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1. Describe the personalities of Eva and Angelo. We see them first as children: what brings them together and forges their years-long bond?

2. How do the new laws change Eva's life and change her relationship with Angelo?

3. Eva's Uncle Felix tells Eva:

They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives.… They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds.

Those are inspiring words, but do spiritual and intellectual freedom truly compensate for loss of physical freedom? What do you think? If you had to make a choice?

4. Death and mourning are major themes in the book: what is the significance of the number seven?

5. Talk about Camillo's decision to go to Austria. What is his reasoning?

6. When Angelo returns to Florence, intending to take Eva back to Rome, why does she greet him the way she does?

7. When Nonna Fabia tells Eva that God sees both her and Angelo, Eva thinks to herself, "Either God sees everyone or he sees no one." Talk about that statement—what does Eve mean and why. How do you view her thinking?

8. When the raids begin in Rome, discuss the bravery shown by many of the individuals.

9. How are Angelo's beliefs in God changing, and how does that alter his position as a priesthood, on the inside or outside?

10. What is the significance of dragons in the novel? In Chapter 18, Angelo is warned that he will slay dragons, but not before they slay him. Dragons come up again in the next chapter when Angelo rejoins Eva at the hotel.

11. It takes Greta three days to tell her husband. What would you do in her shoes?

12. In chapter 21, why does no one try to escape? What role does hope play in that decision: do you think hope is powerful enough to make someone cooperate to the very end?

13. In the epilogue, Eva says that she is still a Jew and Angelo still a priest. What does she mean?

14. (Follow-up to Question 13) "There are two things I know for sure. I love you, and no one knows the nature of God." What are your thoughts about Eva's statement?




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