The Lake on Fire
Sarabande Books, 9781946448231, 320pp.
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What is the role of literature for the characters of The Lake on Fire, and what does the book envision as the role of literature in society? How does the book question the value of literature in times of inequality and social unrest, and how does the book affirm the value of literature?
2. How does loss shape Chaya’s and Asher’s experiences?
3. Discuss the role of religion in Chaya and Asher’s view of the world. How does it affect the ways in which the world views them?
4. In what ways does the book show the effects of capitalism on the body of workers? How are the bodies of men and women treated differently? How are bodies treated differently on the farm versus in the factory?
5. What does Ms. Gottlieb mean by “principles cost money”? Do you agree? Are principles a privilege? If this is true, does it invalidate principles? Does it excuse unprincipled acts? Who in the book compromises their principles and who refuses to? What effects do these compromises or non-compromises have on the people around them?
6. Chaya makes multiple attempts to return to places and people she has left. Is she successful? What would a successful return look like for her?
7. Consider the significance of the World’s Fair in the novel. How is it used as a setting to explore progress, inequality, and the relationship between the two?
8. How are fairy tales used to explore the themes of the novel? How are they subverted?