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Discussion Guide and Book Club Questions for The Book of Fire by Christy Lefteri

the book of fire book club questions

Book club questions for The Book of Fire by Christy Lefteri explore the themes of tragedy, healing, and the deep connections people have to each other and the land they call home.

This is a well written story with an important subject – climate change and how it endangers ordinary lives and the natural world. The trauma of fire is vividly portrayed; and it will touch your soul, and bring out humanity in some readers. I highly recommend!

The Book of Fire by Christy Lefteri

Discussions may analyze the universal bonds that tie individuals to their homes and the broader implications of environmental disasters.

About the Author | Book Club Questions | Discussion Guide

Additional Recommendations

About the Story

The Book of Fire is set in present-day Greece, where a family’s life is forever changed by a devastating wildfire.

The story revolves around Irini, a musician; her husband Tasso, an artist inspired by the forest; and their daughter Chara. The wildfire, ignited by a land speculator’s controlled burn gone wrong, destroys their home and sets off a chain of events.

Irini confronts the man responsible for the fire in a moment of anger, leading to consequences that linger. As the village tries to rebuild, the family grapples with loss, the mystery of Tasso’s missing father, and the challenges of recovering their lives.

About the Author

Christy Lefteri, born in 1980 to Cypriot refugees who fled Cyprus after the 1974 partition, grew up in London.

She debuted with her first novel, A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible, in 2010, followed by The Beekeeper of Aleppo in 2019, a Sunday Times bestseller and the winner of the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize. Lefteri’s latest novel, The Book of Fire, was published by Manilla in January 2024.

Lefteri’s writing is deeply rooted in her experiences, having volunteered at a refugee center in Athens, and she emphasizes the importance of love and connections in her stories. With a background in creative writing, including a Ph.D. from Brunel University, Lefteri has gained acclaim for her poignant exploration of human stories in the face of adversity.

Book Club Questions for The Book of Fire

  1. What stood out to you the most in The Book of Fire? Explore the thematic significance and symbolism of the title, considering both the literal fire and the book-within-a-book narrative structure.
  2. Delve into the novel’s storytelling style. Did you appreciate the author’s navigation between past and present? Discuss various storytelling techniques, such as foreshadowing and cliffhanger chapter endings, that kept you engaged. Feel free to share favorite lines of dialogue, characterizations, or descriptions.
  3. The forest plays a central role in The Book of Fire. Examine how this landscape serves as a character, acting as both a source of life and the remnants of destruction. Discuss how Irini, Chara, Tasso, and even Rosalie interact with or perceive the forest. Consider the role of Mr. Monk in this context.
  4. The novel incorporates a dual timeline, alternating between Irini’s journal entries and the present-day narrative. How does this narrative structure enhance or impact your engagement with the story? Discuss the effectiveness of revealing the past through Irini’s personal reflections.
  5. The book addresses the blame placed on individuals, the government, and climate change for the wildfire’s devastating consequences. How does the author present these various perspectives, and what do you think the novel suggests about accountability in the face of natural disasters? Consider your own views on these issues.
  6. Tasso’s identity as an artist is profoundly affected by the loss of the forest and his ability to paint. How does the novel explore the connection between art, identity, and the environment? Discuss the role of creativity in coping with tragedy and rebuilding a sense of self.
  7. Irini emphasizes the power of storytelling in processing the present and overcoming challenges. How do characters use storytelling as a coping mechanism throughout the novel? Explore specific instances where storytelling plays a significant role in characters’ lives.
  8. The author incorporates themes of justice and shame through Irini’s reflection on her own character. How do these themes connect to the Greek myth mentioned in the novel, where Zeus gave Hermes the “gifts” of shame and justice? Analyze the implications of these gifts in Irini’s journey and their broader relevance to society.
  9. Irini’s decision regarding Mr. Monk’s fate becomes a pivotal moment in the story. How does this decision shape her character, and what moral dilemmas does it introduce? Explore the ethical considerations and the consequences of Irini’s actions on her own psyche and the unfolding events.
  10. Climate change and its impact on wildfires are central themes in the book. How does the novel contribute to the broader conversation about environmental issues and the consequences of human actions on nature? Discuss any personal reflections or connections you made regarding global warming and environmental responsibility.
  11. Explore the portrayal of fire as a character itself, with its vivid descriptions of how it illuminates the land and charges down the mountain. How does The Book of Fire address Mother Nature, her comforts, and occasional wrath? Reflect on your own perspectives and experiences related to fire.
  12. Irini highlights the power of stories to help process the present. How does she use storytelling to guide Chara through moments of fear or grief? Analyze how stories from Irini’s own childhood impact her, offering either comfort or haunting memories.
  13. Consider the themes of love and loss in the novel. What insights does The Book of Fire offer about tragedy, triumph, betrayal, and forgiveness within a family, a small village, and an entire country?
  14. Throughout the story, Irina grapples with her role in Mr. Monk’s fate and questions her identity. How do you perceive Irini’s character development in The Book of Fire? Explore the symbolism of the gifts of shame and justice in relation to Greek mythology and its implications in the novel and society.
  15. In what ways did reading The Book of Fire shape your understanding of natural disasters? Did this fictional account prompt reflections on climate change and wildfires globally? Discuss topics like global warming and environmental activism, and share any personal insights.
  16. If you had the opportunity to ask the author a question about The Book of Fire, what would it be? Consider inquiries about the story’s inspiration, the writing process, or the author’s background.
  17. Envision the future for Irini, Chara, and Tasso beyond the final chapter. Share your thoughts on the potential paths for Monk’s ex-wife and daughter as well.
  18. The story concludes with a sense of hope for the future. Consider the final chapter and the characters’ trajectories. What kind of message does the author convey about resilience, rebuilding, and the potential for a new beginning after tragedy? Share your thoughts on the optimism portrayed in the book’s resolution.

Additional Recommendations

Songbirds by Christy Lefteri

Her courage to cross oceans.
Her hope for a better life.
Her love for a daughter, above all else.

Not all tragedies make headlines, not every voice is heard.

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. Now she spends her days caring for someone else’s daughter while her own waits for her return, half a world away.

For Petra, it is only natural to hire a domestic worker to keep her house clean and her family fed. Their lives have nothing in common, except the love they feel for their daughters.

Then one day, Nisha vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a foreign domestic worker, except Petra and Nisha’s secret lover, Yiannis, the only connection to her daughter back in Sri Lanka.

As Petra and Yiannis desperately search for Nisha, they realise how little they knew about her. What they uncover will change them both forever.

Inspired by true stories of love and loss, hope and refuge, this evocative masterpiece from the million-copy bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri, is an illuminating story of the power of the human spirit, and the enduring love of a mother for her child, that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.

Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes–especially after what happened last time.

Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher–but then, Evie has always liked a challenge…

For my book club questions for this book, click here!

The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner

When a young nanny is found dead in mysterious circumstances, new mom, Tash, is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she has also been searching for something else—new friends to help her navigate motherhood.

She sees them at her son’s new playgroup. The other mothers. A group of sleek, sophisticated women who live in a neighborhood of tree-lined avenues and stunning houses. The sort of mothers Tash herself would like to be.

When the mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers the kind of life she has always dreamt of—their elegant London townhouses a far cry from her cramped basement flat and endless bills. She is quickly swept up into their wealthy world via coffees, cocktails, and playdates.

Discussion Guide for The Book of Fire

Happy reading! ❤️