Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Book of Fire

1. What was your biggest takeaway from THE BOOK OF FIRE? Talk about the thematic meaning and symbolism of the title, from the literal fire to the book-within-a-book story structure.

2. Discuss the novel’s narrative style. Did you enjoy the way the author swerved between past and present? What other storytelling techniques, from foreshadowing to cliffhanger chapter endings, kept you turning the pages? You may choose to share some of your favorite lines of dialogue, characterizations or descriptions as well.

3. The forest is at the heart of the action in THE BOOK OF FIRETalk about how this landscape --- as both a source of life and the ashes that remain --- functions as a character, or even a character witness, in THE BOOK OF FIREHow do Irini, Chara and Tasso (even Rosalie) interact and/or reckon with it? What about Mr. Monk?

4. Consider the ways in which fire --- “the way it lit up across the land, the way it charged down the mountain, swallowing up whatever and whoever stood in its way" --- is also character in and of itself. How does THE BOOK OF FIRE contend with Mother Nature and her comforts and occasional wrath? How do you?

5. “There is something about stories that allows us to process the present,” Irini writes. “We listen to tales of tribulations overcome so that we might imagine we can survive ours.” How does Irini use storytelling to guide Chara through moments of terror or grief? How do the stories from Iirini’s own childhood come back to comfort --- or haunt --- her?

6. What do love and loss look like in the world of this novel? What does THE BOOK OF FIRE have to say about the nature of tragedy and triumph, betrayal and forgiveness, in a family? A small village? An entire country?

7. Throughout the course of the novel, Irina is torn over her role in Mr. Monk’s fate. “The truth is,” she writes, “that I am not the person I thought I was.” Who do you think she is, or becomes, in THE BOOK OF FIRE? Does Irini possess the two “gifts” that Zeus gave Hermes of shame and justice? Discuss the meaning of this Greek myth and its implications in the world of this novel and in society at large.

8. How, if at all, did reading THE BOOK OF FIRE change or enrich your understanding of natural disasters? Did this fictional account give you an opportunity to reflect on the effects of climate change on wildfires in the Mediterranean, North America and across the globe? You may choose to talk about such topics as global warming and environmental activism, too.

9. If you had the chance to ask the author one question about THE BOOK OF FIRE --- about the inspiration for her story, the writing process or her personal background --- what might it be?

10. What kind of future do you imagine for Irini, Chara and Tasso beyond the final chapter of this book? You may choose to answer the same question for Monk’s ex-wife and daughter as well.

The Book of Fire
by Christy Lefteri

  • Publication Date: January 2, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0593497279
  • ISBN-13: 9780593497272