Book Clubs and Discussion Groups

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS

  1. In The Crate, how are the two main crimes – the present-day murder of Samantha Collins and the historical murders perpetrated in the Holocaust – the same? How are they different?
  2. Putting yourself in the shoes of the author’s family, how would you have reacted to the discovery of the crate?
  3. Did the identity of the murderer come as a surprise, or did you “figure it out” early on?
  4. Have you ever experienced a situation where a life event has dredged up memories of the past? Were they positive or negative memories? Were the events directly related or was the association less tangible, becoming apparent only later?
  5. The author often makes use of metaphors and similes. As a reader, did you stop to think about those literary devices as you read? Do you have a favorite?
  6. Do you think the crate itself is a metaphor?
  7. One of the recurring themes of the book is that of animals. Give examples of how the author uses animals as symbols in her story.
  8. The author’s parents considered themselves “assimilated” before the war. What are some of the ways in which they were assimilated, in Hungary and in Canada?
  9. In the book, an Israeli ambassador is quoted as saying, “You are Jewish if a Nazi says you are.” What did he mean by that? How does that concept translate to other instances of hate and intolerance in the world today?
  10. In what ways do you think the Nazis left an indelible mark on Steve and Vera, and in what ways do you think the couple triumphed? Can you extrapolate any of their experiences to the current plight of refugees?
  11. The author dedicates the book to “those whose stories we are obliged to tell.” Why do you think the author feels so strongly about telling Samantha’s, and her parents’, stories? Do you have a story that needs telling?