wolves have long been symbols in folktales and literature all over the world, from ancient myths, such as those of Native peoples in America, to the European story of "Little Red Riding Hood." Sometimes wolves stand for nobility and courage, sometimes evil, sometimes threat. What do you think the wolves represent for Rin and Juney or Naema and Beth, and how do those symbols evolve throughout the novel? What did the wolves represent to you?
  4. After we meet Naema, the Iraqi doctor, we do not see her again for a few chapters. What effect does this have on the way Naema's history and character are revealed? How does the author use her absence to develop the other characters?
  5. Louis, one of the veterans in the novel, is something of an enigma. What makes him so guarded and private? Why does Beth make him so uncomfortable?
  6. What pulls Louis and Naema to befriend each other despite the differences in their backgrounds?
  7. What did Wolf Season make you think about war and how it affects people's hearts and morals?
  8. What does the novel reveal about how men and women experience war and military service? Are the experiences of women soldiers different than those of men? What could the small community in this novel have done to better support the families struggling with the aftermath of war and the deployment of their loved ones?
  9. How does this novel portray the refugee experience and the process of immigrating to America? Would any of the issues Naema's family faced have been different if she had immigrated to a larger city?
  10. How do Tariq and Juney cope with their disabilities? How do those conditions affect the relationships between them and the other characters, particularly Rin and Naema?
  11. How would you describe Tariq, Juney, and Flanner? In what ways have their parents influenced them? In thinking over what happens to them in the novel, why do they react differently to the circumstances they face?
  12. What do you imagine will happen to Rin and Juney after the end of the novel? What choices are available to Rin? What do you think she should choose?
  13. What do you think the author is trying to convey in the novel's final scene with the wolves?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Bellevue Literary 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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