Reading guide for The Deadwood Beetle by Mylene Dressler

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

The Deadwood Beetle

by Mylene Dressler

The Deadwood Beetle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2001, 240 pages
    Aug 2002, 242 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


Set in contemporary New York, with flashbacks to Nazi-occupied Holland, The Deadwood Beetle is the heartrending story of an old man taking his last chance and struggling toward an elusive redemption and the even more distant hope of love. In pitch-perfect and elegant prose, Dressler weaves a moving story about WWII and its aftermath that is truly different from any other, telling a deeply compassionate story about crippling guilt and the enduring, and very human, hope for love and forgiveness.

Discussion Questions

  1. Loss ripples through this novel. How, in the end, does loss create its opposite?
  2. History has a force all its own in this novel. Would you say Tristan has free will or is he trapped by forces beyond his control?
  3. In this novel, religion and religious beliefs often have negative associations. Is religion or religious belief also a positive thing? Is the author asking where redemption and forgiveness come from?
  4. How does the theme of difference/being different work in this novel? How about the theme of connecting?
  5. This novel deals with what cripples bodies and hearts. How are Tristan and Sandor's situations parallel or different? What does Dressler seem to suggest is most crippling? What does she offer as a balm?
  6. In some ways, this is a novel about academia. How does it present the intellectual life?
  7. Is this a love story?
  8. Craft is as important to this novel as the plot—as is often true for books. But why is this especially the case here?
  9. Cora wants the table to serve as a reminder and warning. In the end, has it?

For more information about other Penguin Readers Guides, please call the Penguin Marketing Department at (800) 778-6425, email at or write to us at: Penguin Books, Marketing Department, Readers' Guides, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014-3657.

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Blue Hen Publishing. 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.